K-1 Dynamite! Power Of Courage 2010 review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on March 29, 2011, 2:38 AM
K-1 Dynamite!! Power Of Courage 2010
-Your hosts are Michael Schiavello and Frank Trigg. I still wonder if these guys actually get along after that odd incident where Trigg appeared to go after the Aussie on one of the DREAM shows. Anyway. Schiavello runs down the card and the first thing they discuss is Shinya Aokiís fight with Nagashima, who is apparently a cross-dressing kickboxer. The rules are one round of kickboxing and one round of MMA. Trigg and Schiavello decide to make a bet, with Trigg taking Aoki, that if Aoki wins Trigg gets to shave Schiavelloís beard, and if Aoki loses then Trigg has to wear a pink wig and lipstick. Seriously. I guess it sort of makes up for Aoki not fighting a proper MMA guy in a way. Only in Japan, motherfucker.
Massively overblown introduction follows. Seriously. I mean, you know youíre watching a Japanese NYE show when thereís a full segment to introduce the RING GIRLS. But a couple of them are GORGEOUS at least so it sort of makes up for it. They even wheel out Antonio Inoki, whoís apparently become an impressionist artist in his retirement as he wipes a HUGE paintbrush on a massive canvas. Looks like a Japanese letter but Iím Mr. Ignorant so who knows?
-And then the video package begins and it needs its own paragraph as it starts with OH HAPPY DAYS as they explain that this is the tenth NYE show in a row, obviously including the old Bom Ba Ye stuff and PRIDEís Shockwave shows. Obviously we only get still pictures of the PRIDE ones. Sakuraba is shown reminiscing over it all although Iíd be willing to bet that he doesnít remember half of it at this point. The video then runs down the whole year in DREAM and K-1 while we get hilarious clips of the fighters on the card dancing and clapping in between. Oddest bit? Josh Thomsonís dancing or Satoshi Ishiiís disturbing crotch grab.
As Ologun is entering to the ring the announcers mention Bob Sapp was supposed to be fighting in the opener but has apparently pulled out claiming heís ďlost the will to fightĒ. Ha! According to Trigg he was attempting to re-negotiate a bigger contract. Fuck that guy. And for fuckís sake, Furuki is a former baseball player. Urgh. And no explanation for this, but apparently all of the fights tonight are three five-minute rounds rather than one ten-minute round, one five-minute round. Odd.
Indeed, it is three five minute rounds if the clock is correct. And they come out and trade strikes right away with Ologun looking to land some knees from the plum clinch. Furuki forces the kickboxer into the corner in a clinch, and nothing happens. Ref breaks them up and Ologun decks him with a right hand, then Furuki starts flailing and eats another right to put him back down. Ologun on top and he lands some punches, as Furuki tries to roll and get a takedown. Furuki manages to get into top position where he punches the body, then gets to full mount. Ologun holds on to prevent any offense, but Furuki does manage to sit up to land some punches. Seconds to go and Ologun manages a reversal, dropping some punches from the top on the bell.
2nd round and Furuki comes out swinging into the clinch, but he eats a knee from the clinch. Takedown attempt from Furuki but Ologun defends it. Furuki has a bad cut on his head. They end up going down off something and Ologun winds up on top. Nice punches from the top for Ologun. Furuki looks to work for a kimura, but he takes some hard body punches. Ologun looks like heís in some trouble, but Furuki only has half-guard and canít quite get the proper leverage. He does manage to get to top position though, but still canít finish the kimura. Ologun stays calm and finally manages to pull his arm free after about a minute or so. Furuki is no Jose Canseco, thatís for sure. Nothing happens though until Furuki mounts, but gets flipped over onto his back in guard. Couple of hammer fists from Ologun but Furuki throws up a triangle and it looks sunk. Bell sounds before he can finish it though. This is actually a decent fight!
3rd round and Furuki comes out swinging again which causes Ologun to clinch. They break off and Ologun hits him with a solid body kick. Furuki tries to close the distance but he takes a couple of shots on his way into the clinch. They break and Furuki comes in swinging again, taking a left counter en route to the clinch. Ref calls a break and Furuki takes a glancing head kick before they clinch again. Ref separates them again and Ologun throws some kicks before the former baseball player clinches again. Another separation follows and Ologun throws a body kick before Furuki grabs the clinch. Less than a minute to go now. Ref is having none of the clinch and separates them again, and this time Ologun wobbles Furuki badly with a pair of right hands. Furuki goes down and Ologun gets into side mount, where he ends the fight with some strikes. Lot of blood on Furukiís face now from the eye.
Judges have it a unanimous decision for Andy Ologun. Close fight but I suspect Ologun stole the fight with the late rally in the third round. This was, surprisingly enough, perfectly acceptable MMA.
