Tatsuro Taira got his UFC career off to the perfect start with a win in Las Vegas this morning. The Japanese fighter controlled the action from start to finish to beat Carlos Candelario by unanimous decision.

The opening fight at UFC Vegas 54 was not a close contest. Taira controlled the opening round by stuffing his opponent’s takedowns and scoring with punches and kicks.

Confidence was flowing through the veins of the 22 year old who stuffed another takedown early in the second and then dropped the American with a straight right. He immediately took his back and locked in a body triangle, using punches to try and soften Candelario up for a rear naked choke.

Defensive mode

Candelario spent the best part of four minutes in defensive mode. He eventually managed to escape and secure top position but the bell sounded before he could capitalize with any strikes or submission attempts.

Candelario was looking for the take down at the start of the third round but Taira’s sprawl was on point. The Japanese fighter looked to put his opponent on the mat but got caught in a guillotine.

The American used the position to put his opponent on his back and was briefly in half guard only for Taira to sweep and take top position. He locked in a triangle as Candelario looked to escape and eventually took the back.

Taira took his opponents back and looked for a neck crank. But he was running out of time and elected to switch strategy and punish Candelario with punches and elbows until the final bell

There was no question who the winner would be and the scorecards read 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 in Taira’s favour. He improves to 11-0 while Candelario drops to 8-2.

Best of the rest

The main event came to a premature end. Aleksandar Rakić (14-3) suffered a serious looking knee injury early in the third round giving Jan Błachowicz (29-9) a TKO win in their light heavyweight fight.

UFC Vegas 54, Las Vegas, May 14th
Jan Błachowicz def. Aleksandar Rakić via TKO (Knee injury) at 1:11 of R3
Ryan Spann def. Ion Cuțelaba via Submission (Guillotine choke) at 2:22 of R1
Davey Grant def. Louis Smolka via KO (Punches) at 0:49 of R3
Katlyn Chookagian def. Amanda Ribas via Decision (Split)
Manuel Torres def. Frank Camacho via TKO (Punches) at 3:27 of R1
Allan Nascimento def. Jake Hadley via Decision (Unanimous)
Viviane Araújo def. Andrea Lee via Decision (Unanimous)
Michael Johnson def. Alan Patrick via KO (Punches) at 3:22 of R2
Virna Jandiroba def. Angela Hill via Decision (Unanimous)
Tatsuro Taira def. Carlos Candelario via Decision (Unanimous)
Andre Petroski def. Nick Maximov via Technical Submission (Anaconda choke) at 1:16 of 1