K-1 France Grand Prix 2006 Quarterfinals
Alexander Ustinov vs. Alexander Novovic 3R
Christophe Carron vs. Roman Kupcak 3R
David Dancrade vs. Ante Varnica R2
Brice Guidon vs. Petar Majstorovic 3R
Super Fight: Humberto Evora vs. Freddy Kemayo 3R
K-1 France Grand Prix 2006 Semifinals
Alexander Ustinov vs. Christophe Carron R2
Brice Guidon vs. David Dancrade 3R
Championnat du Monde Poids-Lourds WFKB: Sergei Gur vs. Rani Berbachi
K-1 France Grand Prix 2006 Final: Alexander Ustinov vs. Brice Guidon R1 0:35
Fabien Vichi vs. Jerome Ferre
Jean-Marie Capdevilla vs. Kristopher Kurkowski
K-1 WORLD GP 2006 in AUCKLAND Quarterfinals
Cyril Abidi vs. Hiraku Hori 2R
Paula Mataele vs. Jason Suttie 3R
Badr Hari vs. Peter Graham R3 3:54
Paul Slowinski vs. Rony Sefo 3R
K-1 WORLD GP 2006 in AUCKLAND Semifinals
Hiraku Hori vs. Jason Suttie R3 1:34
Paul Slowinski vs. Peter Graham R2 1:42
Super Fight: Peter Aerts vs. Semmy Schilt 3R
Super Fight: Ray Sefo vs. Francois Botha 3R
K-1 WORLD GP 2006 in AUCKLAND Final: Paul Slowinski vs. Jason Suttie R2 1:45
Shungo Oyama vs. Melvin Manhoef 1R 2:51. Manhoef's striking was too much for Oyama. Once he landed his first good shot he followed up with several more which Oyama had no defense much less answer for. Oyama was basically done when his takedown backfired, as Manhoef busted him up in a brief ground and pound segment before letting him up so he could flurry on him. Oyama's cut above the left eye was pretty bad, but gave him a temporary reprieve that likely kept him from being knocked out within the next minute. Unfortunately for him, Manhoef picked right up where he left off, rocking Oyama several times for the TKO.
Jerome Le Banner vs. Jimmy Ambriz 1R 2:04. Le Banner tried to kickbox Ambriz, but was taken down after landing a few blows. Ambriz wasn't super active, but his ground and pound did do some damage. Le Banner wasn't getting off his back any time soon, but being a big name the ref stood them up within two minutes. This time Ambriz tried to use wild looping punches to set up his takedown, but Le Banner countered with an overhand right, dropping him with one punch.
Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Erikas Petraitis 1R 3:59. Miyata scored the immediate takedown, landing a few good punches when he had space to open up the guard pass. Miyata flurried from the mount, but Petraitis regained guard and tied im up. Petraitis negated Miyata's offense for a while, but was never able to get back to his feet.
Caol Uno vs. Rich Clementi 2R. Good match with wily veteran Uno against powerful Clementi. Clementi got the early takedown, pinning Uno's arm behind his back so he couldn't use it to defend. It was looking as though Uno might be in for a long night, but when Clementi took side mount Uno gave his back, and after avoiding the rear naked choke turned into top control. Uno did a surprising amount of damage with his ground and pound before the round ended to steal it, but he still looked the worse for wear at rounds end as his nose was cut and his cheeks were puffy. Uno wanted the takedown, but knowing he couldn't overpower Clementi he used leverage through a Kimura. Clementi held haft guard and kept Uno off balance so he couldn't flurry on him, eventually getting back to his feet with a minute left. Uno spun Clementi back down out of a waistlock, but Clementi grabbed his leg and pulled him down to gain the late advantage. Competitive fight, but Uno has too many skills for Clementi.
Gary Goodridge vs. Heath Herring 2R 1:55. Interesting fight between erratic fighters who balance moments of brilliance with moments of ineptitude. Herring is a more well rounded fighter, but Goodridge is the kind of fighter you can't make a big mistake against because he'll knock you out in a hurry. Herring was sloppy early, getting taken down when Goodridge caught his high kick. Goodridge is more interested in big offense than control, so he's prone to losing his advantages. Once Herring got the takedown Goodridge was stuck on his back, but he was lucky enough to get a standup. Goodridge was generally the better fighter on their feet, but he fell prey to one good punch.
Tokimitsu Ishizawa vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama 2R 1:41. Kashin has a tough time shooting, as his amateur wrestling days were a long time ago and he's only able to train sporadically. He's not one of those overpowering wrestlers who can just charge through you, and whatever he did back in the day, it's harder to take guys down in MMA because they don't have to lock up and obviously can throw a lot more varying offense at you. Ishizawa couldn't get the takedown, as Akiyama has good balance and wouldn't let Ishizawa get anywhere once he grabbed him. Ishizawa did eat flurries of punches trying to get Akiyama to the ground, but this was a dull fight with Ishizawa a lot of clinching and grabbing but Ishizawa unable to mount any kind of offensive.
Yoshihisa Yamamoto vs. Min Soo Kim 2R 1:32. Hard fought bout with both having their moments and chance to attain victory. Yamamoto may not have a good record, but as in his works, he's always capable of an exciting fight. Kim is a bit sloppy with his punches, but was landing some. Yamamoto got off to a slow start, but got aggressive catching Kim with a surprise uraken followed by two good lefts to knock him down. Yamamoto flurried from side mount and Kim wasn't defending himself, but apparently Yamamoto didn't have enough on the punches to warrant the stoppage. Kim's nose was badly bloodied, and Yamamoto had a few cuts as well, so instead the ref gave Kim a break so the doctor could check him out. This decision was probably the sole reason Kim survived the first round. Yamamoto now had confidence in standup, but Kim was landing his punches as well. Yamamoto wanted the takedown, but Kim got it instead and Yamamoto fell apart. Good fight.