I believe this was Unoís debut at 145lbs after he bombed big time in his last UFC run, the worst moment being an absolute crushing at the hands of Gleison Tibau. Iím guessing that triggered him to drop to 145lbs as Tibau looked like he was two weight classes above the guy. Miyata has actually developed into a pretty solid fighter these days so I was actually looking forward to this one. Plus heís LITTLE FUCKING HERCULES remember? Not Richard Sandrak of course though. Miyata brings out what looks like a whole junior wrestling squad with him for his entrance. Well, might as well go the full monty for Dynamite!
First round and Miyata pushes forward before Uno sends him back with a front kick to the chest. Uno lands some good punches into the clinch and they muscle for position before breaking. Uno pushes forward into the clinch again and itís clear that Miyata is looking for a bodylock. Uno breaks off again though. High kick is blocked by Miyata but he takes a low kick and a left hand. Into the clinch again and Uno goes to work with knees to the leg. They break again and Uno lands a decent combo. They exchange some kicks before Uno pops him with a couple more punches. Looks like Uno is the better striker. Good low kick from Uno and he plays matador as Miyata lunges forward. Low single leg from Uno with seconds to go and he almost gets Miyata down, but the bell sounds there.
2nd round and Miyata opens with a heavy leg kick, returned by Uno pretty quickly. Uno rushes in but Miyata ducks and gets a takedown before transitioning to a rear waistlock. Uno works to avoid the suplex, but Miyata elevates him and hits it anyway. Beautiful. Uno works to his feet again as Schiavello pulls the big no-no and asks if Miyata is going to go Chris Benoit style! Uno manages to break before he can, however. Pair of hard inside leg kicks land for Hercules. Uno lunges forward but Miyata ducks into a double leg again and transitions to the waistlock and HITS THE SUPLEX!~! Crowd pop big time. Uno looks for a switch off his back though, but Miyata is too good for that and he ends up with the rear waistlock again. Uno tries to avoid and they end up on their feet, but this time rather than go for the suplex Miyata releases and hits a SICK left high kick on the turn. Wow. Nice combo from Miyata and he drops and gets the waistlock again, but Uno manages to turn into him to avoid the suplex. Ref calls a break to check a couple of cuts on Unoís face. Nothing major though and they restart with Miyata almost scoring a knockdown off a leg kick. Uno shoots but Miyata stuffs it and gets on top in half-guard. Uno manages to scramble to full guard, but he takes a couple of shots to the cut under the eye. Uno scrambles again but Miyata grabs a front facelock, and they come back to their feet where Miyata breaks with a knee to the gut. Uno pushes forward, but he canít get anything going and thatís the round.
3rd round and Miyata NAILS him with a leg kick again. Brutal stuff, Iím talking Manhoef on Lawler ish stuff. Insane that Miyata can do that. Takedown follows and he lands in Unoís guard. Armbar attempt from Uno is shrugged off and Miyata transitions to the rear waistlock. SICK GERMAN SUPLEX follows, almost Randleman-style, and this time he looks for the Benoit rolling Germans, but Uno fights like a motherfucker to avoid it. Uno decides to drop to his back and Miyataís happy with that, landing some hammer fists before taking the back once more. Reversal attempt from Uno but Miyata scrambles free and drills him with a right on the way out. I am super impressed by Miyata here. Double leg from Miyata, transitioned into a single and he gets Uno down again. Unoís face is bloody. He looks to scramble free but Miyata has him controlled. They come back up into the clinch and thereís two minutes remaining. Break and Miyata lands a leg kick and shoots. Uno sprawls but he canít avoid the takedown and Miyata takes the back. Uno manages to avoid the suplex, but he canít scramble free as Miyata is so fucking strong. He does manage to turn into him though. Uno comes in swinging and tries for a takedown of his own, but they fall through the ropes and the ref has to restart them. Seconds to go and Miyata goes for another takedown, but Uno almost reverses to mount. Miyata gets him down on the bell, though.
Judges all give it to Miyata. Well, first round sucked but once Miyata got going in the second it was very entertaining and uber-impressive from Miyata. I think Uno is probably done as a top level contender and this might be the last we see of him on the big stage, but Miyata could be a decent signing for the UFC if we assume FEG is indeed fucked, as heíd provide a interesting opponent for the US-based wrestling guys at 145lbs like Chad Mendes, thatís for sure.
Apparently Watanabe is a former boxing champion whoís fought in K-1 Max too. Tokoro is usually entertaining though so Iím not all that annoyed with having to watch this. Pre-fight we get the infamous clip of Tokoro KOing Pequeno Nogueira with a spinning backfist, which is still one of the coolest finishes I can remember from HEROís even if it didnít really look like Pequeno was properly KOd. And holy fuck, LOL at Watanabe entering to Lady Gaga of all things. CAUGHT IN A BAD ROMANCE motherfucker!~!
