Imanari Submits Another Black Belt

By: Tony Loiseleur and Stephen Martinez
Aug 17, 2008



TOKYO -- Deep’s first bantamweight championship bout between Masakazu Imanari (Pictures) and Hiroshi Umemura (Pictures) didn’t get out of the first minute Sunday at Korakuen Hall.

Imanari, known as the Ashikan Judan, lived up to his nickname by putting away the jiu-jitsu black belt at a mere 29 seconds into the Deep 37 main event. After a missed Imanari middle kick, Umemura circled back to the center of the ring, obviously not expecting Imanari to go for his usual baseball slide into a foot lock.

Once Imanari had the foot, however, Umemura’s face twisted into a grimace of pain. He tapped to the heel hook but not before sustaining considerable damage.

“Somehow I won today, but before long, I think I’ll want to fight in a place one step up from here,” Imanari told the crowd while Umemura limped out of the ring. “Please cheer me on.”

Shigeru Saeki, Deep’s corpulent captain, has stated in previous interviews that the bantamweight division in Deep was created in line with Dream’s new featherweight class, hovering between 137 and 139 pounds. With today’s comments, the expert leg locker appears to be all but announcing his participation in next year’s rumored featherweight grand prix.

Miku Matsumoto vs. Misaki TakimotoDeep women’s 106-pound champion Miku Matsumoto (Pictures) not only kept her title but also kept good to her word by knocking out long-time nemesis Misaki Takimoto (Pictures) late in the second round. Blitzing Takimoto from the opening seconds of the fight, Matsumoto showed no fear for her opponent’s karate skills. She slammed punch after punch after kick after brutal body knee to the midsection of Takimoto.

Takimoto tried in earnest in the first round to stifle Matsumoto in the clinch and on the ground, only to end up evading armbar and triangle attempts. Matsumoto’s dominance appeared to wear on both women, however. Both slowed considerably in the second round, turning the bout into a standup war.

Matsumoto pulled ahead in the exchanges after a resounding head kick left Takimoto stumbling. The next crushing blow came in the form of a hard body kick that made Takimoto cringe over in pain, followed by a second kick that dropped her for good at 4:40 for the second-round knockout.

The judges robbed Jong Man Kim (Pictures) in his bout with Pancrase standout Daiki Hata (Pictures). After three rounds of tagging “DJ Taiki” with hard left hooks and the occasional lunging right, Kim looked to be on his way to a unanimous decision. To his credit, Hata had proven that he had a solid chin, taking Kim’s best shots and not showing any sign of fading. Hata also consistently found his mark with low kicks, none of which Kim defended throughout the three rounds.

Yet it was Kim who scored consistent head shots and arguably deserved to win the fight on damage. The judges didn’t see it that way, though, ruling the bout a unanimous draw after three rounds of Kim’s standup dominance.

Ryuta Sakurai (bottom) vs. Kozo UritaDeep fan favorite Ryuta Sakurai (Pictures) steamrolled Kozo Urita (Pictures). In the opening moments, he clipped Urita with a left that sent him down on his back. From there, Sakurai grinded Urita into ineffectiveness before moving into position for an armbar at 3:22 of the first round.

Yasuhito Namekawa (Pictures) showed no love and even less respect for Claudio Silva in their 198-pound catch-weight bout. After failing to finish with a north-south choke, Namekawa went for an armbar and pulled Silva’s arm clearly beyond the point nature had intended it to go. The arm snapped, and Namekawa threw it aside 2:59 into the first round before standing up to parade around the ring.

Though he always comes to fight, the exciting Yoshihiro Tomioka (Pictures) bit off more than he could chew in Katsunori Kikuno (Pictures). Kikuno started off by blasting “Barbaro44” in the chin with a high kick followed by volleys of punch combinations. Whether on the feet, in the corner or from the guard, Kikuno hammered Tomioka with heavy hands until the referee called the fight at 2:34 of round two.

Eiji Ishikawa (Pictures) dominated Kousei Kubota (Pictures) on the feet and on the mat in their 172-pound catch-weight bout. Coming to the ring with a large bandage on his head, it looked as if Ishikawa had been injured from training. However, Ishikawa got Kubota to the ground and eventually pounded him out 55 seconds into round two.

In the last bout of the evening’s “Deep vs. Wajutsu Keishukai” attraction, Riki Fukuda (Pictures) sealed the deal for team Deep by defeating Hiroki Ozaki (Pictures) by unanimous decision. After stuffing Ozaki’s takedown attempts in both rounds, Fukuda dragged Ozaki to the mat, where he transitioned to the back to deliver the occasional rear-naked choke attempt between hard punches to the body and side of the head.

Though Seigo Inoue (Pictures) had been knocked down twice in the first round, he appeared to catch onto Koichiro Matsumoto (Pictures)’s striking game and adapt for the second round. However, when he changed levels for a takedown, Matsumoto landed a perfect uppercut to his face. Referee Yoshinori Umeki then overreacted and called the bout for an early stoppage at 1:32 of the second round.

In the only Wajutsu Keishukai win of the evening, Yusaku Tsukkumo (Pictures) latched a rear-naked choke on Yasushi Kitazaki (Pictures) at 3:04 of the first.

Shinobu Miura (Pictures) proved tougher than Luiz Andrade I’s usual opponents, not allowing Luiz to bang him out. Only one judge scored it for Andrade I, while the remaining two ruled the bout even for a majority draw after two rounds.

In the evening’s only open-weight bout, Evgeny Maximkin tapped Jun Soo Lim at 3:08 of the first round by heel hook and then said he’d like to test his skills in Dream.

All three of the evening’s Future Fight prelims ended in stoppages: Muneyuki Sato (Pictures) punched out Yuya Osugi 3:00 into the second round; Kenta Takagi pounded out Makoto Kuwawa at 1:22 of the first; and Tomohiro Ishii hammered Teppei Hori from top position for the finish at 3:46 in the first round.

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