Match list coming soon
Mitsugo Noda vs. Cyril Abidi 3R. Abidi wanted to kick, but Noda wanted to fight on the inside where he could push Abidi around. Negating Cyril’s strength by getting inside his kicking range to the point they were so close neither could connect with a hook, Noda dictated a sloppy and ugly match largely comprised of clutching, grabbing, and leaning. Abidi threw low or middle kicks anytime he had room, but Noda blocked the roundhouses and continued to roll forward. There was some good action at the start of round 2 with Abidi coming out kicking, only to get backed into the corner once again. This time he seemed to stun Noda with a left hook, but Noda tied him up while he recovered then got a standing down with a flurry of punches. Noda was cut in the center of the forehead from a butt, the blood trickling down but mainly staying in between his eyes. Abidi did a better job of punching on the inside in round 3, landing some solid shots as well as getting the clinch knees going. He won that round in my opinion, but it was still too little too late, as Noda scored the upset, collecting his first victory over a best 4 in only the fifth fight of his career. Below average match.
Hiromi Amada vs. Gohkan Saki 2R. A classic lumberjack performance by Saki, a late sub for flu-stricken training partner Chalid “Die Faust”, consistently torturing Amada’s lead leg with devastating low kicks. This is the sort of one-sided contest you either garner perverse enjoyment from or find boring, as kicker Saki refused to allow boxer Amada to get in punching range. Saki also trains with Semmy Schilt, so it’s not surprising he has an effective front kick to help maintain distance. Amada was hobbling so badly in the second round he wasn’t ready to fight, forcing the ref to call a standing down when he turned away from his opponent. Saki landed an inside leg kick just after the second round bell that finally chopped Amada down. Obviously it didn’t count as a knockdown, but Amada was unable to answer the bell to start the third. Above average match.
Aleksandr Pitchkounov vs. Hiraku Hori R1 2:27. Pitchkounov has educated feet, but did his damage following with his fists. He missed a spinning high kick, but immediately followed with a left straight for the knockdown. Hori blocked a left high kick, but fell to his knee after 2 left hooks. Pitchkounov soon took Hori out with an uppercut.
Tsuyoshi Nakasako vs. Zabit Samedov 3R. Samedov would close the distance, striking on the way in, but once he got inside the bout stalled through hugging. Samedov kept the pressure on with his boxing, including landing a superman punch then punishing Nakasako on the ropes with an uppercut and body blow, but Nakasako did nothing. Samedov drained him with his body punching, and injured his back with an illegal leg trip takedown that he was warned about. An easy win for Samedov. Below average match.
Junichi Sawayashiki vs. Jerome Le Banner 3R. Arguably the greatest upset in K-1 history, in just his second K-1 fight, the 22-year-old native who was giving up 45 pounds took out a two-time WORLD GP finalist. Though not a great fight, it was very intense and dramatic because Sawayashiki scored an early knockdown, forcing the legend into comeback mode. Sawayashiki was circling against the ropes from the beginning, but just when Le Banner decided he had him where he wanted him and stepped in with a right, the younger instead put him down with a counter right hand. Le Banner was more surprised than hurt, and continued to stalk his opponent, but this was not the good Le Banner by any means. He was always pursuing, but he never cut the ring off and seemed afraid to pull the trigger on his storied power punches. Since Le Banner hardly kicks, he’s not only is no threat if he isn’t punching like Le Banner, he’s incredibly predictable. Sawayashiki was always on the defensive, but when Le Banner did get inside he’d block the Cyborg’s strikes and counter them, with Le Banner noticeably frustrated between each round. Le Banner knew he had to take it too Sawayashiki because he was losing, but he just didn’t seem to have the confidence to do it. He obviously opened up more in the third, but in one of the most memorable moments of the K-1 year, Sawayashiki sent Le Banner’s mouthpiece flying with a counter left hook then followed with another for the knockdown just before the fight ended. I probably would have been mildly bored if two jabronies had the same match, as this wasn’t exactly great action by any means, but the major underdog being ahead the entire fight made it riveting. Good match.
Hong Man Choi vs. Mighty Mo R2 0:50. The requisite gooble gobble special. Choi tried to use his crazy reach advantage to keep Mo away, but his punches are so sluggish and awkward Mo was able to duck in and attack with his overhand right. The first time Mo landed the overhand right solidly, Choi was down for the count. A snoozefest.
K-1 Heavyweight Title Challenger Decision Match: Badr Hari vs. Ruslan Karaev R2 2:46. A bitter revenge bout from 9/30/06 where Hari flipped, vehemently protesting that Karaev’s KO was actually an illegal blow, the kick when Hari was essentially down in the corner causing the premature stoppage. These two brought it like fighters who were pissed and had something to prove, firing away with big power from the outset. Karaev pushed the pace, moving forward relentlessly and pumping heavy fists, but Hari is an excellent counter striker who can stop his retreat on a dime to fire a high kick or a stiff jab. Hari’s skills were best exemplified in the first when he not only backpedaled quickly enough to avoid Karaev’s hook onslaught, but also landed a nice right hand counter in the process. It was a wild fight, complete with Hari nearly falling over the top rope retreating from Karaev’s left hooks and trying to fire back with a high kick. Deciding who was winning was difficult, as both were playing to their strengths and making their mark doing so. Karaev’s nose was bloodied from a stiff left straight, but after they checked it midway through the second he came on with a series of left hooks, eventually stunning Hari with an uppercut then dropping the Moroccan with a left hook. Karaev went for the kill with his favorite strike, a huge left hook, but Hari expected it and threw his own right cross at the same time for the stunning KO! Excellent match.
K-1 Heavyweight Title Challenger Decision Match: Yusuke Fujimoto vs. Musashi R4 1:23. Musashi was of off his game, delivering a listless performance where he barely landed anything. The first round was pretty even as both mainly connected with low kicks, Fujimoto being the more active of the two as Musashi was mainly faking to try to open up the body. Surprisingly, Fujimoto was the one who was landing body kicks in the 2nd, scoring late when the second blow of his combos began to get through. Musashi, on the other hand, never developed his offense beyond single shots. As the fight progressed, Fujimoto became comfortable that Musashi wasn’t setting him up for the follow up, and thus got his counter game going. Fujimoto had a nice flurry at the end of the third to seemingly seal the deal, but despite Musashi doing exactly nothing, it was a majority draw. Nobuaki Kakuda entered before the extension trying to fire them up and get them to bring it by reminding them a chance to become K-1’s first heavyweight champ on 4/28/07 was hanging in the balance, but Musashi remained lethargic. Fujimoto quickly settled any uncertainty with a left high kick that Musashi guessed was another liver kick for the KO. Average match.