Genki Sudo vs. Ole Laursen 3R. Good match with Genki trying all kinds of crazy submissions. He was into rolling ones today, including a heel hold. At one point he was on Laursen's back, but when the choke failed he tried to roll into a leg lock. Laursen had poor takedown defense, which puts him in a tough spot since Genki can always find a submission to try, and that looks good to the judges. Genki was hurt in R2 by a knee to the mid section he claimed was a low blow. Despite the shady break, Laursen, who had almost no offense before this, came alive trying jumping attacks on his downed opponent. Genki took some ground and pound, but a tiring Laursen wasn't active enough. Given he lost R1 for sure, he needed to put a lot more pressure on Genki, but just didn't have it in him. Nonetheless, Laursen did enough to send it to the extra round. Never one to be shown up, Genki got the takedown and tried jumping on Laursen.
Hideo Tokoro vs. Yoshinori Ikeda 1R 0:49. Tokoro got a single leg takedown into side mount, quickly transitioning into full mount but getting so high on Ikeda trying to set up a submission he was reversed. This turned out to be a good thing for Tokoro, as being on his back made it easier to sink the triangle choke in deeper.
Andy Souwer vs. SHINOBU Tsogto Amara 4R
Drago vs. Ole Laursen 3R
Mike Zambidis vs. Yoshihiro Sato 3R
Takayuki Kohiruimaki vs. Chi Bin Lim R3 2:46
Albert Kraus vs. Ali Gunyar 3R
Buakaw Por. Pramuk vs. Virgil Kalakoda 4R
Masato vs. Remigijus Morkevicius R2 1:56
K-1 USA GP Tournament Quarterfinals:
Gary Goodridge vs. Kengo
Scott Lighty vs. Dewey Cooper
Carter Williams vs. Yusuke Fujimoto
Chalid "Die Faust" vs. Sean O'Haire
Super Fight: Stefan "Blitz" Leko vs. Ruslan Karaev
K-1 USA GP Tournament Semifinals:
Gary Goodridge vs. Scott Lighty
Carter Williams vs. Chalid "Die Faust"
Super Fight: Semmy Schilt vs. Musashi
Super Fight: Hong Man Choi vs. The Predator
K-1 USA GP Tournament Final: Chalid "Die Faust" vs. Gary Goodridge
Tom Erikson vs. Antonio Silva 1R 2:51. The problem with being such a dominant wrestler is you're normally only on your back in practice, and due to that you probably don't work on it as much as something you anticipate taking place in the fight. Silva surprisingly took Erikson down, and Erikson looked bad, never threatening to make it back to his feet.
Don Frye vs. Akebono 2R 3:52. One of the worst, dullest, lamest fights I've ever had the misfortune of being tortured by. Akebono's whole game is pinning his opponent in the corner or against the ropes and leaning on them. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be fighting or it's how he achieves his Akeboner, but the fight had a snail's pace and bad punching was the most you could hope for. Despite the perpetual inaction, Akebono completely ran out of gas and just gave up as far as I could tell. Frye "knocked" him down with a weak low kick when Akebono was off balance trying to punch and forced him to submit to a "guillotine choke" that had no leverage and may not have even been locked on the neck. Beyond awful.
Middlekyu Sekai Saikyo Oja Kettei Tournament (Middleweight World's Strongest King Decision Tournament) 1st Round
Ivan Menjivar vs. Taiyo Nakahara 2R. Uneventful match that may as well have been kickboxing. Menjivar was clearly the better striker, though he did little damage. Nakahara didn't seem to have much of a game plan and never changing things up.
Rani Yahya vs. Ryuki Ueyama 2R. All on the ground. I thought this would be exciting, but they are so skilled they largely negated each other. They tried to use ground and pound to create openings, to little avail. Yahya worked hard for an arm bar then kneebar at the end. Close, fairly interesting fight.
Hidetaka Monma vs. J.Z. Calvan 1R 2:06. Calvan immediately knocked Monma down with a front kick. Monma had guard, but allowed Calvan to stand up hoping he'd expose a limb to submission, but instead he wailed Monma with hammerfists that left Monma too dazed to even attempt to regain body control.
Hideo Tokoro vs. Black Mamba 1R 0:35. Tokoro tried to shoot when Mamba kicked, ducking into it and turning it into a wicked knee to the head.
Caol Uno vs. Ole Laursen 2R 4:36. Uno controlled position the entire fight, keeping it on the ground. He had Laursen's back at the end of R1, so Laursen just tucked his neck for the final minute, getting punched repeatedly but living to fight another round. Uno was less active in R2, concentrating solely on gaining the proper position for a submission. Pretty good.
Super Fight: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Katsuhiko Nagata 1R 2:23. Nagata didn't seem to have a standup game, but surprisingly couldn't get the takedown. Akiyama's punching was too good for Nagata, especially since he had no offense at all. Akiyama took him out with a beautiful spinning savate.
Super Fight: Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto vs. Kazuyuki Miyata 1R 0:04. Yamamoto ran across the ring at the bell, connecting with a jumping knee for the wild KO.
