Karo Parisyan once sang to the crowd post-fight about how good his judo throws were. And for a time, that was the case.

Parisyan was a top guy in the UFC welterweight division with deadly judo skills that helped him to an 8-3 record in his time in the UFC from 2003 to 2008. That success came to an end in 2009 when his split decision victory over Dong-Hyun Kim was reversed to a no-contest due to a failed post-fight drug test.

That failed test has effectively changed the course of Parisyan’s career. Since that no-contest, he has had only one more fight in the UFC—a loss to Dennis Hallman at UFC 123 in 2010—and a record of 4-4. His fights have taken place on the regional circuit around the United States and Canada, as well as such far-reaching locations as Australia and Brazil.

Now, Parisyan re-enters the spotlight under the Bellator banner at Bellator 95. His first fight there won’t be an easy one—he faces another judo specialist in Rick Hawn.

Parisyan is at that age where you can go one of two ways. You can continue to get better and try to reach the heights you never reached, or you can sink further into obscurity and lose everything you’ve worked for thus far in your career.

Parisyan has never been known for his striking skills. That wasn’t something opponents ever feared when he entered the ring, and still to this day it really isn’t anything to write home about. Obviously, his opponents shouldn’t “Overeem” the situation by dropping their hands, but when Parisyan throws strikes, any fighter with some sort of striking skills would not be afraid.

What adversaries should be afraid of is his judo. Once he gets an opponent to the ground, you better believe that person is in for a world of trouble. A black belt in both Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo, Parisyan can submit his nemesis when the opportunity arises.

Looking at his losses, though, a rebound does not appear to be in the cards for Parisyan’s career. His defeats came against up-and-comers or guys who aren’t at the level of Hawn, and certainly are not nearly at the level of welterweight champion Ben Askren.

And the bleak outlook is compounded by the significance of his wins, particularly the more recent ones. Those victories are not over anybody that really jumps off the page to suggest that Parisyan has turned the corner on his career. His last two fights have been first-round armbar victories, but against who? The competition isn’t nearly the same as what he faced during his four-fight winning streak in the UFC (and five-fight streak overall, counting his WEC welterweight championship win over Shonie Carter) from 2004-2006.

Now, he has to get through Hawn. But he won’t be able to judo toss him at will. In fact, Parisyan could very well be considered the underdog for numerous reasons—the lack of power, inferior competition and even his struggles with anxiety—when he steps into the cage this evening.

It’s doubtful that Parisyan will be singing about how his judo throws are the best and the rest are thrown by little girls. We might have to sing that about Hawn instead.

Photo: Karo Parisyan (Sherdog)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.