K-1 Super Heavyweight First Champion Decision Match: Semmy Schilt vs. Ray Sefo R2 0:26. Sefo had a good strategy, using the body jab to get inside and unleash the overhand right. He stayed back waiting for his moment, trying to keep the giant off balance by making him respect the spinning backfist. Sefo actually put Schilt down at the end of round 1, becoming the first K-1 fighter to do so, by following Schilt’s clinch knee with an overhand right, left hook, and low kick. The left hook caught Schilt cleanly, but part of the reason he went down was simply from getting hit while scrambling backwards to get out of range. Schilt backed Sefo into the corner to start the second, which is something Sefo knew he needed to avoid because that’s where Schilt is deadly with his knees, and had succeeded in the first. It appeared as though Sefo was fighting his way out, but when he lunged in to throw a left hand Schilt met him with a left straight to become the first fighter to KO Sefo, as well as shodai champion. Above average match.
Mighty Mo vs. Min Soo Kim R1 2:37. To show you the kind of feared opponent Mr. Shark is, Mighty Mo agreed to fight him just 8 days after KO’ing his Republic of Korea countryman Hong Man Choi on K-1’s 3/4/07 World GP in Yokohama show. Kim couldn’t come close to taking the kickboxer down, but he has developed his chin since losing to Bob Sapp on the 3/26/05 HERO’S 1 show. Now it takes several Mighty Samoan hooks to KO him.
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Andre Dida R1 3:29. Brief, one-sided but exciting slugfest. Takaya mixed it up early, but was clearly getting the worst of the furious boxing exchanges, getting busted open with a right hook. Takaya shifted to takedown mode, but couldn’t secure Dida, who was still landing powerful hooks and uppercuts. Dida landed in mount when Takaya’s takedown failed and tried a rear naked choke, but Takaya escaped. Takaya’s face and nose were looking really bad with blood coming from the nose and swelling everywhere. When the doctor examined him, he discovered the nose was broken and stopped the contest.
Ryuki Ueyama vs. Vitor Ribeiro R1 1:48. Ribeiro had rear mount with Ueyama on his knees and worked for an arm bar. Ueyama kept maneuvering, but couldn’t free the arm and eventually was forced to roll into a position Ribeiro could extend it for the win.
Hyun Pyo Shin vs. Bernard Ackah R1 1:11. Ackah had a successful MMA debut, making short work of Shin. He put him down momentarily with a right hook then kneed Shin as he was getting up and grabbing Ackah’s hips in hope of securing a takedown. Snoop Dog continued to avoid the takedown, landing a few solid right hooks then holding Shin’s head with his left hand while punching him with the right for the stoppage.
Yoshihisa Yamamoto vs. Katsuyori Shibata R1 0:09. Yoshihisa Yamamoto is really in a slump. All he had to do was take the New Japan junior down, but he came out striking. While he did manage to bloody Shibata’s nose in the 9 seconds the fight lasted, he was essentially KO’d by Shibata’s first punch, and Shibata is not exactly a hands of stone type. Yamamoto rolled to his knees to shoot, but didn’t have it in him to do anything more, allowing Shibata to connect with a few more punches before the ref stepped in.
Gary Goodridge vs. Jan “The Giant” Nortje R1 3:00. One of the more bizarre MMA fights you’ll ever come across, with Nortje quickly going from domination to the point of embarrassment to being embarrassed. The 330-pound Nortje stuffed Goodridge’s takedowns and pounded him with rights. Nortje literally threw 50 unanswered strikes with Goodridge hunched over in the corner covering his head, landing around half, some clubbing down to the top of Gary’s noggin, while Goodridge bobbed and weaved around the others. Nortje had punched himself out by the 40th, and was petitioning for the stoppage as though Goodridge was active in moving, he wasn’t fighting back. Nortje doesn’t have the card like fellow oversized K-1 fighter Bob Sapp, who they would have given the stoppage by the third or fourth unanswered punch before the fans realized he can’t punch or his opponent came back and beat him. And Goodridge did just that, finally coming to life with a right high kick, which opened up the takedown. The exhausted Giant showed no defense on the ground, turning to his side and covering, which now resulted in a quick stoppage.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Yoshiki Takahashi R1 2:36. Takahashi will usually bang with anyone, but was looking for the early takedown against the power hook throwing kickboxing wildman. Takahashi could get a hold of Manhoef, but that was about it. Once Manhoef connected with a big right hook it was the beginning of the end. Takahashi withstood a flurry and made it back to his feet, but Manhoef stopped his shot and landed a series of punches for the ref stop.
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Yuriy Kyselov R1 1:26. Sakuraba took Kyselov down immediately, but Kyselov claimed the top when Sakuraba’s armbar failed. Sakuraba quickly transitioned to the triangle, but it looked as though Kyselov might withstand it when he was leaning over Sakuraba, who was crunched up and trapped in the ropes. Sakuraba transitioned back into the cross armbar, snapping Kyselov to the mat for the submission.
Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Black Mamba R1 3:38. Fun short match with very active groundwork, as both men set up submission after submission. Miyata secured a double leg takedown, but Mamba nearly transitioned into an armbar only to have Miyata slam himself free. Cool finish by Miyata using an over/under to spin Mamba into a choke sleeper.
Caol Uno vs. Ali Ibrahim R1 1:58. Ibrahim was an Olympian in judo. He took Uno down, showing an aggressive ground and pound that led to a cross armbar attempt from Uno. Ibrahim tried to slam his way free, but Uno held on and hooked Ibrahim’s leg, rolling him to his back where he was able to extend the arm for the win.
Hideo Tokoro vs. Kazuya Yasuhiro R1 3:00. Tokoro ascended to main event status after defeating Royler Gracie on 12/31/06 at K-1 PREMIUM 2006 Dynamite!! show. Seiko Kaikan karate veteran Yasuhiro was surprisingly hesitant in standup, perhaps not wanting to fall prey to a quick submission as he did in his previous MMA bout to BJJ specialist Rani Yahya on HERO’S 6 8/5/06. After a few minutes where both were afraid to pull the trigger, Tokoro got a single leg and mounted. Yasuhiro swept him, but super quick Tokoro triangled him in the process, switching to the cross armbar for the victory.
