K-1 PREMIUM 2007 Dynamite!!
Under 18 Japan Tournament Semifinal: HIROYA vs. Kizaemon Saiga 3R. Saiga is an energetic and explosive high risk striker. Saiga tried just about everything including a jumping high kick, kneel kick, abisegiri, and flying headscissors. He misses a lot, but it's a pleasure to watch his crazy low percentage movie kicks. HIROYA is a very solid fighter who fights with the polish of a 30 year old even though he's only half that age. He's a no nonsense straight ahead fighter who keeps coming right at his opponent, mixing front kicks, low kicks, and punch combinations. Good all action fight.
Under 18 Japan Tournament Semifinal: Kenji Kubo vs. Yudai 3R (R2 skipped). HIROYA and Saiga both seemed better than these two, whose fighting was more toward what you'd expect from kids. Both worked very hard, often fighting on the inside, but were kind of sloppy. They threw constantly so it wasn't dull, but missed a lot, and even when they did land it was rarely a notable blow. Yudai did land a high kick and a nice front kick to the chin, but neither was hurt. Adequate rookie match.
MMA Rule: Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Hideo Tokoro R3 3:08. Tamura knew Tokoro couldn't beat him unless he made a mistake on the mat, so he fought not to lose. By Tamura's standards it was an incredibly dull fight, as he fought to win regardless of entertainment value. Tamura had a 20+ pound weight advantage and hit harder, so he was content to keep it in standup. Everytime Tokoro shot, Tamura would fall on top of him and take his back, but Tamura wouldn't press it on the ground. He'd take whatever was there, usually punching, and quickly stand back up. Tokoro occasionally landed a good punch, but they weren't scaring Tamura, who hit harder and more often. Tokoro manuevered well on the mat, taking the top a few times, but never had Tamura in any danger. Tamura tried for a Kimura in R3, which seemed to be going nowhere, but he stuck with it and soon extended the arm. Tokoro refused to tap, but did nothing to escape, so he just had his arm torn up for 15 seconds before the inevitable.
Under 18 Japan Tournament Semifinal: HIROYA vs. Kenji Kubo (R2 skipped). Kubo stepped it up, seeming a much better fighter in his second bout of the night. The fight was very close, but Kubo began to gain the advantage in R3 landing a series of good kicks. HIROYA kept coming as always, but Kubo was scoring with low kicks and getting his punches through the defense. One judge gave it to Kubo, but the other 2 called it a draw, sending it to OT. HIROYA had the advantage when Kubo stood in front of him, but the difference seemed to be that Kubo could sneak a kick in while backing away from HIROYA's perpetual charge. Good bout.
Bernard Ackah vs. Musashi R3 1:26. Ackah may be able to strike in MMA, but obviously isn't a natural kickboxer. He throws arm punches and has no defense. Knowing he was overmatched in Musashi realm, he threw everything he had at the 2 time Grand Prix finalist in the initial rapid fire onslaught. Musashi was overwhelmed for the majority of R1, but weathered the storm. Once Ackah was forced to slow down, Musashi took over, picking him apart. Musashi landed a ridiculous percentage of his blows, repeatedly hurting Ackah with right hooks. Finally, Musashi landed a right and left hook combination that did Ackah in, dropping him before it was necessary to connect with the high kick.
Masato vs. Yong Soo Choi 3R 0:51. Very good action packed match with a rapid pace. Choi is primarily a boxer. He utilized some kicks since they were legal, but he doesn't defend them well, particularly failing to check the low kicks. Though the kickboxer always beats the traditional boxer, this was among the best of the variety because Choi is super active. He always tries to throw combos, and does his best to avoid allowing his opponent to back away from them, lunching and reaching if he must. Masato picked his spots, but was so accurate not to mention a better defender he seemed to land more often anyway. Masato may not have been the harder puncher, but as he was catching Choi square it sure seemed as though he was.
Nicholas Pettas vs. Kim Young Hyun 2R 0:41. Kim is a 217 cm giant, who looks similar to a non-anorexic version of Giant Baba. Pettas still caught him with an axe kick though. Pettas main strategy was taking Kim's leg out, welting the big man's thigh with repeated outside leg kicks. Kim wasn't very mobile to begin with, and he was hobbled by the end of the first round, so he became a sitting duck. Pettas rocked him backwards with a high kick and overhand right, overwhelming him once he had him against the ropes.
MMA Rule: Melvin Manhoef vs. Yousuke Nishijima R1 1:49. Domination. Manhoef threw a few of his hard hook combos then scooped a double leg takedown into the mount and punched out Nishijima, who offered no defense.
