Russell Doane and Michinori Tanaka set to rematch at UFC 195

Russell Doane and Michinori Tanaka
Russell Doane and Michinori Tanaka

UFC 195 will be commencing on Jan. 2nd, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada headlined by a welterweight title fight between champion Robbie Lawler and challenger Carlos Condit. The promotion recently announced that they have added a bantamweight rematch pitting Hawaiian Russell Doane against Japanese Team Alpha Male member Michinori Tanaka.

Russell Doane (14-5) will get a chance at revenge when he faces Michinori Tanaka (10-1) at UFC 195.

These two combatants met previously in 2012 at PXC 34 and Tanaka came out on top with a third round rear-naked choke submission victory.

Tanaka (UFC 1-1) has batted .500 in the UFC ever since he was picked up early 2014 after tearing up the regional circuits in Asia. He started off by winning the Shooto Rookie Tournament Title in 2011 by defeating ROAD to UFC:Japan finalist Teruto Ishihara (7-2-2) at the end of regulation with an unanimous decision. Then, he moved on to the Pacific X-treme Combat (PXC) organization and submitted his first two opponents (Russell Doane and Caleb Vallotton) earning him a shot at the bantamweight title at PXC 37 against Crisanto Pitpitunge (8-3). He won the belt via unanimous decision and then went onto defend it once.

After his impressive undefeated run, the UFC signed the 25 year-old and set him up against Roland Delorme (9-5) at UFC 174. The Japanese fighter won a clear cut unanimous decision over the Canadian.

In his most recent outing more than a year ago at UFC Fight Night 52 in Japan, he and Korean Kang Kyung-Ho (13-7) made fans stand up from their seats with a fight of the night performance. Even though it was a closely contested affair, Kang edged it on the judge’s scorecards and took the split.

Although both fighters earn $50,000 bonuses for their efforts, Tanaka had to return his portion because he was popped for ephedrine and psuedoephedrine in a pre-fight screening. Subsequently, he was suspended for 9 months and now he is returning from that long layoff.

Doane (UFC 2-2), on the other hand, has been staying active but is riding a two-fight losing streak. Before entering the biggest promotion in the world, he won titles in five different organizations but most notably for King of the Cage and Tachi Palace.

His first title was back in 2010 when he took the X-1 bantamweight belt from Timothy Meeks via triangle choke in the 2nd frame. In 2011, he won the 808 Battleground bantamweight championship in a spectacular first round knockout against Rich de los Reyes. The next year, he added another belt from the King of the Cage promotion by decisioning Frank Baca for the 135lb crown. Six months later, he choked out Omar Avelar to snatch up the Destiny MMA bantamweight strap. In that same year, he KO’d Jared Papazian for the Tachi Palace Fights bantamweight title in the fourth round.

All of these accolades definitely got the attention of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and they signed him in early 2014.

In his debut, Doane put Leandro Issa (13-5) to sleep with a tight triangle choke in the second round at UFC Fight Night 34. This submission secured him a $50,000 bonus from the brass. He then went on to take a close split decision from Marcus Brimage (7-5) at UFC 175 in Las Vegas.

After that it has been all down hill for the Hawaiian. He has lost two straight unanimous decisions to Luri Alcantara (33-6) at UFC Fight 51 and Jerrod Sanders (15-3) at the TUF 21 Finale.

Both fighters are looking to bounce back but it seem Doane is in need of a win more because he could possibly be cut. This should put a fire under the Hawaiian and propel him to perform better. Also, Tanaka has not been in action for over a year and he needs to silent the doubters that say he needs drugs.