Tim Persey vs. Jonathan Wiezorek
J.Z. Calvan vs. Nam Phan
Jake Shields vs. Ido Pariente
Johnnie Morton vs. Bernard Ackah
Mighty Mo vs. Warpath
Melvin Manhoef vs. Dong Sik Yoon
Hideo Tokoro vs. Brad Pickett
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Royce Gracie 3R. Gracie avenged his 5/1/00 loss to Sakuraba here. Gracie tested so through the roof (25x normal male) for nandrolone that it wouldn't register on the laboratory's calibrator, earning him a year suspension, but the tainted victory stood because CSAC rules didn't allow for results to be overturned based on drug test results.
Min Soo Kim vs. Brock Lesnar
Super Fight: Ruslan Karaev vs. Melvin Manhoef R1 0:52
WORLD GP 2007 in HOLLAND Quarterfinals
Bjorn Bregy vs. Brecht Wallis 3R
Magomed Magomedov vs. Maksim Neledva 3R
Paul Slowinski vs. Hiromi Amada R1 1:50
James Phillips vs. Zabit Samedov 3R
K-1 YOUTH Special Fight: Hiroya vs. Roy Tan 3R
Bjorn Bregy vs. Magomed Magomedov R2 2:12
Paul Slowinski vs. Zabit Samedov R1 3:00
Super Fight: Junichi Sawayashiki vs. Nicolas Vermont R2 1:05
Super Fight: Peter Aerts vs. Bob Sapp R1 0:26
Final: Bjorn Bregy vs. Paul Slowinski R2 2:25
Super Heavyweight Title Match: Semmy Schilt vs. Mighty Mo 3R
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Ralek Gracie R1 3:05. Gracie was very awkward on his feet, seeming to move without regarding how his opponent might, which led to a quick headbutt. It didn’t matter though, as Gracie took Shibata down early on into the mount and used ground and pound to open up the arm bar submission. Below average match.
Middlekyu Sekai Oja Kettei Tournament Kaimakusen: Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Vitor Ribeiro R2 1:54. The first round consisted of uneventful boxing as Miyata couldn’t get the takedown, so he was largely circling away. Ribeiro took him down at the start of R2 and looked to pass to side mount on the left. While Miyata was defending the guard pass, Ribeiro got his left arm behind Miyata’s head, locking in the arm triangle choke then passing to the right to secure it for the finish. Poor match.
Alexandre Franca Nogueira vs. Shuichiro Katsumura R2 1:55. Round 1 was uneventful beyond an enthusiastic exchange where both were cut from punches before Katsumura pulled guard. In round 2, Katsumura was scrambling backwards throwing wild right hooks, but Nogueira caught him with a powerful right hook of his own for the one punch KO. Poor match.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Bernard Ackah R1 2:13. Ackah tried to prevent nonstop action by tying Manhoef up, but even that didn’t work for long. Manhoef caught him with a right hook and flipped him over with his left hand. Though Ackah was able to get back up and clinch without taking too much further punishment, Manhoef stopped Ackah’s subsequent shot and took him out with a punch combination.
Middlekyu Sekai Oja Kettei Tournament Kaimakusen: Hideo Tokoro vs. Black Mamba R1 4:47. Tokoro is one of those fighters who might lose, but is always exciting when he’s rolling around the mat as he moves so fluidly, making quick transitions and taking a lot of chances. Mamba knocked Tokoro out of the tournament in the opening round last year, so Tokoro was looking for revenge. Mamba faked a kick when Tokoro was on his knees, so Tokoro hooked his leg and rolled forward, hips clipping Mamba’s knee for a takedown into a leg lock. Mamba punched his way out and got a deep body triangle, hitting Tokoro trying to open up the rear naked choke. Tokoro stood up and did a forward roll trying to jar Mamba free, but Mamba wouldn’t release. Finally, Tokoro spun out and tried an Achilles’ tendon hold, but Mamba punched his way out again. Tokoro lost the fight here as he was never able to establish guard after his submission failed, so Mamba just wailed away on him until the stoppage. Good match.
Andre Dida vs. Artur Oumakhanov R1 1:20. Dida began landing good punches at the outset. Early in his flurry Oumakhanov tried to shoot, but he could never get hold of Dida, who would use his left hand as a stiff arm, keeping Oumakhanov at a distance while erupting with the right hand.
Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Taiei Kin 2R. Sometimes the submission fighter against the kickboxer makes for a great match, but there are also times like this where their skills simply cancel each other out. Kin would land two or three kicks then get taken down. As Kin had no ground game, his sole strategy was to hold Tamura close and wait for the standup. Tamura really needs to learn to strike on the ground, as you can spend all night looking for an opening, but if your opponent never does anything beyond hug it’s doubtful you’ll find one. Lacking any ground and pound, the damage Kin did in the brief time he was up – he welted Tamura’s lead leg badly with low kicks – took precedent. Kin was also on top in the last minute when Tamura tried jumping into an arm bar but Kin pushed him off, though Tamura probably did more damage from the bottom than he did from the top as he was actually punching. Kin won a unanimous decision. Fair match.
Middlekyu Sekai Oja Kettei Tournament Kaimakusen: Caol Uno vs. Katsuhiko Nagata 3R. A very disappointing performance from Uno, who was extremely cautious in order to avoid the Olympic silver medalist’s takedowns. Nagata showed a good right hand early, but is generally a one-dimensional striker Uno should have been able to take apart in standup. Uno could kick him, but rarely felt it was worth the risk. He had a good flurry of punches when he actually got aggressive at the end of round 1, but for the most part both were passive in standup. Uno landed a good shot here and there, but Nagata looked as though he’d sustained a far worse beating than he had due to dripping blood from the forehead. Nagata only even tried one takedown in the first two rounds, but succeeded twice in round 3, though Uno quickly reversed him into mount the second time. Uno won a unanimous decision. Average match.