K-1 WORLD GP 2006 in AMSTERDAM Quarterfinals
Alexey Ignashov vs. Peter Vondrachek R2 2:08
Melvin Manhoef vs. Tatsufumi Tomihira R1 2:10
Bjorn Bregy vs. Freddy Kemayo R3 1:10
Naoufal "Iron Leg" (Benazzouz) vs. Attila Karacs R1 2:10
Super Fight: Semmy Schilt vs. Lloyd van Dams 3R
Alexey Ignashov vs. Gohkan Saki 3R
Naoufal "Iron Leg" vs. Bjorn Bregy R2 1:40
Final: Bjorn Bregy vs. Gohkan Saki R1 1:44
Super Fight: Remy Bonjasky vs. Jerome Le Banner 3R
Super Fight: Ernesto Hoost vs. Peter Aerts 3R
K-1 WORLD GP 2006 in Scandinavia Quarterfinals
Rickard Nordstrand vs Tsutomu Takahagi R3
Topi Helin vs Petar Majstorovic 4R
Jonathan Gromark vs Errol Zimmerman 4R
Magomed Magomedov vs Michael McDonald 3R
Superfight: Ole Laursen vs Jean Skarbowsky 4R
Rickard Nordstrand vs Topi Helin 3R
Errol Zimmerman vs Magomed Magomedov 3R
WMC Heavyweight Title Fight: Larry Lindwall vs Azem Maksutaj R2 1:51
Super Fight: Francois Botha vs Jorgen Kruth 3R
Final: Rickard Nordstrand vs Magomed Magomedov 3R
K-1 WORLD GP 2006 in SEOUL Quarterfinals
Yusuke Fujimoto vs. Dong Wook Kim 3R
Tsuyoshi Nakasako vs. Kaoklai Kaennorsing 3R
Mehdi Mirdavoudi vs. Mourad Bouzidi 3R
Min Soo Kim vs. Kyoung Seok Kim 3R
Super Fight: Peter Aerts vs. Hiraku Hori R2 1:23
Yusuke Fujimoto vs. Tsuyoshi Nakasako 3R
Mourad Bouzidi vs. Min Soo Kim 4R
Super Fight: Ray Sefo vs. Ruslan Karaev R1 1:42
Final: Yusuke Fujimoto vs. Min Soo Kim R2 0:23
Super Fight: Semmy Schilt vs. Hong Man Choi 3R
WORLD MAX 2006 Tournament Quarterfinals
Masato vs. Takayuki Kohiruimaki 3R
Andy Souwer vs. Virgil Kawakoda R3 2:33
Albert Kraus vs. Drago 3R
Buakaw Por. Pramuk vs. Yoshihiro Sato R2 0:18
Masato vs. Andy Souwer 3R
Drago vs. Buakaw Por. Pramuk 3R
Final: Andy Souwer vs. Buakaw Por. Pramuk R2 2:13
Reserve Fight: Artur Kyshenko vs. Rayen Simson 3R
Mitsugu Noda vs. Keiichi Nishiwaki R1 1:45
Yodsanklai Fairtex vs. Kamal El Amrani 3R
Super Fight: Tatsuji vs. Yasuhito Shirasu 3R
Super Fight: Kozo Takeda vs. Fernando Calleros 3R
Freddy Kemayo vs. Hiromi Amada 2R
Bjorn Bregy vs. Tsuyoshi Nakasako R1 2:35
Paul Slowinski vs. Tatsufumi Tomihira 3R
Yusuke Fujimoto vs. Bobby Ologun 3R
Peter Aerts vs. Gary Goodridge 3R
Remy Bonjasky vs. Mighty Mo 3R
Hong Man Choi vs. Akebono R2 0:57
Glaube Feitosa vs. Musashi 3R
Andy Hug Memorial
Alexandre Franca Nogueira vs. Boku Kotetsu 2R. Boring fight that was essentially a stalemate. Nogueira has no standup game, so he'd just shoot at first opportunity. In R1, he was taking Kotetsu down and utilizing ground and pound. Kotetsu wanted to strike, but in R1 he couldn't stay on his feet. In R2, he stopped Nogueira's predictable shoots, but in focusing on that he couldn't really commit to his punching. He landed a few good shots and had a brief good flurry of ground and pound. Poor match.
Semmy Schilt vs. Min Soo Kim. Not as bad as the previous match, but rather awkward. Schilt badly bloodied Kim's nose with a short left. Kim got the takedown to side mount, but was painting the canvas with red drips. Kim tried to stand over Schilt and punch down on him, but Schilt triangled him. It's weird seeing such a tall man utilize a triangle choke. Poor match.
Middlekyu Sekai Saikyo Oja Kettei Tournament (Middleweight World's Strongest King Decision Tournament) Quarterfinals
Hideo Tokoro vs. Ivan Menjivar 2R. Exciting fast paced match with several quick scrambles on the mount, countless position changes, and both going all out for the duration. Tokoro knew he was overmatched, so he threw caution to the wind, even rolling around the canvas looking to hook Menjivar's leg. Tokoro was extremely aggressive and very unconventional. He had several submissions at least partially applied, but Menjivar usually closed the door as soon as he opened it. Menjivar is a much better striker, and he was the one who did the damage during the fight. He never hurt Tokoro, but he was pretty accurate and made Tokoro pay for some of the gambles he took. Both fought very well, and I didn't see enough of an advantage on either side to call this anything but a draw. Very good match.
J.Z. Calvan vs. Hiroyuki Takaya 1R 0:30. Quick highly impressive KO for Calvan with his flying knee.
Rani Yahya vs. Kazuya Yasuhiro 1R 1:08. Yahya fought very aggressively, taking Yasuhiro down and going right into ankle lock. Yasuhiro kicked Yahya off with his free leg and got back to his feet. However, Yahya took him right back down, maneuvered to north/south position and took him out with a Brabo choke.
