UFC Signs Japanese Bantamweight Prospect Michinori Tanaka

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UFC Signs Japanese Bantamweight Prospect Michinori Tanaka
Associated Press

On the heels of a Renan Barao win over Urijah Faber, the UFC has bolstered its bantamweight roster by adding promising Japanese prospect Michinori Tanaka.

The 23-year-old announced his signing via Twitter:

As translated by BloodyElbow.com, Tanaka's statement read:

I have signed a contract with the world's best Mixed Martial Arts promotion, the UFC, which I have aimed for since I was an amateur.

Naturally, I am aiming for the belt, but I also understand that I still have some inadequacies now. However, I am confident that I will be stronger simply because I understand that I am also weak.

Undefeated in nine MMA bouts, Tanaka most recently defended his Pacific Xtreme Combat bantamweight title against Kyle Aguon. Also a Shooto veteran, he owns a win over Russell Doane, who recently debuted in the Octagon with a submission win over Leandro Issa.

At Reversal Gym in Japan, Tanaka trains with the likes of Shooto veteran and current One FC flyweight Shinichi Kojima. He has also spent some time with Team Alpha Male, and it would no doubt help his development to continue working with that camp.

Having secured a rear-naked choke on Doane in his first PXC appearance, Tanaka is most dangerous on the ground. Five of the Japanese bantamweight's nine victories have come via submission.

Whom should Tanaka be matched up with?

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His first UFC bout has not been announced. However, there are many options available to the UFC newcomer.

Ideally, he'd be matched up with a fellow grappler, which would give him a chance to display his ground skills. Johnny Bedford and Yaotzin Meza would both be logical opponents to welcome Tanaka to the Octagon soon.

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