K-1 Las Vegas GP Quarterfinals:
Aleksandr Pichkunov vs. Tsuyoshi Nakasako
Imani Lee vs. Rick Cheek
Patrick Barry vs. Rickard Nordstrand
Zabit Samedov vs. Esh'Chadar
Super Fight: Petr Vondracek vs. Ariel Mastov
K-1 Las Vegas GP Semifinals:
Aleksandr Pichkunov vs. Doug Viney
Patrick Barry vs. Zabit Samedov
Super Fight: Mighty Mo vs. Stephan "BLITZ" Leko
Super Fight: Ray Sefo vs. Bjorn Bregy
K-1 Las Vegas GP Final: Zabit Samedov vs. Doug Viney
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Katsuyori Shibata R1 6:20. Sakuraba got the takedown and worked for the pass, maneuvering to side mount and waiting patiently for the submission before pounding Shibata to open it up. After several nasty punches, Sakuraba tried the arm bar. Shibata turned to his side and was able to block it with a headscissors, but never improved position so Sakuraba broke free and made him submit. Switching to Hero’s is going to greatly extend Sakuraba’s career as the “big” fights are often against fellow pro wrestling alumni who are less experienced or further removed from their shooting days rather than Cro Cops and Axe Murderers. The win set Sakuraba up to face Masakatsu Funaki in Funaki’s first fight since Colosseum 2000.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Fabio Silva R1 1:00. Silva kneed Manhoef low early on, but even that didn’t slow Manhoef. Manhoef rocked him with a left/right hook combo then flurried on the ground with hammerfists for the stoppage.
Minowaman vs. Kevin Casey R2 0:42. Casey, a debuting Rickson Gracie student has a football background. He drives well with his legs, working the clinch similar to taking on the opposing blocker. Casey was more aggressive on the inside, throwing knees and working for the takedown. Minowaman initially tried for the takedown, but Casey shifted his weight and leveraged his way on top. Casey had a few more takedowns, but couldn’t keep Minowa on the ground. One time he did have back mount and was looking for the rear naked choke, but apparently not quickly or aggressively enough as the ref stood them up. After doing next to nothing in R1, Minowa engaged in a wild exchange after Casey drove him into the corner and landed a punch at the start of R2. During the flurry, Minowa dropped Casey with a right hook and flurried for the stoppage. Poor match.
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Norifumi “KID” Yamamoto 3R. Fernandez was a tough opponent for Yamamoto, as he ran from his standup when he wasn’t prepared to attack then came in with punches and/or shot. Fernandez gave up the low kick to defend the punch, but still Yamamoto was only landing sporadic single blows. The ref screwed Fernandez on a reset, as he wouldn’t give him the side position with head control he had in the ropes, instead giving him only the hand under Yamamoto’s right leg, which allowed KID to stand up immediately. Fernandes took Yamamoto right back down and had an arm bar, but Yamamoto got to his knees and punched his way out. After another lengthy position dispute which saw 4 officials in the ring they simply agreed to restart them on their feet. Fernandes landed a good overhand right, but was slammed when he charged to follow up. After early success, Yamamoto began stopping the takedown, which largely eliminated Fernandes’ offense, allowing him to control the second half of the fight. Fernandes didn’t get beat up, but he needed to submit Yamamoto and that wasn’t going to happen in standup. Yamamoto won a unanimous decision. Pretty good match.
Middlekyu Sekai Oja Kettei Tournament Junkesshosen (Middleweight World Champion Decision Tournament Semifinal): J.Z. Calvan vs. Vitor Ribeiro R1 0:35. Calvan got a bye into the semifinals for winning last year’s tournament. This was practically a second bye as Ribeiro did nothing. You know you are in trouble when you back your opponent into the ropes only to have them essentially push you down. Calvan then leaned over Ribeiro clobbering him several times for the stoppage.
Middlekyu Sekai Oja Kettei Tournament Junkesshosen: Caol Uno vs. Andre Dida 2R. Tough matchup for Uno as Dida is the superior striker and he’s difficult to get and keep down. Dida hurt Uno early with a right uppercut then jumping knee as he was trying to scramble away. Uno went into desperation shooting mode, but Dida was keeping him away with his left hand while punching with his right just as he did to Artur Oumakhanovf in the quarterfinal. Uno was smart enough to relent, simply laying on his back hoping to get guard, but Dida refused to follow him. The break allowed the doctor to check Uno’s bloody nose, a reprieve that cleared some of the cobwebs. Uno wasn’t offensive for the rest of the round, but he did put the pressure on Dida trying for the takedown then stalking him in standup. Dida looked to counter punch, but Uno was moving forward without actually throwing anything, so the middle portion of the fight stalled with neither willing to risk engaging. The match got good again midway through R2 with Uno ducking a right hook and working for the takedown. After several leverage changes, Dida came down on top, momentarily having mount, but Uno slipped around his back and established control in Dida’s half guard. After a restart Uno tried to take back mount, but Dida stood up and taunted him to engage in standup. Dida was aggressive now, opening up a cut above Uno’s right eye. Uno took Dida down into side mount, but time expired before he could try a submission. Uno did what he could, but couldn’t get enough offense in to warrant another round. Good match.
Middlekyu Sekai Oja Kettei Tournament Kesshosen: J.Z. Calvan vs. Andre Dida R1 4:48. Dida wanted to duke it out, so Calvan took him down. He worked for an arm triangle choke, but when it wasn’t there he arm barred him for the win.
Semmy Schilt vs. Paul Slowinski
Glaube Feitosa vs. Chalid “Die Faust”
Remy Bonjasky vs. Stefan Leko
Jerome Le Banner vs. Yong Soo Park
Badr Hari vs. Doug Viney
Junichi Sawayashiki vs. Yusuke Fujimoto
Peter Aerts vs. Ray Sefo
Hong-Man Choi vs. Mighty Mo
World Champion Decision Tournament Quarterfinals:
Masato vs. Buakaw Por. Pramuk 3R. Exciting, evenly matched, and hard fought battle. Pramuk was landing low kicks at will, but Masato was giving him neither the room nor the openings to bring his kicks any higher. Masato closed the distance and landed inside punches, including a number of good uppercuts. I was surprised by the lack of knees from the Thai fighter, but I think those uppercuts played a part, as it’s difficult to grab a fighter who is catching you even when you aren’t dropping your head. They didn’t shy away or back down, but Masato, who did a better job of positioning, was outpunching Pramuk. Each round was close except the first, which was actually fairly even beyond Masato knocking Buakaw down with a right straight after missing an uppercut. Though I gave them all to Masato, Pramuk was very much in the fast paced battle. Masato won a unanimous decision, sending the defending champion packing. Good match.
Artur Kyshenko vs. Mike Zambidis 4R (R1 & 2 skipped). Kyshenko had a considerable reach advantage and was able to keep Zambidis at a distance, landing strikes from the outsided. Zambidis did a good job of darting in and out though, getting his shots in. Zambidis kept trying to float in with a jumping front kick as if he were Daniel-san, telegraphing the attack so badly the Pony Express arrive quicker! Kyshenko won on one scorecard in regulation, but after a fairly uneventful extra round where he landed some and Zambidis barely landed, it was unanimous. Fair match.