Caol Uno vs. Black Mamba 2R 3:30. Uno wasn't at his best here, as he wanted no part of standup so he quickly became quite predictable in shooting immediately. He obviously had Mamba's spectacular quick KO of Hideo Tokoro from HERO'S 5 in mind, as though Mamba can strike the vast majority of his matches end via submission. Mamba hurt Uno early, as in attempting to shoot Uno ducked right into a big knee that I believe was intended to be a right high kick. I was surprised Uno wasn't KO'd, and Mamba was certainly thinking finish pouncing right on him and flurrying in hopes of a ref stoppage. Uno survived, but pretty well refused to return to his feet, crawling around the mat and grabbing Mamba's leg. Uno was getting punished utilizing this method, including getting his right eye busted open, but when he finally secured both legs he scooped Mamba to the canvas. Mamba wasn't looking too impressive on the mat, but after putting himself in harms way he was able to defend the rear naked choke. Mamba got two takedowns in R2 as Uno was sloppy, jumping at Mamba to close the distance and lock him up as quickly as possible. I felt Uno would have lost the decision, but he managed to avoid putting it in the judges hands. Pretty good.
Light Heavykyu Sekai Saikyo Oja Kettei Tournament (Light Heavyweight World's Strongest King Decision Tournament) Quarterfinals
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Taiei Kin 1R 1:59. Akiyama give the kickboxer any opportunity to strike, tying him up immediately and wrestling him to the canvas when his judo throw failed. Akiyama got an arm bar, but Kin completed all his steps to escaping, turning and getting to a squatting position, except freeing the arm itself. Akiyama was now lying stomach maintaining the lock, and it looked as though there was a lot of pressure on Kin's forearm, though Kin wasn't reacting as if he were in agony. The ref stopped it, which needless to say didn't please Kin. It's possible it was a good call, but as Kin had progressed this far it was a rather infuriating one given all that was left to do was utilize the better position he'd attained to take his arm back.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Crosley Gracie 1R 9:12. Worst match of the year candidate. Gracie's strategy was to only fight on the ground, while Manhoef's was to only fight on his feet. Gracie couldn't get Manhoef down in any manner, so rather than give in he simply dropped to his back every time Manhoef hit him. No amount of yellow cards could deter him. The fans began booing Gracie every time he employed this strategy, which says a lot given the show eminates from Japan. Manhoef got so pissed he finally tried some ground and pound. Gracie tried to roll away, but wound up in the corner trapped on his side unable to do anything beyond cover up. The ref should have restarted them in the center as Gracie was barely even in the ring, but Gracie hadn't earned any favors. In fact, it was more like everyone was just looking for an excuse to get this travesty finished.
Super Fight: Yoshihisa Yamamoto vs. Don Frye 1R 4:48. One-sided match. Yamamoto looked bad. Frye locked a standing guillotine, but Yamamoto kept backpedaling to avoid being dragged down until he ran out of real estate, at which point Frye drove him through the ropes. Maybe Yamamoto never recovered, as the short little hook Frye put him down with didn't look that deadly.
Shungo Oyama vs. Rodrigo Gracie 2R. Oyama had a consistent careful ground and pound that never threatened to stop Gracie, but was enough to avoid any standups. Gracie used an open guard, but was trying to push Oyama away with his feet rather than attempting submissions. I'd understand the strategy if I were viewing a fighter who thought he could win on his feet. Okay for a while, but got real dull given the entire fight was the same.
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Kestutis Smirnovas 1R 6:43. Crazy all action match. Smirnovas fell after landing a middle kick, so Sakuraba rushed to take advantage. However, in the wild exchange Smirnovas knocked him down with a hook. I thought the ref stopped the fight during the ensuing ground flurry, but he simply reset them as Sakuraba was in the ropes. Sakuraba face was bloodied and bludgeoned. He was getting mauled, but K-1 didn't want him to lose his highly anticipated debut, so he was granted a considerable amount of leeway. Sakuraba showed some life with knees then flurries of punches once he got back to his feet. He was tired from taking so much punishment, but Smirnovas seemed even more gas as he emptied most of his tank trying to finish the fight. Sakuraba bloodied Smirnovas face with some good shots to the nose, and suddenly Sakuraba was looking the less abused of the two. Smirnovas escaped to the ground as he wasn't liking the punishment he was taking on his feet, but giving Sakuraba an advantageous position on the ground typically made for a quick trip to the showers. Very good match.
Ernesto Hoost vs. Yusuke Fujimoto R3 2:09. Hoost came out of semi-retirement in hopes of upping his record to five WORLD GP championships, but showed obvious ring rust, giving one of his worst performances despite attaining a KO victory. Hoost often loses the first round feeling his opponent out, but today he was tentative and gunshy even in the later stages. Hoost normally comes out strong in the second, but Fujimoto started the round fast in an effort to throw Hoost off his game. Hoost tried to establish the jab and low kick, but Fujimoto was countering with punches. Fujimoto’s is always his own worst enemy, as the longer the fight goes, the sloppier he gets, and by the third round he begins to beat himself by slipping and sliding like a hot oil wrestler. Hoost eventually got his leg kicks going, which didn’t help Fujimoto’s always questionable balance. Fujimoto took a tough low kick to the knee when he attacked with a right hand then landed a lunging left, but Hoost followed by sweeping the leg for the knockout. I expected Fujimoto to get up until I saw him wincing, and in fact he was down for quite a while after the bout. Average match.