MMA Rule: Rani Yahya vs. Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto 2R 3:11. I wish I could tell you what Yahya's strategy was here, but I'm baffled. Yamamoto's strength is punching, and there's no way Yahya is going to beat him in standup. Yamamoto is always content to never go to the ground, which makes it all the more confusing that Yahya made no attempt to take him down. Granted takedowns aren't exactly Yahya's strength, and to make things worse Yamamoto is a hard fighter to takedown, and ever more difficult to keep down. However, Yahya is an amazing BJJ submission artist, with 10 of his 11 victories coming from tap out. Though Yahya lost to expert wrestler Chase Beebe in WEC last time out in one of the best fights of the year, when he couldn't take the grappler down he'd simply pull guard and unleash his arsenal of sweeps. Yet Yahya made no attempt here to pull guard either. Instead, Yahya would jump in throwing punches or kicks, getting nailed with a hook when he missed. Yamamoto basically avoided Yahya's strikes and sporadically landed a damaging counter punch. After stunning Yahya a handful of times in R1, he seemed to wake up after Yahya landed a good low kick in R2. Yahya then made the mistake of trying to run away from a now aggressive Yamamoto, which of course only got him trapped in the corner where it's more difficult to avoid the opponent's strikes. They were very active in standup, but it was disappointing as I expected this to be a competitive fight with some slick groundwork from Yahya.
MMA Rule: Bob Sapp vs. Bobby Ologun 1R 4:10. The expected shady embarrassment. Ologun danced away from Sapp for 1 1/2 minutes, looking more like a slapstick comedian than a fighter with these stupid arm movements. Sapp got a takedown out of a reverse bear hug of all things, so Ologun laid on his back doing nothing for the rest of the fight. Sapp quickly mounted and threw some love taps to set up a key lock. When that failed he went back to grazing Ologun with some lame looping punches until the stoppage. Atrocious!
MMA Rule: Minowaman (Ikuhisa Minowa) vs. Zulu R3 2:13. A ridiculous bout with Zulu having a 200+ pound weight advantage. Basically just a waste as Minowa would probably have a very entertaining match against a fighter is size rather than this comical charade. Minowaman spent the fight jogging around Zulu, perhaps that's the superHERO'S special ability, trying to tire him out. Zulu has no clue how to cut the ring off, but Minowaman's only offense was some low kicks. Zulu got some takedowns, but didn't control the body, so Minowaman was quickly back to his feet. Once he threw Zulu with something of an ipponzeoi. Minowaman's big problem is Zulu is such a huge man he didn't seem to be able to utilize his usual ground defense, and thus largely wound up giving his back and covering his head. Zulu couldn't choke him out because he didn't get the hooks in and flatten him out, but much of the third round was Zulu repeatedly punching Minowaman.
Takashi Tachikawa vs. Yoshihisa Inoue 1R 1:43. Inoue is a stocky guy with no technique or footwork, the kind you'd expect to see in a toughman contest. The former baseball player Tachikawa knocked him down with low kicks 3 times in 2 minutes for the TKO.
MMA Rule: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Kazushi Sakuraba R1 6:25. Though Funaki was a star long before Sakuraba debuted and now returns after a 7 year absence, they're actually both the same age, 38. Funaki showed his rust, being a bit tentative. I thought he might want to stand with Sakuraba as he has a little reach advantage and was a good kicker in his day. Sakuraba was the one to take it to the mat with the takedown, but Funaki didn't get back up when he arguably had the chance, allowing Sakuraba to get back on top after some kicks to the thighs and submit him with the chickenwing armlock. Funaki was a very difficult man to submit in his prime, so the relative ease of his loss to a move that's not known for it's high success rate was surprising.
MMA Rule: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Hong Man Choi 1R 1:54. Fedor tried for a takedown grabbing a waistlock, but the 7'2" giant would lean forward and drive until he fell on top of Fedor. Hong obviously needs a lot of room to punch, so Fedor would just grab hold of an arm when Hong left it laying against Fedor's body and swivel his hips into the arm bar. Hong escaped the first time, but then there was essentially an instant replay of the aforementioned with Fedor getting the submission after Hong's takedown. A more experienced fighter probably wouldn’t have fallen for the same thing twice, but Hong is in just his second fight, which is why he has no business in the ring with the great champion. Fedor face looked pretty bad after the match, especially considering he didn’t seem to take any big shots, but he’s known to cut easily.
MMA Rule: Kazuo Misaki vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama R1 7:48. The big grudge match as Misaki said he’d never even fight on the same card as Akiyama after Sakuraba lost to Akiyama last New Year’s (changed to a no contest) due to Akiyama having too much grease on his body. Pretty good standup fight. An even match with both badly stunning the opponent once. The difference in the fight was Misaki was able to tie Akiyama's arm up after being knocked down with a right straight and pounced upon.
MMA Rule: Joachim Hansen vs. Kazuyuki Miyata 2R 1:33. Pretty good fight with Miyata controlling position for the majority, having some success with ground and pound as Hansen was willing to take punches in hopes of a submission. Hansen nearly knocked Miyata out with a lighting combination at the end of R1, but the bell rang before he could land the few extra blows to his downed opponent it would have taken secure the stoppage. The finish was awesome as Hansen got Miyata's neck from side rear mount then rolled over his body, getting the hooks in by the time he landed on his back.