Yoshihiro Sato vs. Albert Kraus 3R. Three rounds of teeing off on each other. They may not have heavyweight power, but the pace was fantastic and it’s hard to find two fighters who would find so much left in the tank to try to pull the fight out in the dramatic final round. Sato, a lanky fighter with a 4 inch height advantage over Kraus, has excellent knees, using them as most fighters use kicks except he doesn’t require distance. It’s a good thing his offense is good, as Sato doesn’t have much of a block, partly because he holds his hands too low. Sato did well in round 1 when Albert Kraus seemingly forgot he was allowed to kick. Kraus woke up in R2, throwing low kicks, mostly at the end of punch combos. He landed several good shots, particularly bobbling Sato’s head with a left hook. The fight was certainly up for grabs in round 3, and both went all out to seize victory. Kraus had Sato in bad shape, pounding him with big punches while Sato was stuck on the ropes with about a minute left, but Sato refused to go down or give up. Sato kind of beat himself by failing to play any defense similar to too many bloated heavyweights, but he showed a lot of heart and it does make for a good match. Kraus won a unanimous decision. Very good match.
Andy Souwer vs. Drago R2 1:43. Drago won a close fight round, as he was the aggressor and showed good combos. Round 2 was pretty even with sharp combos from both until Drago tried a left straight only to have Andy Souwer come over the top at the same time with an overhand right. A centimeter or two difference and it might have been Drago knocking Souwer, but while their arms grazed, Souwer’s punch connected square while Drago’s missed. Pretty good match.
World Champion Decision Tournament Semifinals:
Masato vs. Artur Kyshenko 2R 0:41. Kyshenko was backing Masato up with his punches. Though Masato landed some low kicks, Kyshenko was winning the exchanges and took a close round on 2 of the 3 cards. Masato came out more aggressively in the second round, drawing a confident Artur Kyshenko into exchanges. After both missed simultaneous punches twice, Masato landed big on the third try, KO’ing Kyshenko with a left hook. Pretty good match.
Andy Souwer vs. Albert Kraus 3R. A tight match between two former WORLD MAX champions. Andy Souwer is clearly the most patient fighter in the tournament. He doesn’t mind his opponent taking it to him in round 1, even if that means he has to win the next two rounds. Kraus controlled the opener, being more active and aggressive, but failing to do much damage as Souwer blocks really well with a tight high guard. As usual, Souwer came out much stronger in round 2, starting by landing low kicks then weaving punches around Kraus’ defense. Kraus seems to only defend against the big blows, blocking Souwer’s knees from Thai clinch and high kicks. That may work against most fighters, but Souwer has deadly accuracy on his blows of average impact. He might not knock you out, but he’ll have no trouble winning the last two rounds with his connect percentage. Kraus fought with more urgency in round 3 as it would decide the fight, but due to his precision Souwer still did enough to give him the fight. One judge did rule it a draw. Above average.
World Champion Decision Tournament Final: Masato vs. Andy Souwer 2R. The tendency to sustain an early low blow doesn’t help slow starter Andy Souwer in the first round. Masato mostly missed or was blocked, but was certainly active, and the effort had some results including sneaking a few of his trademark uppercuts through Souwer’s tough block. As the crowd simply loves Masato, anything he even came close to doing was greeted with a roar. Having paid attention to Souwer’s strategy, Masato came out fast in round 2 to keep Souwer from beginning to turn the tide as usual. Unfortunately, Masato couldn’t sustain his own pace, and as he gradually returned to his normal speed, Souwer shifted toward aggression. Souwer had more and more success with low kicks and knees to Masato’s lead leg as the round progressed. The end of the round was quite bizarre as Masato was further injured and essentially stopped fighting, though as there were only 2 or 3 seconds left it didn’t much matter. Masato had sustained hand and leg injuries in his tough match against 2006 king Pramuk, which worsened as the night went on. It’s hard to say one blow broke him, but something in his lower body tightened and went out of whack and he spent the entire 2nd intermission squatting hunched in his corner, finally calling a halt to it when it was time to start the third. Masato had enough trouble limping over to Souwer’s cornermen to congratulate them. Injuries are the nature of any one night tournament, but this one was really too bad as the second round was really good and it was more or less and even fight with one round left to decide the championship. Good match.
Minowaman vs. Min Soo Kim R1 3:46. Minowaman keeps fighting much larger fighters, giving up 57 pounds here and going on to face 390 pound Zulu and Bum Chan Kang. There were several good exchanges here. Minowaman had the advantage when he had distance due to his low kicks, but Kim is a brawler whose weight advantage allows him to really bully Minowa. Kim cuts the ring off really well, and kept pinning Minowaman in the corner and bringing the clinch knees. For some reason one of the times Minowaman was backed into the corner he dropped to his knees without shooting, eating a crushing knee that really jarred his head back. Kim began flurrying and there appeared to be a ref stop, but actually Kim was yellow carded for kneeing a downed opponent. The actual stoppage was even more bizarre as Kim landed some punches and a knee, but while Ikuhisa Minowa was getting manhandled, he didn’t appear hurt. Pretty good match.
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Min Suk Heo R2 1:31. Exciting fight with good standup exchanges. Both men landed powerful hooks, with Heo also landing several good Thai knees. Shibata is an awkward fighter, but he was competitive enough in standup. On the ground it was still a disaster as he literally has no guard; his “defense” is turning to his side and covering up while his opponent lands punch after punch until there’s a stoppage or standup. Heo should have attained the stoppage even though his ground and pound apparently wasn’t furious or powerful enough because his opponent wasn’t even fighting back. The ref eventually stood them up, where Heo again hurt Shibata with a knee. Heo backed Shibata into the corner and landed a short left hook that stunned Shibata, causing him to stop fighting back and simply cover up. Before long, Heo got an uppercut through Shibata’s block that dropped him. Good match even if somewhat weak technically due to Shibata’s inexperience.
Taiei Kin vs. Zelg “Benkei” Galesik R1 0:36. Galesik sliced Kin’s eyelid with a grazing high kick, resulting in a doctor stop. A standup fight that’s stopped without anyone landing even one solid blow should simply be a no contest.
Poai Suganuma vs. Bernard Ackah R1 3:05. An action packed match due to fast and impatient Suganuma, who had had Ackah in trouble from the get go with his relentless style. Ackah survived a rear naked choke attempt, but when he tried to sweep by pushing Suganuma’s head to the left with his right arm while turning, Suganuma arm barred him. Snoop Dog was pissed because the ref stopped the fight, but it wasn’t as if he was about to counter anytime soon. Good match.
