I didn’t see a thread for this event, so I figured I could start one - every MMA event, taking place in Saitama Super Arena, deserves mention here, I think.
It was pretty anticlimactic, this one. Supposed to be one of the stacked cards (the final of the FW GP + LW Championship bout), it turned out to be pretty weird.
The fight I was waiting with biggest interest was my compatriot’s, Blagoi Ivanov, against PRIDE veteran Kazuyuki “Ironhead” Fujita.
Blagoi made pretty big fuss, when he beat Fedor in World Combat Sambo Championship, but he didn’t have much experience in MMA. He started the bout great, nearly TKOing Ironhead, but Fujita recovered great, grabbing a leg and taking Blagoi down. From there the fight continued, with both fighters having pretty clear strategies - Blagoi trying to stand and brawl, and Fujita trying to take the Bulgarian down and punish him from top.
It ended with Split Decision victory for Blagoi, and even though I thought Blagoi won, it was obvious that he’s still inexperienced in MMA, and he needs time to reach his potential.
Because of that, his fight with Aleksander Emelianenko in September seems a little too early for me.
One of the fighters I really enjoy watching is Satoru Kitaoka, so his championship bout with Mizuto Hirota was another pretty cool match in Sengoku’s Ninth Battle. The fight started like every other Kitaoka fight - a little monkey dancing, lightning fast takedown so I thought, here comes the guillotine or the ankle lock, but, damn, I must say Hirota is one resilient motherfucker! He survived Kitaoka on top, got up, even got some of his own takedowns. Hirota was obviously the better striker - when Kitaoka tried to stand and bang, he was lit up frequently. In the fourth round, Kitaoka was breathing heavily with open mouth and trying desperate takedown attempts, similar to Mark Coleman’s against Shogun, after both fighters gassed. At one of this attempts, Hirota sprawled, started raining knees and hammerfists the turtled Kitaoka, and eventually the referee stopped it.
In Hirota’s last win against Ishida, there were some doubts about early stoppage, but this guy removed all doubts with his performance yesterday.
The surprising stuff continued, as the FW GP was fucking weird. First, the favorite, Hatsu Hioki, dominates Masanori Kanehara, but has to pull out because of “dizziness”, so Kanehara goes to the final.
Then Marlon Sandro fights a good fight against the black horse Michihiro Omigawa, but even though 2 judges are for draw and one is for Sandro, the bout is ruled as win for Omigawa, because of “must” decisions in favor of Omigawa from the judges that ruled it as a draw.
And in the final, to make this shit even more weird, Kanehara wins with Split Decision over Omigawa, taking to an end, what will be the strangest MMA GP in recent years (yes, even more than the Super-Hulk GP).
In one of the other bouts, the relatively unknown (at least to me) Dan Hornbuckle viciously KOed Akihiro Gono with what should be the most devastating knockout in recent months (something like Koscheck-Yoshida). Gono went for a kick, Hornbuckle caught it, and kicked Gono in the head, while Gono was moving his head down.
Gono doesn’t have the best of luck against guys named Dan - Henderson nearly killed him, Hardy won controversial decision and now Hornbuckle again nearly killed him.
Kazuo Misaki and Kazuhiro Nakamura was a pretty interesting match-up for me. Nakamura tried to strike with Misaki and one of his low kicks went to Misaki’s groin. The fight was stopped for 2 minutes and when it resumed, Misaki caught Nakamura with great flying knee. When Nakamura stood up, Misaki caught him with guillotine, and held it, until the referee stopped it, after Nakamura visibly passed out.
Overall, this event had great potential, but I thought it didn’t make up to this potential.