Fight begins and Watanabe comes sprinting out but Tokoro avoids and a low single puts him on his back. Reversal from Watanabe and he avoids an armbar and pulls out to stand. Low kick from Watanabe but Tokoro takes him down again and passes to side mount. Trigg basically thinks this is only a matter of time before Watanabe gets tapped. Sure enough Tokoro gets an armbar and then locks up the Chris Lytle kimura/triangle combo, but somehow he canít get it correctly and Watanabe holds out. In the end he gives up on the triangle and transitions from the kimura to a straight armbar, but Watanabe fights like mad to avoid it. Big slam from Watanabe to avoid but Tokoro transitions to the back and gets a body triangle. Another armbar attempt follows but Watanabe avoids AGAIN and Tokoro takes the back. Watanabe stands and dives backwards but that canít free him and Tokoro gets the body triangle again. Looks like he has the choke sunk, but somehow Watanabe remains in the fight. This is crazy. He rolls and ends up flattened out and why Tokoro doesnít just bomb with punches to the head I donít know. Full mount for Tokoro now and it looks like heís going for an arm triangle. James Toney Watanabe is not though and he scrambles free only to wind up under full mount again. Reversal though and Watanabe ends up standing before taunting Tokoro to a big pop. Seconds to go in the round and Tokoro charges in but walks into a left that drops him. Watanabe swings down into the guard but Tokoro almost gets an armbar. Takedown follows and thatís the round. How Watanabe survived that round I do not know.
Second round, surprisingly enough! Watanabe struts out looking to strike but Tokoro takes him down with a single leg right away. Easy pass into side mount follows. Tokoro looks to set up an armbar and then hops to full mount, and goes for the armbar. Watanabe somehow hangs on, no clue how, and he ends up pulling free and standing. Jumping ax kick attempt from Watanabe but Tokoro catches him with an upkick and then leaps onto him and takes the back. Rear naked choke looks locked in but apparently you CANíT SUBMIT WATANABE and he somehow survives. This is ludicrous. Watanabe somehow escapes to his feet again. Tokoro decides to stand for a bit and Watanabe just taunts him before he ends up tackled to the ground again. Pass to side mount from Tokoro and you guessed it, he looks for another armbar. Instead he decides to take the back and despite Watanabe trying a couple of reverse headbutts (!) like a schoolyard fight, Tokoro looks to have the choke sunk. Watanabe grits his teeth but STILL doesnít go out and it looks like weíre going to the third! Insane. Sure enough the round ends shortly after.
Third round (!) and Watanabe comes forward but Tokoro easily takes him down and takes full mount. Armbar AGAIN but Watanabe picks him up and THROWS HIS WAY OUT. Jesus this is hilarious. Ref calls time as Tokoroís thumb has come out of his glove. They restart and Tokoro hits an easy single leg and then mounts. Come on, just get this guy out of there. And itís an armbar attempt yet again before Tokoro takes the back. Watanabe tries to stand and roll free, and ends up on top in guard. Armbar attempt reverses position and puts Tokoro in side mount, and FINALLY he locks up the armbar correctly for the tapout.
Wildly entertaining fight even though it was ridiculous that Tokoro took so long to tap out a guy who had never fought an MMA fight. Donít think Iíve ever seen a guy attempt and fail on so many armbars before!
So the show subtitle is ĎPower of Courageí. Well, itís going to take some serious fucking courage from me to get through this one. Izumi is a former Olympic judoka and well, I would hate to think about the amount of hours of my life that Minowaman has wasted with his bullshit fights at this stage.
Fight begins and they circle with pretty much zero action for the first half of the round before Izumi gets a rear waistlock off a missed flurry from Minowaman and, well, nothing happens from there either. Izumi finally winds up in side mount. This is unspeakably bad. Seconds to go and Minowaman gives his back in order to stand. And NOTHING HAPPENS outside of a couple of Izumi punches. Awful round.
2nd round and Izumi gets a takedown to side mount. Aaand, nothing happens. You canít actually blame Minowaman for this either. Izumi gets to full mount and then takes the back. A few punches hurt Minowa but he manages to get to his feet in the clinch. Takedown from Izumi into full guard. Izumi works him over with punches for the rest of the round. YAWN.
3rd round and Izumi opens with a takedown to side mount. Minowaman gives his back but canít escape and Izumi lands some pretty solid shots to the head. He adds some slaps for good measure too. Izumi is like the second coming of Dan Severn minus any sort of aggression. He keeps on tapping Minowa with crap punches though and the ref decides to show mercy on the viewers and stops it.
