WATCH: Japanese star attempts rare modified Executioner submission to earn a spot in the UFC

The recently concluded UFC Vegas 85 not only treated fans to exciting matches but also set the stage for the Road to UFC Season 2 Finals, introducing emerging talents from Asia. Amidst the promising fighters, Rei Tsuruya emerged as a standout, defeating Jiniushiyue in a captivating contest that had the MMA community buzzing.

Tsuruya’s defining moment came in the form of a unique neck crank, dubbed by commentator Sanko as “some kind of Executioner choke.” This unconventional submission, coupled with Tsuruya’s ground and pound, secured his victory in the flyweight final, earning him a well-deserved spot in the UFC with an unblemished 9-0 record.

The 21-year-old Japanese fighter’s journey through the 8-man flyweight tournament wasn’t without challenges. In early Round 1, Tsuruya faced adversity after absorbing a significant left from Jiniushiyue. However, his polished ground game proved instrumental as he turned the tide and asserted control.

Following the triumph, Tsuruya’s emotional reaction spoke volumes. Overwhelmed with the victory and likely fueled by the presence of his family in the stands, he couldn’t contain his emotions, shedding tears as he made his way back to the locker room. The raw display of emotion added a human touch to his remarkable achievement.

The Road to UFC Season 2 Finals showcased the emergence of promising talents, with Tsuruya leading the pack in the flyweight division. Alongside him, 23-year-old Rongzhu also earned his UFC ticket, promising an influx of new talent for fans to watch.

In retrospect, the latest iteration of the Road to UFC witnessed three out of four fighters successfully making their way into the UFC, setting the stage for future bouts and potential breakthroughs in the world of mixed martial arts.