Remy Bonjasky vs. Gary Goodridge R3 0:52. Late replacement Goodridge was way out of his depth against the two-time WORLD GP champion. Bonjasky has the reach, speed, and can close the distance in a heartbeat, the combination of these assets keeping Goodridge from even having a chance to mount an offensive. Bonjasky went for the quick win with a high kick/flying knee combo that Gary partially blocked, putting Goodridge down with a subsequent flying knee 50 seconds into the contest. Bonjasky was blasting away with the low kick, slowing Goodridge while trying to set up a clean high kick. Goodridge’s mobility and ability to plant were very obviously hampered by the start of the second. Bonjasky knew he was going to win one way or another, so after a exhilarating first round he didn’t take too many chances in the second. Deciding to try to finish in the third, Bonjasky rediscovered his aggression, connecting with a huge knee, left straight, and high kick for the KO. Good match.
Badr Hari vs. Ruslan Karaev R1 0:52. One of the more controversial knockouts in K-1 history, Hari landed some powerful low kicks at the outset but lost his balance on the rebound. Karaev capitalized, driving his opponent into the corner with punches and arguably illegal elbows, putting Hari down with a right straight. Before the ref could get in, Karaev followed with a wicked roundhouse kick to the face of Hari, who was down in the corner and thus should not be able to legally sustain any blows. Hari threw a temper tantrum when Karaev was ruled the victor, feeling he clearly would have survived the punch. This set up a rematch on 3/4/07 WORLD GP 2007 in YOKOHAMA, which Hari won.
Musashi vs. Chalid “Die Faust” 3R. A dominant performance by Chalid, who predictably mixing powerful hooks, straights, and uppercuts for three rounds against an opponent who surprisingly mustered no answer. Musashi made little effort to slow Die Faust with low kicks, instead repeatedly going for his middle kick without any setup. Faust explodes out of the gate, while Musashi is a slow starter, so it was no surprise when Chalid claimed the first closing the distance and punching through and around Musashi’s block. Musashi tried to attack in round 2, but Die Faust was backing away in circles with the best of them, stopping only to throw his own punches. Musashi still arguably did better in this round, but Chalid’s short range punches were simply too strong. Die Faust landed a barrage of punches 40 seconds into the third round to elicit a standing count when Musashi was forced to turn his back to his opponent. Musashi’s left eye was considerably swollen by this point, nearly shut. It’s difficult to figure what round a judge might have given to Musashi, but one actually gave the Osaka native the fight, so Die Faust only attained a split decision victory in one of the most one-sided wins of his K-1 career. The loss was a crushing blow to the Japanese, as it meant there would be no native fighter in the on 12/2/06 at the 2006 WORLD GP Final. Above average.
Glaube Feitosa vs. Paul Slowinski 3R (R1 skipped). Feitosa was at his best, fighting aggressively with sharp combos where he mixed level and type, using his strong kicks to open up his oft-underutilized punching game. Slowinski was wobbling around with his hands down in the middle of the second, but began putting combos together, albeit without their usual amount of steam. Though he finished his combos with low kicks, Slowinski was unable to get his famed low kick game going. Round 3 was closer than round 2, but Feitosa coasted to the unanimous decision. Above average match.
Semmy Schilt vs. Bjorn Bregy R1 2:21. 6’8” Bregy towers over most opponents, but very obviously lacked the skill to hang with a man his own size. Schilt quickly destroyed him, using his left jab to beat him to the punch. Bregy would load up for power, but Schilt would hit him before he could get off, resulting in two knockdowns from left jabs. The middle knockdown was a standing down when Bregy turned his back after failing to run away from Schilt.
Jerome Le Banner vs. Hong Man Choi 4R. Intense strategic battle. Le Banner was much better at dealing with Choi’s size during their 12/8/07 WORLD GP 2007 FINAL rematch. The fact a conflicting acting gig left his participation up in the air literally until the final minutes, arriving in Osaka just a few hours before the show, didn’t help him, as he mainly wound up hanging on the outside throwing low kicks. These theoretically should have opened up the overhand right, but Le Banner was very tentative and didn’t make much attempt to close the gap for punches due to fearing Choi’s knee. While Choi’s size prevented Le Banner from utilizing his famed fists, he had little idea of how to utilize it for his own offense. Choi should be so difficult to deal with, but beyond being so slow his punches from a distance are easily avoided, he simply lacks Semmy Schilt’s left jab and front kick, negating his reach advantage and allowing Le Banner to peck away with low kicks. In fact, Choi’s whole game was closing the gap to bring up the big knee. Choi came on toward the end of the 2nd round with a knee, elbow, and backfist to probably steal the round despite Le Banner’s last second superman punch. Choi was looking a bit sluggish in the third, but while a bloody nosed Le Banner was elusive, he wasn’t having much luck landing his own blows, which were also pretty weak by Jerome’s standards. One judge ruled for Le Banner, but even though I would have given Choi the bout if absolutely forced to decide, overtime was certainly the proper course. Hong was landing some jabs in the extra round, but Le Banner kicked his leg again. If you’ve read many of my reviews you’ll know I’m a proponent of the low kick, but Le Banner’s were wimpy and ineffective, failing to slow the giant down in the least. No one was able to distance themselves, but Choi’s punches were more damaging than Le Banner’s kicks, and though I was rooting hard for Le Banner, I felt Choi landed enough solid punches to say he got the better of another close round that could easily have been scored even. Surprisingly, everyone ruled for Le Banner this time. Good match.