Worst fight of 2010 I think. Well, Lentz-Winner was pretty bad, but I think this was worse because while it had a finish it was SO bad itís untrue. If I never have to see either man fight again Iíll be happy. Absolute shit.
This was Sergeiís return to MMA following a year or so in K-1, a bit of a disastrous run for him if weíre honest, particularly the fight with Singh Jaideep that saw him sliding around like a bad ice skater. Mizuno had beaten Melvin Manhoef earlier in 2010 but was thoroughly outclassed in his fight with Gegard Mousasi and even though I think Sergei is way past his prime I didnít see him having any problems with the Japanese fighter.
We get underway and Sergei stalks forward as Mizuno throws some crappy strikes that donít land. Mizuno keeps on circling but finally a right hand puts him on the skids and Kharitonov follows with another right and a knee that knocks him out cold.
Total squash but it was a brutal finish at least. No complaints from me!
This is under K-1 rules so Iím not going to bother with play-by-play. Really impressive win for Mousasi though when you consider Kyotaro is a legit, legit guy in K-1 and has some massive wins on his record like Peter Aerts, Jerome Le Banner and Gokhan Saki. I mean sure, Mousasi didnít smash him or anything but youíve still got to be impressed. With Zuffa now owning Strike Force I think Mousasi is one of the top names I want to see in the UFC in the near future.
As I mentioned earlier regarding the bet between Schiavello and Trigg, this one was one round of kickboxing, one round of MMA. Why they couldnít find a decent lightweight for Aoki to fight I donít know but THIS IS JAPAN remember. I donít have a clue if Nagashima is rated highly in K-1 Max or anything but Iím going to guess that heís a badass, given that he DRESSES AS A FUCKING WOMAN and appears to get away with it.
First round and itís kickboxing rules, so itís three minutes only. They begin and Nagashima pushes forward, but Aoki clinches and forces the ref to step in and call the break. Aoki circles on the outside and then grabs a clinch and shoves Nagashima down. Thirty seconds in and itís pretty clear that Aoki has no intention of kickboxing and is just looking to run down the clock. Leg kick from Nagashima but Aoki keeps grabbing him, even hitting a single leg at one point. Ref gives him a warning but the seconds are ticking away. Nagashima lands a left hand but Aoki grabs him in a rear waistlock. Ref breaks but they ought to stop the clock when it happens. This is bullshit. High kick misses for Aoki and he dives to the ground to waste more time. Dropkick ala pro-wrestling follows with the same result. Another kick and he goes down again before grabbing the waistlock. One minute to go and he tries a rolling heel kick and stays on the ground AGAIN. What a fucking spineless bastard. Why agree to the rules if youíre not going to actually fight within them? Aoki grabs the plum clinch which is illegal too and that runs down more time. Low kick lands for Nagashima and Aoki hits the deck on purpose. Guy is worse than Cristiano Ronaldo. Another dropkick follows. And another. Trigg calls it clever. I call it disgusting. Seconds to go and Aoki even clambers up the ropes. Bell sounds as Aoki dives again. Urgh. Announcing is hilarious at least though as neither guy wants to end up forfeiting.
Second round and Aoki looks to shoot....but dives right into a FLYING KNEE THAT KNOCKS HIM COLD!~! WORRRRRD!~!
Ha, for once Triggís call of a KO with ďOHOHOHOH NOO OHH NOOHHHH!Ē is spot on. And hey, karma came back to bite Aoki in the ass as he completely flaunted all the possible loopholes in the rules to survive the kickboxing round, only to get CRACKED as soon as the MMA round started. Fuck him, really. First round of this was awful but seeing Aoki get knocked dead makes it all worth it really.
For me this was the true main event of the show. No idea why it was only for an ĎInterimí title but like that matters anyway! Ubereem was looking to win his third title following the Strike Force Heavyweight Title as well as the K-1 Grand Prix Title that heíd won just a couple of weeks beforehand, but rather than be faced with a total tomato can like youíd expect, FEG came up with former UFC prospect Todd Duffee, who had been strangely released from his UFC contract earlier in the year with ďattitude problemsĒ supposedly the reason. I mean sure, Duffee was unproven at the top level and was taking the fight on short notice, but personally Iíd take him over all of Overeemís recent opponents in MMA (Tony Sylvester, James Thompson, Kazuyuki Fujita and Brett Rogers) and so that made it hugely intriguing to me. I was picking Overeem as itís become really difficult to pick against the guy recently, but an upset was definitely not out of the realm of possibility in my opinion anyway.
Pre-fight staredown is pretty wild as Overeem is much bigger than Duffee despite Todd being one of the most physically impressive guys in all of MMA. This fight is like Vince McMahonís dream fight in MMA really, well, either this or Overeem vs. Lesnar. Then again Duffee has more of the bodybuilder look than Brock even!
