Barnett Submits Yoshida, Gomi Victorious
TOKYO, March 5 -- World Victory Road, the first promotion to throw
its hat in the vacuum left by the collapse of Pride, drew a near
sell-out crowd of 15,523 spectators that filled the Yoyogi Number
One Olympic stadium Wednesday to take in the debut of the new
In the headline match, dubbed as catch wrestling versus judo,
former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett (Pictures) squared off against Olympic judo
gold medalist and Japanese hero Hidehiko Yoshida (Pictures).
Barnett had warned Yoshida in his pre-bout video package. "Practice
your breakfall," he said, "cause I'm gonna throw you."
Indeed, that is exactly what Barnett proceeded to do. Just seconds
into the bout, the American fighter got behind his opponent and
pulled off a huge suplex reminiscent of the Randleman-Fedor slam at
a Pride event in 2004.
Yoshida survived the impact of the tremendous suplex, but it was
quite obvious he didn't want to go through it again. Barnett
continued to try to slam his opponent whenever he got behind him,
but the judoka wisely fell to the mat each time, nullifying
Barnett's leverage to complete the technique.
Yoshida's best chance at ending the fight came midway into the
first round. As Barnett looked to suplex him, the Japanese fighter
sank to the mat to counter the technique and caught the American in
an extremely slick transition into a rolling armbar.
Barnett was stuck in the perilous position for some time.
Eventually he resorted to going after Yoshida's ankle with his
other hand to escape from the pressure.
Yoshida also tagged his foe with some hard shots on the feet, but
Barnett's size and smothering ground control started to give him
the advantage. By the end of the second round, the judoka looked
exhausted. In the third he looked absolutely gassed, and his only
defense was to roll on the mat whenever Barnett had him in trouble.
Barnett finally sealed the deal, locking Yoshida in a kneebar and
eventually transitioning to a heel hook for the tapout.
At his post-fight news conference, Barnett said his opponent had a
hard jaw and was a very strong fighter. He had hoped to display
more catch wrestling but said Yoshida forced him to veer away from
his game plan and do more ground-and-pound than he wanted to. When
asked if he'd prefer to fight recently announced WVR additions
(Pictures) or Roger Gracie (Pictures), Barnett stated that fighting
Randleman would be like fighting a friend, and he'd prefer to take
Duane Ludwig (Pictures) had said he was excited to be
competing against the best in the world in Takanori Gomi (Pictures), but unfortunately for him and
for fans, the fight was cut short before it could really
Both fighters started out with sporadic jousting while circling the
ring. Gomi, shifting his stance between orthodox and southpaw
throughout, eventually caught his opponent with a good left hand
that knocked him to the mat momentarily. However, Gomi couldn't
capitalize on the advantage before Ludwig got back to his feet.
Ludwig, while relatively unfazed by the punch, began to bleed
heavily from a cut opened by the impact. The fighter was directed
to the doctor, and it was determined that the cut was too severe to
continue, giving Gomi the TKO at the 2:28 mark of the first.
Gomi apologized to fans afterward and said he definitely wanted to
fight Ludwig again.
Afghan-born fighter Siyar
Bahadurzada (Pictures) climbed the ranks of Shooto
Europe to take Shooto's light heavyweight title last July. For his
Sengoku debut, the Golden Glory member squared off against Pride
middleweight grand prix champion Kazuo Misaki (Pictures).
Bahadurzada looked good on his feet in this one, catching his
Grabaka-trained opponent with a good punch early. But Misaki, fresh
off a controversial no contest against Yoshihiro Akiyama
(Pictures), weathered the storm well
and eventually took the action to the mat, where he had a good
The second round saw Misaki continuing to move laterally to avoid
his opponent's punches. Bahadurzada got to his feet quickly after
being tossed and went for a single-leg takedown of his own. He
ended up trapped in a guillotine, though.
Sensing his chance, Misaki tightened up the technique, forcing
Bahadurzada to tap at 2:02.
Iron-jawed pro wrestler Kazuyuki Fujita (Pictures) and heavyweight K-1 kickboxer
Peter Graham had got into
a heated melee at the news conference the day before the event, and
the emotions were still simmering as the two fighters had an
intense staredown and jaw-jacking session in the center of the ring
before the fight.
Yet Graham, a well-decorated kickboxer making his MMA debut, didn't
have the mat experience to take on Fujita. He avoided the Japanese
fighter's first two takedown attempts, but he fell victim to the
Fujita then maintained ground control, taking both side and mount
before submitting the Australian fighter with a north-south choke
at 1:23 of the first round.
Chute Boxe's Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos displayed vicious striking
in his bout against Olympic judo gold medalist Makoto Takimoto (Pictures), tagging the Yoshida dojo fighter
with low kicks to the legs and body.
Takimoto, who seems to have an incredible propensity for absorbing
punishment and remaining relatively unaffected, weathered the
storm. In fact, he slipped most of the heavy leather that Santos
threw at him. The judoka also tied up his opponent's arms in the
guard, preventing Santos from firing down ground punches.
The end came, however, after the Brazilian fell back for a leg
submission. Takimoto defended for a while, but eventually Santos
found a heel hook and forced the Japanese fighter to tap at 4:51 of
the first round.
Kawamura (Pictures) displayed his striking prowess by
tagging Antonio Braga
Neto with some hard-charging punches. But just as impressive as
Kawamura's standup was Neto's takedowns and ground control. Every
time Neto got into trouble on his feet, he would go for a takedown
and pin Kawamura to the mat. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he
couldn't finish off his adversary while down there before Kawamura
struggled back to his feet.
This scenario played out for three rounds. By the end it was
obvious that Kawamura inflicted more damage on the feet than Neto
did on the ground, and the judges awarded him with a unanimous
Deep veteran Fabricio
Monteiro (Pictures) scored all the takedowns and
dominated on the mat against Nick Thompson (Pictures). The Brazilian fighter took side
and mount positions and made armbar, leg and ankle lock attempts.
Thompson looked sharper on his feet, throwing and landing a greater
percentage of punches and low kicks.
The judges must have been more impressed by Thompson's standup than
the onslaught unleashed by Monteiro on the ground, as they awarded
the American fighter a highly questionable unanimous decision.
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