Lightheavykyu Sekai Saikyo Oja Kettei Tournament (Light Heavyweight World's Strongest King Decision Tournament) Semifinals:
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Kestutis Smirnovas R1 3:01. Smirnovas found himself back in the tournament when quarterfinals conqueror Kazushi Sakuraba bowed out due to injury. Akiyama blistered the outside of Smirnovas’ left thigh with low kicks that caused immediate welting. Smirnovas was forced to defend his legs before he was too hobbled, which was almost a good thing but went awry almost in the same instant. Smirnovas caught Akiyama’s leg, but slipped while firing back with a right straight while Akiyama was scrambling away. Smirnovas managed to get back to his feet before Akiyama came at him aggressively, but in backing away he quickly found himself in the corner looking for yet another low kick. Unfortunately for him, this time Akiyama went high, leveling Smirnovas with a devastating kick then landing a few punches for the stoppage.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Shungo Oyama R1 1:04. Manhoef came out firing, simply overwhelming Oyama with powerful albeit wild strikes.
Middlekyu Sekai Saikyo Oja Kettei Tournament (Middleweight World's Strongest King Decision Tournament) Semifinals:
Caol Uno vs. Ivan Menjivar 2R. Both fighters did an excellent job of defending against the other man’s strengths and desired position. Though Uno can stand with anyone without getting beat up, Menjivar was certainly going to win a standup battle. Uno looked to close the distance to stay away from Menjivar’s powerful strikes, fighting him evenly on the inside where he peppered him with series of quick punches and matched his knees. Considering the fight was 90% standup, Uno did really well. However, he was repeatedly unable to take Menjivar down, which was his whole strategy, and did quickly get a red cheek from the right hands Menjivar was landing. Uno finally leveraged a toss in the last minute, going right from full mount to rear and trying to choke Menjivar out. Menjivar quickly got back to his feet, getting a yellow card for a high kick he threw while Uno was doing the same. I was shocked they didn’t send them into the extra round. Uno is one of my favorite fighters, but if I had to pick a winner I’d give a slight edge to Menjivar as he’s the better striker and he was able to ward off the takedowns and keep it in his domain. Instead, Uno got the unanimous hometown decision. Pretty good match.
J.Z. Calvan vs. Rani Yahya R1 0:39. Yahya’s only chance was to get it to the ground, but unfortunately he was guillotined in the process.
Super Fight: Kaysinov Georgy vs. Antonio Silva R1 1:08. Georgy used punches to set up the takedown, but still couldn’t get it. Silva landed a right body hook then came up high with a left hook for the KO.
Super Fight: Don Frye vs. Min Soo Kim R2 2:47. Kim leads with his right leg, his stance making it incredibly easy for Frye to land the inside leg kick to his injured knee. Otherwise, Kim dominated the first round. Kim always goes high for the takedown due to his judo background, which when you can’t get the throw leads to struggles based largely upon brute force. Kim has a strong base, and was consistently overpowering Frye. He didn’t do any damage with his first takedown as Frye turned to his knees and stood up when Kim got north/south, but he was pummeling Frye in ground and pound the second time. Had there been more time left in the round, I don’t think Frye would have survived Kim’s mount punches. Kim was looking tired in round 2, and Frye came on mixing punches with his low kicks. By mid round Kim was completely blown up, and the repeatedly low kicks opened the window to victory as Kim came in expecting them, but instead walked right into a right hook for the knockout. Slow paced and somewhat dull, but they were fairly well matched and it was a nice come from behind win for The Predator. Average match.
Super Fight: Hideo Tokoro vs. Ken Kaneko. Kaneko is an actor who doesn’t have the slightest clue of what the hell he’s doing. Tokoro didn’t need to strike and didn’t have to work for anything, he could just take whatever position he wanted on the ground without any opposition. Kaneko slipped out of the arm bar the first time, arguably the only thing he did right all fight. It didn’t matter though, as Tokoro just set the arm bar up again for the submission. An embarrassment.
Hero’s Middleweight Tournament Final: Caol Uno vs. J. Z. Calvan. Pretty similar to Uno’s previous match, more of a stalemate but also more exciting due to the increased stakes and how evenly matched they were. Calvan is an even more imposing striker than Menjivar, but Uno is about as difficult to rock as anyone. In standup you almost have to hit him when he’s trying to strike or shoot, as otherwise he’ll just dodge or run away. On the ground, he avoids most of the ground and pound and blocks the rest. The difference between the two matches is Calvan is a far more capable wrestler, so not only didn’t Uno closing the gap work at all for his own takedowns, Calvan was able to use the threat of his strikes to take Uno down. In R1, Uno got in trouble getting caught against the ropes, and though he blocked the couple punches Calvan threw before he was forced to shoot, Calvan stopped the takedown and landed a few ground punches before Uno gave his back and immediately got wrist control so he could stand back up. Though Calvan landed sporadically in standup, he mainly scored with three takedowns in round 2 that had him in control the majority of the round even though they amounted to negligible damage. Uno may have gotten lucky against Menjivar, but if anything he got a raw deal here as only one judge called for a third round. Obviously if I was forced to decide I’d give it to Calvan, but when another option is available I can’t see giving a decision in the final based solely on control. Good match.
Hero’s Light Heavyweight Tournament Final: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Melvin Manhoef R1 1:58. A memorable little final which often bared more resemblance to pro wrestling than MMA. Manhoef came out like a house of fire as usual, but after landing some blows Akiyama got a hold of him. Manhoef picked him up for the belly to belly suplex, but Akiyama pulled off a tremendous midair reversal into mount. Akiyama wasn’t able to capitalize on the position, and Manhoef again tried to slam him. This time he had the pump handle, but Akiyama reversed with a Kimura and arm barred Manhoef for the win.
