Neil Seery loses out to Kyoji Horiguchi at UFC Rotterdam

Neil Seery 2

Flyweight veteran Neil Seery has been around this sport for a long time but never has he stared across the cage at someone as dangerous as former flyweight top contender Kyoji Horiguchi. In what was without question the biggest fight of the Dubliner’s career Seery was gradually broken down by the Japanese fighter’s speed and movement over the course of three rounds, dropping a unanimous decision here in Rotterdam (30-27 x2, 30-26 x1).

The first frame began in difficult fashion for Seery, who was down on the canvas within the first 30 seconds. Horiguchi, who has outstruck everyone he has faced in the UFC not named Demetrious Johnson, proved to be an elusive foe. The karateka used his excellent lateral movement to stay away from Seery’s concussive striking game throughout, choosing his moments wisely to surge in with straight punches all while avoiding Seery’s crisp counters. While the Team Ryano standout did have some success, notably a series of clubbing rights and some offensive and defensive grappling, the first round was a lock for the Japanese with Seery being put on his back on more than one occasion.

The second round continued the theme established in the first. Horiguchi employed some clean one-two’s and opened a cut above Seery’s right eye early on and, while the fight was mostly contested in Seery’s wheelhouse (aka the feet), he too often found himself punching the air that Horiguchi had occupied just milliseconds before. Seery’s most successful moments were with his lunging overhards which, one more than one occasion, caught his opponent as he retreated to the side and drew audible gasps from the Dutch crowd.

Seery came out for the third round with increased urgency but ultimately couldn’t impose the same boxing-centric tactics which have proven so difficult for past opponents inside the octagon. Knowing he had to make something happen, Seery found some success on the feet but the ultimately he couldn’t find the key to unlock Horiguchi’s defence and by the time the final bell rang Seery, with the Japanese fighter in his guard, would have known that he wasn’t going to have his hand raised by referee Marc Goddard. It was defeat for Seery but, as he has said in the past, he doesn’t particularly mind coming up short so long as the fight isn’t boring – and this most certainly wasn’t a snoozer.

Horiguchi, on the other hand, looked every bit the top 5 fighter that the official UFC rankings list him as being and in a division which doesn’t have any obvious top contender to Mighty Mouse’s crown, he did himself no harm in his quest to get a second shot at the pound-for-pound number one fighter in the world.

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