The promotion really seems to be improving each time out, recently having joined with other cage fighting promotions to form an international union, The Worldwide Cage Network, with the emphasis being on cooperation and fighter exchange.
This event once again proved that you don’t always need big name fighters to put on a great card. This was definitely the best D.O.G. event that Sherdog.com has attended, yet one couldn’t help but be struck with a feeling of déjà vu at the way the two final match-ups played out.
The main event saw American Top Team member and Ultimate Fight Night veteran Luigi Fioravanti (Pictures) make his Japanese debut against GCM poster boy Hidetaka Monma (Pictures).
At the weigh-ins a day prior to the event, Fioravanti came in a whopping 6.2 kilograms above the contracted 78-kilogram weight limit. This figure even beats D.O.G., MARS, and K-1 HERO’s perennial weight non-conformist Rani Yahira (Pictures) in terms of sheer size.
The start went well for Monma, who connected with a punch that sent the American falling backwards to the mat. The Japanese fighter then passed to side control, but was unable to capitalize on the position before Fioravanti managed to get back to his feet.
From this point, a complete reversal of fortunes occurred.
After some jousting on the feet, Fioravanti connected with a big right hand that sent Monma crashing backwards to the canvas. The American Top Team fighter followed Monma and began raining down punches from the guard.
Just as what happened to the D.O.G. veteran in his fight against Gesias Calvancanti (Pictures) in K-1 HERO’s, Monma ate too many punches on the ground and could no longer intelligently defend himself. Seeing that the Japanese fighter was badly rocked, the referee stepped in and put an end to the fight at 2:31 of the first round.
This is the second time in his last two fights that Monma has been stopped as a result of ground punches.
The other déjà vu of the evening happened in the co-main event between Fioravanti’s teammate Paul Rodriguez (Paul Rodriguez' class='LinkSilver'>Pictures) and GCM veteran Eiji Mitsuoka (Pictures).
After spending most of the first round in the clinch, the second round saw the American Top Team fighter pin Mitsuoka at the fence, looking for the takedown. Just seconds after the American’s corner shouted “watch your neck” to their fighter, Mitsuoka caught Rodriguez with a standing front choke in the exact same way that Mitsuhiro Ishida (Pictures) did to Rodriguez last April.
With the choke on, Mitsuoka leaned back, lifting the American Top Team fighter right off his feet, forcing him to tap at the 40-second mark.
Early this year, Tenshin Matsumoto, head of the well-known Japanese MMA gym SK Absolute, made an affiliation with several ex-Spetsnaz (Russian Special Forces) sambo practitioners, forming SK Absolute Russia. One of the first of this new group, Salmanov Jalil, made his Japanese debut against Wajyutsu Keisyukai Tokyo fighter Keita Nakamura (Pictures).
To say that “K-Taro” Nakamura has been on a roll since his debut in late 2003 would be an understatement. In fact, Nakamura has yet to taste defeat in 12 fights and was coming off an impressive win over No. 2-ranked Shooto middleweight Ronald Jhun (Pictures). A win here at D.O.G. could further cement a possible fight with Shooto middleweight champion Shinya Aoki (Pictures) for the title.
Nakamura had a decent armbar attempt from the bottom after a Jalil takedown, but “K-Taro” really took control when he scored a strong knee to Jalil’s head just as the Russian fighter shot in.
After securing the mount, the Japanese fighter transitioned to back-control as Jalil bridged to escape. Nakamura held on to the position and sank in the rear-naked choke for the tapout victory at the 3:50 mark of the first.
Jalil’s teammate Artur Umaknanov started off his fight against GCM veteran Takahito Iida (Pictures) with a big, pick-up slam. The Russian Sambo practitioner then proceeded to put on a grappling clinic, scoring the mount and back several times. Whilst attempting to sink in a rear-naked choke, Umaknanov often sat up to back-mount and rained down punches from behind.
Takahito survived to hear the bell to end the first round, but it was ruled by the ringside doctor that the Japanese fighter could not continue into the second, thus giving Umaknanov the TKO victory.
Perhaps the fight of the night was the grappling war between Paraestra Hachioji’s Tomonari Kanomata (Pictures) and Team Cloud’s Yasunori Kanehara (Pictures).
For two rounds these guys put on an absolute ground clinic. The transitions, reversals, submission attempts and escapes were too numerous to count. Just when it seemed like one fighter had the upper hand, the other fighter would pull off a counter or a reversal to turn the tables on the situation.
This was a really close fight, but when it was all said and done it was Kanomata who walked away with the majority decision.
Shooto and GCM veteran Wataru Miki (Pictures) connected with a great flying knee in the opening of the second round against freelance fighter Koji Yoshida (Pictures), but Yoshida was able to shake off the effects of the technique and apply a strong guillotine from the bottom that Miki really had to work hard to escape.
Yoshida scored the mount and applied an omoplata later in the round, only to see Miki escape and pass to the north-south position in the closing seconds of the fight.
The bout went to the judges and was ruled a draw.
Iranian Hossein Ojaghi put the leather to Tokyo Yellow Man’s Yoshiyuki Yoshida (Pictures) during the first three-quarters of their bout, tagging the Japanese fighter with hard right hands and very powerful high kicks.
Ojaghi wanted to keep this affair standing, often motioning to his opponent to get up. The Iranian seemed to be a kickboxer who had fairly good takedown defense and knew just enough grappling to get things back to the feet, a la an early Mirko Filipovic (Pictures).
Ojaghi pounded Yoshida until the middle of the second round, when Yoshida quickly turned the tide. Once he finally got him to the ground, Yoshida secured an armbar from the bottom, rolling it out to full extension for the submission victory at the 3:36 mark.
Freelance fighter Wataru Takahashi (Pictures) scored the submission victory via armbar over GCM veteran Takaichi Hirayama at the 4:37 mark of the first round.