Hatsu Hioki turned down a UFC featherweight title match, saying he wanted one more fight to prepare. It was a risky decision, and one that ultimately backfired.
The vaunted Japanese fighter was out-worked on his feet and out-grappled on the ground, losing a unanimous decision at UFC on FX 4. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for the American.
The fight started out well for Hioki, who put Lamas in some compromising positions in the first round, including a crucifix. He also had side control for a time, but was unable to do much with either position.
Illustrating excellent conditioning, Lamas took the fight over in the final two rounds, constantly threatening with a series of guillotine chokes. He also scored with the fight's hardest punches, including several left hooks, as he snapped Hioki's six-fight win streak and vaulted himself into contender status.
"I've been fighting for Zuffa for three years now, and not too many people who know me, so hopefully now they will," he said after being announced the winnner.
Lamas dedicated the performance to his recently deceased uncle.
Hioki fell to 26-5-2, and his decision to pass up a title shot against Jose Aldo may serve as a cautionary tale for future fighters who find themselves in a similar position.