Fight begins and Duffee comes charging out and goes for a takedown. They go down for a second but Overeem pops right back up. Uppercut from Duffee and heís swinging wild. Knee answers for Overeem. Right hand and a knee back Duffee up but he swings back with a right that misses. BIG knee to the body from Overeem doubles him over though and Alistair follows with a HUGE RIGHT-LEFT that knocks Todd through the ropes. Holy shit. Fight went nineteen seconds.
Terrifying stuff. I mean sure, Duffee took the fight on late notice but come on, to blow through a guy like that is ridiculous. I know a lot of it is based on speculation at the minute as he is pretty unproven against elite-level competition in MMA, but I think Overeem is probably the main fighter I want to see face Cain Velasquez, and I think the winner of that one would definitely be the top fighter in the world right now. And thanks to Zuffa buying Strike Force that might finally become a reality! As for Duffee I still see him as a potential top ten guy in the future and the Zuffa/Strike Force buyout may well have saved his career as this loss to Strike Forceís champ wonít stop the UFC from bringing him back now they own both companies anyway.
Apparently Ishii hasnít exactly gotten over with the Japanese crowd which surprises me a bit given his big judo hero background, but I guess his MMA career hasnít exactly been impressive just yet. I still think he could do well in the future though. No clue why he was matched with K-1 legend Le Banner here though given the likelihood would just be a dull decision win for Ishii which wouldnít really endear him to the Japanese fans either. Video package shows Le Banner knocking out Don Frye and Yoshihiro Akiyama, two classic, hilarious knockouts.
Round One and both men look pretty tentative. Takedown attempt from Ishii and he manages to trip the Frenchman down pretty quickly. Butterfly guard from Le Banner, and Ishii puts himself pretty much in a triangle but obviously Le Banner doesnít know the move as he allows Ishii to pass to side mount instead. Very little happens as Le Banner manages to regain guard a couple of times, but Ishii keeps passing. Jerome turns and gives his back, and Ishii grabs a rear waistlock but the Frenchman gets to his feet. Ishii drags him back down and lands some punches before Le Banner reverses up again. Ishii keeps the clinch but the ref separates them. Takedown attempt is stuffed by Le Banner and he lands a nice short hook, but Ishii keeps pushing forward and lands a knee to the chest as Le Banner drops to avoid the takedown. Trip attempt from Ishii ends up going wildly wrong as Le Banner reverses and lands on top in half-guard. Ishii gives his back, but manages to pop out of the back door when Le Banner stands too high, and he grabs a waistlock and looks to take the Frenchman down again. They break and Le Banner pushes forward with a good knee, but Ishii fires back with a left hand. Takedown attempt is avoided by Le Banner and thatís the round.
Round Two and Ishii throws a left hook into a clinch, forcing Le Banner towards the ropes. Takedown attempt is impressively stuffed by Le Banner. Ref breaks them but Ishii closes the distance again only to eat a knee. Beautiful outside trip puts Le Banner down and Ishii stands over him with some punches. Solid hammer fists from Ishii but these arenít going to stop a guy like Le Banner. Half-guard from Le Banner but Ishii works into side mount and elbows the body. Leglock attempt from Ishii but he canít lock it in and winds up on his back in guard. Le Banner decides to stand and call Ishii up, but he looks gassed. Takedown from Ishii plants him on his back again. He goes for the leglock again and it looks like he has an Achilles hold, but he canít finish it and Le Banner gets on top and starts landing shots and the crowd are going WILD, completely behind Le Banner. Poor Ishii. Round ends in Ishiiís guard.
Round Three and Le Banner is really sucking in the wind now. Ishii circles on the outside and lands a leg kick, but he doesnít exactly look fresh himself. Left hand into a clinch from the judoka though and he forces Le Banner into the ropes. Trip takedown from Ishii and heís on top in half-guard. Hammer fists from Ishii and it looks for a second like itíll be the Izumi-Minowaman finish but thankfully Le Banner survives. Ishii goes for a kimura instead, and it looks locked up, but somehow the Frenchman manages to muscle free. Another attempt at the hold follows but he still canít get it and goes back to hammer fisting. Heís in side mount now. A third kimura attempt follows but Le Banner is still too strong and continues to hold on. Ishii manages to take the back but he canít finish from there and thatís the fight.
Judges all give it to Ishii which is definitely the right result regardless of what the Japanese fans think, as they boo the poor guy out of the building. Fuck them, too, I still think the guy is a pretty strong prospect. Not a bad fight at all really when you consider one guy is a kickboxer and the other is a relative newcomer to full-contact combat sports.
