The latest addition to the UFC’s growing 145-pound division, Hatsu Hioki, has been now given an official date to test his skills inside the Octagon after a highly successful run in Japan netting him both a Shooto lightweight and SRC featherweight belt. According to an announcement through the UFC’s website the 24-4-2 grappler will be unveiled at UFC 137 with always tough George Roop standing in his way of winning a fifth straight fight.
The 27-year old Hioki, who celebrates his birthday a week from today, has had his hands raised nine of the last ten times he’s stepped into the ring and has convincing victories over a number of respected peers including Marlon Sandro, Ronnie Mann, Rumina Sato, Jeff Curran, and recent top contender Mark Hominick. Equally impressive as his list of triumphs is the fact Hioki also has yet to be finished in thirty professional appearances.
However, Roop should be anything but an easy win for Hioki given his past performances including a fresh dismantling of Josh Grispi at the Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale and a brutal knockout of Chan Sung Jung last September. He holds an overall record of 12-7-1 with finishes in more than half of his bouts.
Their pairing at the October 29 event is the second official match-up the company has confirmed for the card with the other being a highly anticipated headlining clash between welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre and streaking former Strikeforce title-holder Nick Diaz.
PHOTO CREDIT – SRC/UFC