K-1 Rule: Nicholas Pettas vs. Badr Hari R2 1:28. Pettas returned to K-1 for the first time since breaking his leg on 6/2/02, but his parade was rained on by another injury. Hari exploited his reach advantage with jabs and low kicks. Pettas’ block was good, but he was inactive early on. When he did try a low kick Hari caught him with a left straight. Pettas stopped fighting after a punch to the elbow in the second, so it was ruled a down. Pettas once again stopped fighting after blocking a high kick with the left arm, but this time his corner threw the towel in, figuring he broke his arm when they saw him cringing in agony.
HERO’S Rule: Tokimitsu Ishizawa vs. Taiei Kin R1 2:48. Even if with some difficultly, Ishizawa could take Kin down. The problem was he couldn’t keep him there for any length of time. Kendo Kashin did a bad job with positioning, allowing himself to get trapped in the corner. Kin wasn’t particularly active, but found the opening for a left high kick KO.
8/28/02 MMA Rule: Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Mirco Cro Cop 2R. Early in Cro Cop’s MMA career, Kazushi Sakuraba had a legitimate chance to defeat him in this heated contest. Sakuraba took some shots trying to get it to the ground, but nothing major early on. Cro Cop began to blast his lead leg with low kicks, but was taken down with just under two minutes in round 1. Sakuraba wasn’t able to get much going, but an early highlight saw Cro Cop try to take advantage of Sakuraba’s standing guard pass attempt by scrambling back to his feet. Sakuraba reacted immediately, charging with a left and trying to sit on Mirko as he returned to his back, but Cro Cop flipped him off with his legs. Cro Cop lost his balance when Sakuraba caught his left low kick and tried to counter with a left straight, leading to another takedown. Cro Cop tied Sakuraba’s hands up in between landing a few pretty good punches from his back. Sakuraba wasn’t having a lot of success, but he wasn’t getting beat up and he was in control enough he had a chance of winning the rounds. Unfortunately, he took a toe to the right eye on an up kick, causing major swelling that led to a doctor stoppage before the start of the third round.
K-1 Rule: Semmy Schilt vs. Peter Graham 5R. A dull, extremely one-sided fight. Graham comes out to AC/DC’s Thunderstruck and resembles the band in that he’s not very talented, but just won’t go away. He’s the kind of fighter you have to knock out as there’s no quit in him. The story remains the same with Schilt kickboxing matches. The near 7 foot Dutchman has way too much reach. The ease at which Schilt can bring a knee to his opponent’s chin is one of the reason’s lines such as “you can’t teach height” become tiresome cliches. Schilt was efficient as ever, picking Graham apart with punches while Graham missed almost everything he threw due to Schilt’s reach keeping him too far away to connect. Graham would charge in with a combination, but Schilt would simply back away until Graham was done or left himself open to the counter. Graham tried the clinch game, but Schilt would knee his thighs. Graham tried his rolling thunder a few times, but Schilt was too smart for that. About the only thing Graham did land were some body blows. Below average match.
K-1 Rule: Musashi vs. Randy Kim R3 0:33. Kim holds the Korean record for shot put. If only he were allowed to stay in his corner and put the heavy metal ball in Musashi’s direction prior to the start of each round, he might be dangerous. Actually Musashi, who hadn’t won a fight since beating Bob Sapp at the 12/31/05 PREMIUM 2005 Dynamite!! show, was once again pretty lousy here. Rather than utilizing his quickness, Musashi stood in front of his larger heavy hitting opponent and allowed himself to be backed into the ropes. Debuting Kim only had punches, but was the aggressor, even if he wasn’t particularly active. Kim probably won the first round with some good straights when Musashi was against the ropes. Kim certainly won the second, battering Musashi with some punches against the ropes early in the round. In his defense, Musashi did come on a little at the end of the round with a good left body hook. After Kim flurried with Musashi on the ropes early in round 3, Musashi finally exploited Kim’s low block, KO’ing him by using a left body jab to set up a big right hook. Musashi was lucky, as in 2 plus rounds against a greenhorn he landed about two blows that were better than average. Average match.
HERO’S Rule: Ken Kaneko vs. Andy Ologun 3R. Ken Kaneko fights like an actor who lacks a director. They should at least get his Kids Return director Takeshi Kitano in his corner if they are going to torture us with this nonsense, but hell, Takeshi could probably Beat this pussy’s ass even if he is around 60. A match this atrocious is hard to come by. On one hand, you have a movie star who has nothing beyond a takedown that wouldn’t work against a better or more experienced fighter. On the other hand, you have a kickboxer who is afraid he’ll get taken down if he actually tries to strike. The motif of the match was action, not the kind fans are used to but rather that ref repeatedly screaming it in hopes of prodding these bozos to do something. Perhaps Kaneko got confused, and thought “action” meant the camera was rolling so it was time for him to make more of his goofy faces. I don’t know, but I do know you’ll rarely have the misfortune of witnessing a more tedious and repetitive bout. Kaneko put the P in lay and pray like none before or since. Ologun finally opened up some in the middle of the second round, as even though he had no takedown defense he realized all Kaneko was going to do was lie on top of him until the ref stood them up. Ologun connected with a right high kick, which gave him some confidence. He landed three low kicks in a row, but then was taken down. Later he put a series of low kicks together that weakened Ken’s legs as he’s oblivious to the concept of checking them, resulting in Kaneko limping by the time the third round ended. Ologun won a unanimous decision. Beyond awful.