-Frank Trigg is presented with his bright pink wig and lipstick. Serves you right for having faith in that fucker Aoki, dude.
Pretty wild to finally see Sakuraba at his proper weight class, albeit about ten years too late and waaay out of his prime. Despite Zaromskis being pretty badly exposed in his Strike Force run (losses to Diaz and Cyborg and a real odd No Contest with Waachim SpiritWolf) I still thought heíd have enough to KO poor Saku, who has become a parody of his old self at this point. Poor dude has his legs wrapped up like a fucking mummy and appears to be struggling to make it to the ring even.
They begin and Zaromskis circles on the outside before they exchange front kicks. Couple of glancing shots land for Zaromskis. Straight left hand drops Sakuraba but he pops back up. Saku is bleeding already, not sure where though. Ref calls time and it looks like his right cauliflower ear has popped and thatís where the blood is coming from. Doctor checks over it and decides to let it continue. Leg kick from Sakuraba. Striking exchange continues and Zaromskis lands a body shot. Single leg attempt from Sakuraba but Zaromskis sprawls and lands....something, and the ref calls time as Saku covers his ear. Doctor takes a look and throws the fight out as apparently the ear has been TORN AWAY FROM HIS HEAD. Sick stuff. Thankfully we donít really get a close-up shot of it.
Total anticlimax but man, I guess it couldíve gone worse for Sakuraba. I mean youíd rather detach your ear from your head (and presumably get it sewn back on) than get knocked into a coma, surely? Horrible stuff.
I was surprised they didnít bring in someone higher profile for Sakurai to fight but then everyone high profile is with the UFC or Strike Force at 170lbs so itís more understandable I guess. Iím not that big on Jason High but I was giving him a fair crack at winning this one given Sakurai is the definition of washed up these days.
Round One and Sakurai opens with one of his trademark leg kicks. Couple of punches miss for Mach and then they scramble off a takedown attempt from High and Sakurai ends up on top in half-guard. Couple of elbows to the body from Mach and it looks like heís working to pass the guard. Highís open for an arm triangle too but Mach doesnít seem interested in that. This is a dull fight thus far. No action and with 1:30 to go the ref calls them up. Yellow card for High, which is naturally bullshit given Sakurai was doing nothing too. They exchange and both men land glancing blows, then Mach clinches. Trip attempt from Mach but High reverses on the way down and lands on top in guard. Good shots from the top for High and he works into half-guard. Round ends there. Dull stuff.
Round Two and High throws some shots and then looks for the takedown. Sakurai bounces off the ropes to avoid and High ends up dropping to his back to attempt a guillotine. Mach pops his head free pretty quickly and passes right into half-guard. He moves into side mount and attempts an armbar, but itís a pathetically slow attempt and High slips free and gets to top position, where he lands some good punches. Full guard from Sakurai as High looks content to pound away from there with short punches and hammer fists. Good shots land for High and that causes Sakurai to open the guard and allow High to pass to half-guard. And itís more of the same for the remainder of the round, with High fighting in and out of Machís butterfly guard and landing some shots.
Round Three and Mach comes in with a jumping knee, but High gets hold of him and forces him into the ropes. Takedown attempt from High and he gets Sakurai onto his knees. Ref calls a break and Mach throws a body kick and a right hand before avoiding a takedown and hitting a double leg into half-guard. High tries a guillotine but Mach easily slips free and begins to land some punches. He works into full mount, but High manages to buck his way free and then reverses to take top position in guard. And from there nothing happens as High works into half-guard. Ref calls them back up and High shoots again, but Mach sprawls to defend. High works a single leg though and gets Sakurai on his back. Full guard for the Japanese legend and it looks like Highís content to emulate his coach Antonio McKee and just chop away in the guard. Ref restarts them again with seconds remaining and gives Sakurai the yellow card, and Mach actually wobbles High badly with a left hand and a big knee. The knee allows High to get another takedown though and he keeps Mach down until the fight ends.
Two judges go for Jason High to give him the split decision but it was a really sucky fight with practically no highlights, and I think Sakurai is done at the top level now. Not that youíd expect anything less Ė he debuted in the mid 90ís for Godís sake Ė but really he ought to retire rather than make us sit through fights like this again. Very much doubt this gets High back into Zuffaís good books, either.
Outside of Overeem/Duffee this was the fight I was most anticipating on this card, as it was Kawajiriís chance to prove that the Japanese contingent could still compete with the top US guys at 155lbs after Shinya Aoki got crushed by Gilbert Melendez in April. Yeah, I know Aoki tapped Kawajiri out after he lost to Melendez but I donít think thatíd happen again if they rematched. I was most interested in seeing how Thomson would deal with Kawajiriís strong wrestling game, as heíd struggled in that aspect earlier in his career (vs. Clay Guida) but hadnít really had problems there recently. Entrance for Thomson is fun - Stairway To Heaven - or it would be if they hadnít looped the same few seconds OVER AND OVER.
