Karateka Kikuno Katsunori has a date for his next UFC encounter. He will travel into hostile territory to face Edimilson “Kevin” Souza at UFC Fight Night 62 in Brazil on March 21, 2015.
For stone-faced Katsunori, it might seem as if the prospect of facing someone halfway around the world in their home country would be a blip that doesn’t register on his radar. The opposite is true. In Katsunori’s blog post announcing his opponent, he is emphatic about the weightiness of the situation,
“To face a Brazilian in Brazil is dangerous. And Kevin Souza … on a 9 game winning streak in which [he has] eight KOs, is a rather frightening opponent.”
Katsunori will give up 4 inches in height and a substantial reach advantage to Souza, and those concessions are proven by the Brazilian’s 87% knock out rate. Souza is the Jungle Fight Featherweight Champ who is now 2 for 2 in the UFC. He has a talent and he knows how to use it to get the job done.
However, black belt judoka Katsunori has only been finished twice in his illustrious career: once by TUF 13 winner and 4-year UFC veteran Tony Ferguson by strikes, and Eddie Alvarez way back in 2009 at DREAM 12 to a choke. His record reads like a who’s who of the lightweight division in Japan for the last decade. And, when it comes to heavy hands, Katsunori’s got ten of his own KOs to prove it’s not wise for anyone to stand in front of him.
Given Katsunori’s unusual style and his penchant for keeping it that way, and Souza’s ascending star, this match is not likely to hear the final bell. But don’t tell the Karateka that he’ll be the one face down on the canvas,