Kawajiri has the potential to be a threat at 145.
It may be a controversial call to go with this at the top of the power rankings, but the featherweight bout between top American prospect Sean Soriano and Japanese legend Tatsuya Kawajiri has the most on the line for this card.
That is because of the mystique that follows Kawajiri and the underrated abilities that Soriano has to score the upset.
Kawajiri is a Pride and Strikeforce veteran that is finally making his UFC debut. The Japanese fighter is well-rounded, holding great power in his fists, good takedowns and a vastly underrated submission game.
A win for him would throw him into the mix for title contention. He is a long-time veteran of the game, who has beaten a number of top stars. Consider also that his only losses in the last five years are to top Japanese fighter Shinya Aoki and lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez.
That's nothing to be ashamed of.
Consider who he has beaten, too. Kawajiri owns wins over UFC vets Michihiro Omigawa, Drew Fickett and Josh Thomson in the last five years, with the Thomson win being the biggest due to his spot as a top contender in the lightweight division right now.
With that being said, everybody is writing off Soriano when they shouldn't be. The Blackzilian is one of the best prospects at 145 pounds, despite the fact that he takes this bout on late notice for Hacran Dias. He is undefeated and well-rounded, which will make it tough for Kawajiri in his anticipated debut.
This fight has big implications for the 145-pound division and has the potential for fireworks. That's why this tops the power rankings.