First round and Thomson throws a lot of kicks to begin with, staying on the outside using his movement well. Kawajiri manages to get a clinch though and forces him into the ropes, then gets a nice takedown to the guard. Short hammer fists from Kawajiri and then he passes into half-guard. Little damage done by the Crusher but he works to pass the guard and then gets full mount! Canít remember seeing Thomson mounted before. He tries to work his hips free, but Kawajiri shows some tremendous skill and crosses his legs underneath to prevent the escape. Heís actually got a triangle around the legs to control him. Thomson manages to get a butterfly guard back in, but heís being controlled here. Kawajiri lands some shots from the top, nothing too damaging, but they do add up over the fight. He works into half-guard, but a hip escape puts Thomson back in full guard where he eats some more short hammer fists to close the round.
Into the 2nd and Thomson comes in with a wild superman punch-high kick combo that misses and causes him to slip. He pops up and goes for a lunging knee, but Kawajiri clinches and trips him down, right into full mount. He looks for an arm triangle and it looks pretty much sunk, as he passes out to the side too, but Thomson manages to hang on and Kawajiri steps back to full mount and ties the legs up again. Kawajiri is looking fantastic here. Thomson manages to get butterfly guard though and works up to his feet, but Kawajiri stays on him in the clinch and looks to muscle him back off his feet. He does it and gets on top in the guard again, and continues to work Thomson over with hammer fists. Kawajiriís somehow sporting a bloody nose, but heís winning this fight. Thomson tries a slick attempt at taking the back from inside the guard ala BJ Penn in the second fight with Matt Hughes, but Kawajiri manages to power free and remains on top. Couple of really good punches from Kawajiri but Thomson takes the opportunity to turn to his side and stands. Kawajiri stays on him with a rear waistlock, then delivers a BIG SLAM as Thomson turns into him. Nice! Thomson sweeps though and manages to take the back! Whoa. One hook in but Kawajiri stands and they fight over wrist control. Thomson canít quite hop onto the back and the ref calls a break. Seconds to go and Thomson lands a nice front kick to knock him back, and thatís the round.
Third and final round and Thomson comes out throwing quick combos and actually goes for his own takedown, but Kawajiri stuffs it and they end up clinched by the ropes. Good knee to the belly from Thomson and they muscle for position before Kawajiri shows some serious strength and trips the Punk down. Half-guard for Thomson as Kawajiri works hard to pass. This is a seriously technical battle on the ground. Side mount for the Crusher and he drops a couple of knees before stepping into mount. Back to side mount and then he takes the back before Thomson escapes to half-guard. Beautiful pass puts Kawajiri into side mount again. He moves into north/south and then drops some knees to the body, but Thomson hits a scramble and escapes to his feet. Good combos from Thomson and he nails Kawajiri with a hard knee to the body that puts him on the retreat, but the Crusher manages to clinch and drags him to the ground again. Arm triangle is wide open again for Kawajiri but Thomsonís got the half-guard. Kawajiri goes for it anyway and gets into side mount, but he looks too close to the ropes to turn the clock and time proves to be his enemy as the round ends. Total domination for the Crusher.
Judges have it a unanimous decision for Tatsuya Kawajiri in what was one of the best performances of his career in my opinion. He needed a strong showing here and pulled the rabbit from the hat, as not only was he able to dominate Thomson on the ground, but he never got himself into trouble in any areas and just seemed to be able to outmuscle Josh from start to finish. Should be interesting to see him fight Melendez in Strike Force as I think his game translates well to the cage, too. Not a wild fight or anything but from a technical standpoint this was awesome.
This was a rematch of the Featherweight Grand Prix finals, which saw Fernandes squeak out a close decision over Takaya in a low-end FOTYC for 2009. Bibi had gone on to beat Joachim Hansen early in 2010, while Takaya had earned a title shot by KOing Hansen in May at DREAM 14 and Chase Beebe at DREAM 16 in September. Based on very little having changed since the first fight and my never-ending bias towards Brazilian fighters, I was picking Bibi to retain. Pretty low-key main event for a Dynamite show, too, if weíre honest.
And suddenly weíre back to one ten-minute round, two five-minute rounds! Guess itís because itís a title fight.