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Dennis Kang R1 4:45. The ref felt Akiyama up before the match checking for the grease he used on the 12/31/06 Premium 2006 Dynamite!! show, but Akiyama was clear of the cream. An intense fight as it was one of those big matches you felt either could win. Both men showed a great deal of respect for their opponent’s striking, so there wasn’t really any combos. Kang landed some low kicks, but Akiyama cut his nose with a left jab. Kang appeared to be winning the first round, as he has a far more impressive standup arsenal, but Akiyama hits really hard. Akiyama backed Kang into the corner and kept faking a left straight until Kang bit, at which point Yoshihiro leveled him with a right uppercut for the KO. The Japanese were apparently so excited about Akiyama’s big win they rebroadcast the match at the end of the show instead of showing one of the short undercard bouts.
Carlos Newton vs. Shungo Oyama R2 2:42. Carlos Newton is one of the most skilled mixed martial artists, but he has to be in good enough shape to show it, which he once again wasn’t. Newton wasn’t as quick as in his heyday, and was unable to take Oyama down. The result was a boxing match. It was a good one as they were really mixing it up, throwing some heavy leather back and forth. Newton was blocking too many punches with his face, so it took Oyama less than 45 seconds to hurt him. Though Newton was unable to put Oyama on his back once he grabbed him, he was landing some good punches from close range. Oyama came back tagging Newton with some powerful hooks to hurt him a second time. Newton was now bleeding around the eyes in addition to on the cut on the bridge of his nose. He finally got Oyama down when Oyama tried to roll into a kneebar, but Oyama tried a heel hold so Newton stood up after escaping. Newton was gassed in the second round. He went low for a double leg takedown after eating a stiff jab, but Oyama dropped down on top of him and alternated uppercuts and hammerfists to bust Netwon’s face open really badly, leading to the tap out. Good match.
Dong Sik Yoon vs. Fabio Silva R1 6:12. Fabio Silva is an imitation of Wanderlei Silva before the fight, but once the bell rings he’s more like The Axe Murdered. Yoon took him down immediately and got a heel hold, but Silva slipped out. Yoon began pounding to open up passing half guard then did some more pounding to open up the arm bar. The Korean fans went nuts for Dong the entire match, and he gave them plenty to cheer for considering he had his opponent in trouble the entire fight, holding him to exactly zero offense.
K-1 WORLD GP 2007 IN SEOUL FINAL 16 9/29/07 Seoul, Korea Olympic Gymnasium 1
Badr Hari vs. Doug Viney R2 1:23. Viney was the early aggressor, but Hari was beating him to the punch. Hari used his left jab to set up the right low kick. Viney tried a left low kick, but Hari flattened him with a right cross for the spectacular jaw breaking KO.
Semmy Schilt vs. Paul Slowinski R1 2:26. Ernesto Hoost protege Slowinski began as the aggressor, trying to close the distance to negate Schilt’s reach. Before long the fight reverted to typical Schilt, with the giant using his massive reach to keep his opponent almost out of striking distance then back up a step or two to avoid their strikes. Schilt backed Slowinski into the ropes with a low kick and feint then delivered a crushing left high knee for the KO. Slowinski wanted to continued despite his crushed nose. He was up in time, but not sturdy enough to beat the count.
Remy Bonjasky vs. Stefan “Blitz” Leko R1 2:50. Both men threw hard and fast from the get go. Leko blocked Bonjasky’s knees and kicks and answered with punches. The turning point came when Bonjaski began landing low kicks. He brought one high, but Leko wasn’t phased, continuing to fire back with body blows. However, Bonjasky bashed him with a flying knee for the KO. Leko was up by 5, but much to his chagrin the ref deemed him not ready to fight. K-1 soon admitted it was a bad call. Exciting fight.
Glaube Feitosa vs. Chalid “Die Faust” 3:04 of 3R shown. The Fist, as Chalid’s nickname translates to, comes forward swinging away for as many rounds as the fight lasts. Although predictable due to only having relentless attack mode and doing so solely with punches, he’s usually a bit more effective. He was out due to breaking his hand in a loss to Ernesto Hoost at the WORLD GP 2006 FINAL on 12/2/06 and then couldn’t secure a visa in time to fight Mighty Mo on 8/11/07, so this wound up being his first fight of the year. The inactivity left him rusty and counter striker Feitosa knew what he was going to do, so it wasn’t a great combination though Chalid hung in there and came on as the bout progressed. Feitosa is a very efficient fighter, not the world’s most active, but he punches around or through the block and is deadly countering with kicks and knees. An extremely calm fighter who goes about business, Feitosa blocked Chalid’s punches then countered with kicks and knees. Faust hits hard enough to do some damage even when he’s getting blocked, and might even have won a decision on activity and aggression if not for the knockdowns he fell prey to in round 1. The first knockdown where Feitosa countered a right hand with a knee to the chin was spectacular. The second knockdown appeared as though Die Faust just collapsed about 5 seconds after a low kick, but the replay revealed a subsequent short left straight did him in. Chalid had his moments in the second and third, turning it into a tough grinding contest. Feitosa won a unanimous decision. Good match.
Jerome Le Banner vs. Yong Soo Park R1 1:54. Le Banner’s knee surgery healed much sooner than expected, allowing him to return in time to enter the Grand Prix despite having lost his only bout of the year to Junichi Sawayashiki on 3/4/07. Park was a late replacement for chosen tomato can Ruslan Karaev. He tried a series of high kicks, but Le Banner was having none of it. Park was circling backwards but stopped to try a low kick only to be clobbered with a right hook for the KO.
Junichi Sawayashiki vs. Yusuke Fujimoto 4:21 of R3 1:34 shown. Fujimoto fought confidently early, swinging away with wide power punches. He broke Sawayashiki’s nose with a punch in the first round, so it was more or less leaking blood for the remainder of the contest. It was all downhill for Fujimoto from there though, as when you are falling down even when you are attacking, you quickly become a stumblebum. Fujimoto just got way out of control to the point of looking uncoordinated, turning it into an ugly match. Sawayashiki had a good tight guard, protecting his head and answering with body knees. One of these knees knocked Fujimoto down, though it appeared to be more of a slip. Fujimoto was cut on his right eyebrow, with the blood dripping into his eye. The pinnacle of Fujimoto’s wildness saw him wind up turned sideways after whiffing on one of his looping punches, leaving him prone to a right high kick. Sawayashiki followed with a left hook for another knockdown. Sawayashiki kept bringing body knees, but Fujimoto fought his heart out. Unfortunately, he was called for another questionable down when he tumbled after a low knee. Fujimoto went down awkwardly again, reaching for a left hook after Sawayashiki countered a lunging right hand with a right kick. This one would have been ruled a slip if Fujimoto made it back to his feet quicker. Sawayashiki followed with a body knee. Fujimoto avoided his hook, but Sawayashiki nudged him over with a low kick for the three knockdown rule KO.
