Lyoto vs. Nakamura Set For UFC 76, More New Talent

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Nakamura and Omigawa to Arrive on US Shores for UFC 76 Bouts

By Thomas Gerbasi

Two standouts from Japan’s world-famous Yoshida Dojo, Kazuhiro Nakamura and Michihiro Omigawa, will make their UFC debuts on Saturday, September 22nd when they face Lyoto Machida and Matt Wiman, respectively, in bouts on the highly-anticipated UFC 76 card in Anaheim.

UFC 76 is headlined by the light heavyweight battle between former light heavyweight champion Chuck `The Iceman’ Liddell and Keith Jardine. Also scheduled for the card, which will be held at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California is the long-awaited UFC debut of Mauricio `Shogun’ Rua, who will square off against Forrest Griffin.

Hiroshima’s Nakamura (11-6) will be making his UFC debut after fighting his entire career for the PRIDE organization. Owner of wins over Murilo Bustamante, Kevin Randleman, and Igor Vovchanchyn, this light heavyweight Judo standout has also locked horns with Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva, Josh Barnett, and Mauricio `Shogun’ Rua, making him one of the most battle-tested veterans at the elite level of the game. He will be a tough challenge for the unbeaten Machida, who holds a stoppage win over Rich Franklin and who is 2-0 in the Octagon, with wins over Sam Hoger and David Heath.

“He is a nice guy,” said Nakamura of Machida. “I would like to do an aggressive fight with him.”

A decorated judoka on the international level, Ibaraki lightweight Omigawa turned to mixed martial arts in 2005, and after a shaky start, the 31-year old rebounded and has won his last three fights, with the last two wins coming by way of TKO. He is looking forward to his UFC debut, saying “UFC for me is like the Olympic Games,” and he is ready for the challenge from TUF5’s Wiman, who is coming off a first round stoppage of Brian Geraghty in June.

“I think he is an aggressive fighter,” said Omigawa of Wiman. “I am looking forward to my fight with him very much. It’s gonna be an interesting bout.”