Opening round and both men look in no rush to begin, as we get a tentative opening with a lot of circling. Two minutes gone and nothingís happened. Fernandes slips on a high kick attempt but he gets to his feet before Takaya can capitalize. Nice double leg from Bibi with about 2:30 gone and he lands in half-guard. Takaya holds on as Fernandes looks to pass. He works into full mount, but Takaya seizes the opportunity and explodes to his feet and gets free. Good inside leg kick from the challenger. Half-takedown attempt from the Brazilian is shrugged off. Halfway into the round and Bibi lands a leg kick, his first strike of the fight. Couple of glancing punches land for the champion but nothing that seems to hurt Takaya. Ref calls time with 3:30 remaining to warn both men about a lack of action. This is not like their first fight at all. Right hand lands for Takaya. Good leg kick lands for him again. Takedown attempt from Fernandes and he tries to trip the leg, but Takaya shows some solid defence and leans against the ropes to avoid. Few knees to the legs land for Bibi before the ref calls a break. Big swings miss for both men. Couple of decent strikes land for Fernandes with a few seconds to go, but nothing overly damaging. Takedown attempt from Bibi but Takaya stuffs it and thatís the round. Dull stuff. Hopefully they pick it up in the next two rounds.
2nd round and Takaya looks to have picked up the pace a bit, pressing the action with punches. Good leg kick lands again for the challenger. Bibi tries to fire back but he still isnít landing anything significant. Finally he catches a good right hand but Takaya doesnít seem hurt. Couple of leg kicks follow for Fernandes. Body kick into a takedown attempt from Bibi but Takaya stuffs it and they end up clinched in the corner. Ref calls a very quick break and Fernandes continues to swing. Good leg kick from Takaya lands and he follows with a glancing right hand. Nice takedown from Bibi but Takaya immediately works back to his feet in the corner. Knees to the legs from Bibi and the ref calls another break. Jabs from Takaya and he backs the champ up a little. Seconds to go and Takaya lunges into a takedown attempt of his own, but Bibiano blocks it and the round ends in the clinch. This sucks. Like a glorified sparring contest.
Third and final round and both men come out throwing punches that largely miss. Takedown attempt from Fernandes but Takaya sprawls practically out of the ring and the ref steps in to restart them standing. A second double leg is more successful and the Brazilian gets him down. Takaya scrambles to try to get to his feet, but Fernandes manages to grapevine the legs to keep him on the ground. Takaya gets up for a second but Bibi dumps him back down. Another escape gets him back to his feet though and Fernandes decides to pull guard. Few hammer fists get through for Takaya. Fernandes needs to do something here or heís probably going to lose this fight. Two minutes to go and Takaya really starts working with punches from the top. Armbar attempt from Bibi goes awry and Takaya gets his back for a moment before getting on top in the guard again. More punches from Takaya and Fernandes looks unable to do anything. Less than thirty seconds to go now and Takaya keeps on working with punches and hammer fists. Couple of seconds to go and Bibi tries an armbar, but itís to no avail and thatís the fight! Looks like we could have a new champion.
First judge has it for Takaya, second for Takaya, third for Takaya, and we have a new DREAM Featherweight Champion. Crowd go pretty wild as Schiavello does his best Jim Ross impression, getting emotional as Takayaís father, who apparently frowned upon his son doing MMA, is in the crowd watching. Third round was a lot better than the first two but it was still a disappointing fight overall I thought given how good their first one was. Still, massive win for Takaya even if I donít quite buy him as a tip-top guy at 145lbs, and hopefully both of these guys can find themselves under the Zuffa umbrella at some point in 2011 assuming this is probably it for DREAM.
-Announcers wrap up the card but itís so hard to take poor Trigg seriously with his bright pink wig and lipstick, fucking brilliant. And thatís that.
A show like Dynamite!! is always going to be a difficult one to rate as well, it isnít like your average MMA show, even in Japanese terms. To be honest the best comparison would be Wrestlemania, where itís overblown, thereís way too many matches and thereís always going to be a certain amount of crap, but you do expect the big fights to deliver and if they do then itís worth a thumbs up. Here there wasnít actually too much crap in the way of downright waste-of-time-fights (Izumi-Minowa, obviously) and the rest of the low card stuff was all fine, even Tokoro-Watanabe and Ologun-Furuki. The problem though is that the top fights didnít deliver hugely like youíd have hoped, even stuff that seemed great on paper like the main event. Overeem-Duffee did exactly what it said on the tin, but you canít recommend a show based on nineteen seconds, and Kawajiri-Thomson was great but wouldnít be to everyoneís tastes. Still, the showís worth a look especially if it turns out to be the last Japanese NYE MMA spectacular, and there are tons of memorable moments (the Aoki KO, for instance...) so Iíd say give it a watch, just make sure you skip the Minowa fight.
Best Fight: Kawajiri-Thomson
Worst Fight: Minowa-Izumi
Overall Rating: ***
UFC: 123-127, Fight Night 23, Versus 3
King of the Cage: Various shows