Peter Aerts vs. Ray Sefo 2:08 of 1R shown. Sefo said he’d been sick for two weeks, sporting a 38C fever. He certainly didn’t fight as though he were right, when he even fought at all. Aerts once again showed he’s a lumberjack and he’s okay, coasting to his record 15th Grand Prix Final by picking Sefo apart with high punch, low kick combos. Sefo might defend the punch, but the low kick was getting him every time. Sefo tried to punch early, but by the middle of round 1 he was simply a punching bag. Aerts low kick onslaught hobbled Sefo, who shifted to survival mode. He’d pretty well given up by the end of the round, and his corner sealed the deal by throwing the towel in before the start of the second.
Hong Man Choi vs. Mighty Mo 2:31 of 3R shown. The rematch from 3/4/07 when Mo scored a second round KO was a boring awkward snoozer. Choi moves even more laboriously than Mighty Slo-Mo. Round 1 was mostly backing away from the opponent’s offense. The crucial point was Mo taking stooping over in pain following an inside leg kick that was clearly a low blow to everyone but the ref, who began a standing 8 count, thus refusing Mo his deserved recovery time. To show how bad the call was, even Choi’s own Korean fans protested with boos. Mo was the aggressor in the fight, but the shady down was the difference, as the hometown hero was only able to secure two judges (to none) in spite of it.
K-1 WORLD GP 2007 FINAL 12/8/07 Kanagawa Yokohama Arena
Opening Fight: Takashi Tachikawa vs. Ki Min Kim R1 1:21. Tachikawa showed good counters, blocking Kim’s attacks then firing back with punches or low kicks. Tachikawa dropped Kim with a low kick to the thigh, which didn’t appear to be a finishing blow, but Kim made no attempt to get up.
Reserve Fight: Paul Slowinski vs. Mighty Mo R2 0:50. Slowinski was a late replacement for Ray Sefo, who was cut in training. The low kick expert certainly presents a far more difficult matchup for the out of shape fighter who refuses to learn to check them than Sefo would as, similar to Mo, Sugarfoot prefers to slug it out with his fists. Slowinski looked great when Mo fought passively, using his reach advantage to clip Mo with the leg kick from the outside. Slowinski had trouble when Mo bounced in to close the distance, connecting with an overhand right and left hook. Mo’s confidence rose with a good left hook, leading to a sharp hook combo that should have been a down, but instead the ref inexplicably gave Slowinski a break without any penalty. Slowinski was cut near the eye, which may have prevented him from continuing were he to get the call. Slowinski clipped Mo low, but unlike his 9/29/07 WORLD GP IN SEOUL FINAL 16 match against Hong Man Choi, the ref acknowledged the foul. Mo won round 1, but when you refuse to address the leg kicks you are quickly transformed into Slo-Mo. Slowinski’s low kicks early in round 2 were making Mo grimace, and Mo quickly folded.
K-1 WORLD GP FINAL Quarterfinals:
Jerome Le Banner vs. Hong Man Choi 3R. The basic purpose of big stiffs such as Hong Man is it’s exciting when the fighters with actual skill take them out. The crowd was almost 100% behind Le Banner, who fought one of the best fights of his career, using his speed to dart in, land and escape. Le Banner didn’t allow Choi to use his size or weight to his advantage, displaying superb footwork and consistently getting off first, bobbing out of harms way when Choi did manage to throw. Le Banner was extremely accurate as he wasn’t simply swinging for the fences, instead showing patience and landing several low kicks and straights to the body while withstanding no damage. Choi plodded forward and began landing some good straight punches in the later stages of round 2, but for the most part looked like the big slow awkward goofball he is. Choi tried to get Le Banner to brawl with him in R3 as he knew he needed a knockdown. Le Banner obliged, taking a big knee and left hand but coming back with powerful hooks. Le Banner wasn’t doing himself any favors exchanging as he had two more fights to win, but he was too quick for the big man who progressively slowed, winning all three rounds. Good match.
Semmy Schilt vs. Glaube Feitosa 3R. The problem with the big stiffs is when one of them actually learns to fight efficiently, your finals go from their traditional home at the Tokyo Dome to the ¼ as large Yokohama Arena. Schilt knows how to use his size to secure boring decisions, using his left jab and front kicks to keep you out of striking distance and kneeing you as soon as you get inside. Later, he cuts off the ring and brings his big knees when you are stuck in the ropes. Schilt has been Feitosa’s nemesis, knocking him out of the WORLD GP 2005 in OSAKA –FINAL ELIMINATION- on 9/23/05 then when Feitosa got back in as a reserve beating him in the WORLD GP 2005 in TOKYO -FINAL- on 11/19/05. Feitosa’s footwork wasn’t nearly up to the standard Le Banner showed in the previous match, finding himself against the ropes all too often, which is where Schilt can knock you out. Schilt was a different kickboxer here, fighting confidently and aggressively, looking to close the gap and bringing spinning kicks including connecting with a spinning hook kick. Feitosa nearly brought the house down when he wobbled Schilt with his Brazilian kick to the face in the 2nd, but Schilt stayed up with the assistance of the ropes and recovered quickly as it wasn’t to the neck where Feitosa intended. Schilt regained control with his knees, but Feitosa was at least even in round 2 due to the near knockdown. Schilt took the first and third rounds, controlling position and racked up points with his jab. Feitosa was always competitive if not a threat, landing several low kicks and blocking most of Schilt’s knees, but he relied too much on single kicks rather than adding power punches to the equation. Good match.