HERO’S Rule: Akebono vs. Giant Silva R1 1:02. Akebono drove Silva into the ropes, but Silva worked a Kimura. Akebono fell on top, but Silva maintained the hold, reversing and getting the armlock submission.
HERO’S Rule: Istvan Majoros vs. Norifumi “KID” Yamamoto R1 3:46. Majoros, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling, was just looking to shoot, so Yamamoto kept him at bay with jabs and low kicks. Majoros got the takedown, but Yamamoto was right back up delivering a knee. Majoros didn’t enjoy getting punched or kneed. I guess KID broke a rib when he landed a solid knee to the body as Majoros stopped fighting.
HERO’S Rule: Genki Sudo vs. Jackson Page R1 3:05. Sudo tried to toy with Page using a side stance, but Page dashed in, getting behind Genki and taking him down. Page was showing a diverse ground and pound while looking to pass, but Sudo triangled him and switched to an omoplata. Sudo was unable to finish, but Jackson still paid no attention to what Sudo was doing when he returned to ground and pound. This time Sudo was able to take him out with the triangle choke. Sudo, who injured his neck earlier in the year, then announced his retirement to travel the world and write.
HERO’S Rule: Hideo Tokoro vs. Royler Gracie 3R. Tokoro drew Royce Gracie on 12/31/05 at PREMIUM 2005 Dynamite!!, though despite giving up 30 plus pounds he would have won if not for Royce Gracie rules where no decision is rendered. Royler isn’t as big a star as brothers Rickson & Royce, so he has to fight under the same rules as everyone else, and thus lose when Tokoro made him look old and slow. Tokoro fought a smarter fight against Royler than he did against Alexandre Franca Nogueira, showing some confidence in his standup from the outset rather than willfully surrendering top position to an opponent who also prefers the mat. It was Gracie who wanted the takedown, and for the most part he was able to get it, but Tokoro was so active from the bottom he largely kept Royler on the defensive anyway. Royler had to mount to stop the submission attempts of his speedy and active foe, but Tokoro quickly swept him. Gracie tried the clinch game, but Tokoro rocked him with a jumping knee and flurried until Royler dropped to his back after his shot failed. Tokoro tried a Kimura takedown, but couldn’t force Gracie to roll through, so Gracie secured full mount upon landing. Tokoro took the top when Gracie tried to transition into rear mount though. As always, Tokoro’s match featured several escapes, reversals, and scrambles. He constantly thwarted Gracie’s attempts at offense, pressuring his opponent for the duration. Tokoro won a unanimous decision. Good match.
HERO’S Rule: Katsuhiko Nagata vs. Shuichiro Katsumura R1 4:12. Katsumura is a sambo and amateur wrestling champion, but despite facing an Olympic wrestler the fight was mostly standup. Nagata has punching power, knocking Katsumura down with a right hook. Katsumura seems far more advanced as a striker. He’s very quick and light on his feet, employing a side stance. He was able to land an uraken, but took a chance that proved ill advised, trying a floating knee. Nakamura connected with a right cross while Katsumura was in mid air, knocking him down then taking side mount and flurrying for the stoppage.
HERO'S Rule: Hong Man Choi vs. Bobby Ologun R1 0:16. I guess you just have to laugh at this side show match. Ologun charged at the bell with a jumping front kick, which still was barely above waist of his 7’2” opponent, not that it mattered since Ologun didn’t even reach him. Ologun fell on the landing, and Choi dragged him by his feet to the center like a rag doll with Ologun essentially giving up before the first punch. Ologun just turned to his side and covered. Choi might have landed one decent shot, but the ref was essentially forced to stop it because Ologun refused to even try to defend himself.
K-1 Rule: Masato vs. Satoru Suzuki R2 2:22. Suzuki was a middleweight boxing champion, so even though he’s trained in kickboxing enough to get onto the 2005 WORLD MAX show you knew his chances against Masato were none and none. I have to give Suzuki credit though, as he put on a good exciting fight. Suzuki was very aggressive, and did have some kicks, but his boxing background left him prone to the low kick. He started well, landing straight punches and checking Masato’s kicks, but fell apart once Masato hobbled him with a low kick at the start of round 2. Masato continued pounding the leg mercilessly, with Suzuki now offering no defense, getting two more low kick knockdowns for the KO. Good match.
HERO'S Rule: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Kazushi Sakuraba R1 5:37. Sakuraba lunged in a few times, but neither really committed to a shot, content to battle it out on their feet. Sakuraba drilled Akiyama in the package so hard he was coughing. Akiyama was clearly winning when it came to legal blows though, outpunching Sakuraba including landing some solid hooks. Sakuraba wasn’t able to completely duck his spinning backfist, and Akiyama followed up with a few punches to his stunned opponent before Sakuraba shot. Sakuraba’s hands slipped right off Akiyama’s body due to the Olay lotion he’d illegally applied to his body. Unable to take Akiyama down, Sakuraba resorted to dropping do his back. Unfortuntely, Sakuraba was in the ropes, so it was difficult for him to move much less defend or escape. Akiyama punched himself out before the ref finally stopped the fight. A bloody Sakuraba was complaining to anyone who would listen that he couldn’t grip Akiyama. Akiyama had previously been accused of having a slippery judogi by all 3 opponents he defeated in the 2003 World Judo Championships, but was cleared of the charges upon examination. This time pre-fight footage of Akiyama in his locker room showed him greasing his body with lotion. The result was changed to a no contest on 1/11/07, and Akiyama was suspended by FEG, keeping him out until the 10/28/07 HERO’S KOREA 2007 show.
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