Remy Bonjasky vs. Badr Hari 3R. “Bad Boy” Badr riled “The Flying Gentleman” up by trying to deny him his two WORLD GP Championships. Granted Bonjasky only had to defeat Musashi in those finals, but Musashi is as good as anyone Hari has managed to beat, which includes exactly zero fighters in this year’s Final 8. A good technical match where Hari fought as though he wanted it more, certainly being the more active fighter. Hari showed a more diverse attack, with Bonjasky seeming rather hesitant to counter as he normally does and potentially giving away close rounds through lack of aggression. Bonjasky’s block is as good as they come, so he wasn’t sustaining much damage, and his low kicks were scoring. Hari wasn’t checking the low kicks, which shut Hari down in the third. The real Bonjasky showed up for that round, countering off the block. Hari was wincing and limping from the leg sweeps, but tried to keep the pressure on despite being blown up, showing a burst of energy in the final seconds. I had round 1 going to Hari, round 2 even, and round 3 a clear win for Bonjasky. They really needed the extra round, as Bonjasky certainly hadn’t eliminated doubt about his victory, though with the condition Hari was in it’s hard to envision him doing much in overtime. In any case, Bonjasky won a majority decision in regulation. Good match.
Peter Aerts vs. Junichi Sawayashiki R1 1:29. “The Japanese Supernova” Sawayashiki is the new native sensation, going from the opening fight in his K-1 debut on the 12/2/06 WORLD GP 2006 in TOKYO to the GP FINAL by virtue of winning all 5 of his K-1 matches. He was completely out of his depth with his childhood idol Aerts though. “The Dutch Lumberjack” chopped Sawayashiki down in no time, coming out with a few low kicks then dropping him with a high kick 20 seconds into the fight. Aerts opened up with big kicks, and though Sawayashiki momentarily settled in after clinching, he wasn’t able to get any offense off and soon fell prey to a right cross. This was the type of 1st fight Aerts needs to have a chance of winning the tournament, as since he reached his 30’s the toll of trying to come back for a second or third fight is the primary thing that does him in.
K-1 WORLD GP FINAL Semifinals:
Jerome Le Banner vs. Semmy Schilt R2 1:02. The fans were 99.9% for Le Banner, with Schilt getting zero positive reaction. Le Banner looked sharp again, backing the big man up by getting inside and landing power punches. Schilt reverted to typical form, trying to get by on the jab and front kick, and generally looked intimidated. Schilt did come on late in the first round, connecting with the jab when Le Banner tried to rush in. He tried to steal the round landing a big knee and following with a punch combo, but the judges weren’t swayed. Unfortunately, the Le Banner of the first round literally vanished during the break. Le Banner hobbled out for the second on his surgically repaired knee. He tried to fight, but couldn’t move well. Schilt’s confidence soared, shifting to predator mode and stalking his now helpless opponent. Schilt knocked Le Banner down with a low kick to the bad knee. Le Banner got up, but the corner threw in the towel as he obviously wasn’t going to be competitive against Schilt as a gimp. A heartbreaking loss for the perennial bridesmaid, as when he was healthy he showed he had what it takes to defeat the champion.
Remy Bonjasky vs. Peter Aerts 3R. A very efficient Peter Aerts closed the distance and worked the body to evade Bonjasky’s famed high guard. Bonjasky fought almost the entire fight the way he fought the first round against Hari, way too timid and gunshy. Aerts, who clearly benefited from facing the greenhorn in the first round rather than the K-1 Heavyweight Champion, kept moving forward and keeping the pressure on. Aerts body punches and low kicks slowly took their toll, particularly the kicks which damaging Remy’s shin. Bonjasky had one good segment in round 2 after the ref gave him a wake up call with a flurry of punches against the ropes. Aerts dropped his hands, encouraging Bonjasky to take his best shot, and though he clocked Aerts he lacks the punching power of a Le Banner or Sefo and was unable to seriously damage him. After fighting 5 tough rounds, Bonjasky looked tired in the third. A left high kick being all he had for the late flurry he needed to mount, and even though this landed he was so off balance he needed the ropes to keep him up. The match was close as Bonjasky defends so well he rarely gets hurt, but he wasn’t active enough and didn’t land anything spectacular, so there was no reason to send them out for the extra round. Pretty good match.
Super Fight: Musashi vs. David Dancrade R1 2:59. The emergence of Sawayashiki combined with Musashi’s recent loses, specifically his 3/4/07 WORLD GP 2007 in YOKOHAMA defeat by Yusuke Fujimoto, has knocked him down to the #3 native. Needing a win for Musashi, K-1 came up with Frenchman Souleimane Konata, who is 2-1 in K-1 against no names, but when he was pulled out due to injury they really lobbed Musashi a meatball with a 16-10 former French Thai boxing champion whose claim to fame is his resemblance to football superstar Thierry Henri. Dancrade had powerful kicks, but he missed consistently, and never combined a punch with a kick or a kick with a punch. Musashi looked on flatfooted trying to figure out what his unknown opponent would do then threw his best weapon, the roundhouse kick to the ribs. Dancrade blocked high, so it crushed his rib for the KO.
K-1 WORLD GP FINAL Final: Peter Aerts vs. Semmy Schilt. Schilt was looking to become the first fighter to win 3 straight WORLD GP’s, while Aerts was looking to tie Ernesto Hoost’s record of 4 WORLD GP Championships. Aerts defeated Schilt on the 3/5/06 WORLD GP 2006 in Auckland show, but lost to him in last year’s GP FINAL. Aerts came out aggressively, trying to get inside Schilt’s jab and land a big left as Ray Sefo did when he knocked Schilt down on the 3/4/07 WORLD GP 2007 in YOKOHAMA show. Schilt knocked Aerts off his feet (not a down) by sweeping the left leg, but while Aerts fell on his right knee he seemed fine. A little later Schilt landed a few of his left jabs, but when Aerts tried to counter with a right hand his left leg slipped then his right knee buckled, damaging the joint and ligament. Knowing his knee was finished, Aerts didn’t even attempt to stand on it. Schilt’s latest championship seemed a big empty given both Le Banner and Aerts were ahead of him when they suffered freak knee injuries, but you can’t call a man who has won his last 11 fights and three consecutive Grand Prix championships a fluke.
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 in standup, and there's no way Yahya is going to beat him in that realm. Yamamoto was rightfully content to never go to the ground, which makes it all the more confusing that Yahya made no attempt to take him down. Takedowns aren't exactly Yahya's strength, but he's 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, when he couldn't take the grappler down he'd simply pull guard and unleash his arsenal of sweeps. Yamamoto isn't half the fighter Beebe is, yet Yahya made no attempt 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 afformentioned with Fedor getting the submission after Hong's takedown.
MMA Rule: Kazuo Misaki vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama R1 7:48. 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.
BACK TO QUEBRADA DVDs