KOP Featherweight Tourney: Maeda, “DJ” to Finals

By: Stephen Martinez
Jun 6, 2006
TOKYO, June 6 — Despite not being in the spotlight when Japanese and foreign fans mention top organizations from Japan, Pancrase always finds a way to deliver one or two exciting matches that save the night at the legendary Korakuen Hall.

On Tuesday, the Japanese mixed martial arts promotion began its search for the first King of Pancrase featherweight champion.

The main event of the night, and part of the four-man featherweight tournament, placed Pancrase poster boy Yoshiro Maeda (Pictures) against Killer Bee prospect Atsushi Yamamoto (Pictures) to determinate who would advance to the finals at the upcoming Pancrase show in August 27 in Yokohama.

Both fighters started cautiously, circling each other and making sure to be on distance before throw anything significant. Once both fighters found their range the fight turned into a chess game with both Maeda and Yamamoto trying to catch each other with a good punch or kick.

The first round played out largely on the feet with a brief engagement on the ground in the last minute when Maeda trapped a kick from Yamamoto and turned it into a takedown. From there the Osaka fighter landed some shot from top while Yamamoto was more comfortable defending from the bottom.

The second round started in pretty much the same fashion as the first round with both fighters circling and picking their shots, but this was soon to change as Maeda scored a big right hook followed by a front kick to sent Yamamoto back into a corner.

From there, Korakuen Hall witnessed of one of the most brutal knockouts of 2006, when in quick fashion Maeda charged forward with a flying knee that sent Yamamoto down cold from the impact.

With the win, Maeda advanced into the finals of the featherweight tournament to face someone who stopped him just three months ago.

Daiki Hata (Pictures) has established himself as a true contender and somewhat of a “Featherweight Killer” in the Japanese 141-pound division, collecting big victories over the likes of Kentaro Imaizumi (Pictures) (former No. 1 SHOOTO featherweight contender), Kenji Osawa (Pictures) (current No. 1 SHOOTO featherweight) and most recently a TKO over Yoshiro Maeda (Pictures) three months ago in Maeda’s hometown of Osaka.

“DJ” Daiki’s opponent for tonight was solid PancraseISM contender Miki Shida (Pictures), who was coming from a decision victory over Diego Sanchez (Pictures)’s teammate Damacio Page (Pictures) back at Pancrase Blow 3.

This match followed the same early line as Maeda-Yamamoto, with both fighters circling and waiting for an opening. That moment came when Shida decided to step forward with a lightning takedown.

Daiki, who is not well known for his ground game, displayed good guard defense by tying up Shida’s arms while using his legs to keeping the distance from Shida’s punches.

From there Daiki managed to reverse and punch Shida inside the guard, as well as mix standing kicks and a solid flying stomp to Shida’s body.

Early in second round action, Daiki really started to set the pace of the fight by pushing forward with punches while Shida started to show signs of fatigue after absorbing and defending Daiki’s attack. This showed most clearly when Shida started to fall due to Daiki’s punches, but without a clear knockout.

This scenario played out until 2:03 of the second round when Daiki finally nailed a left straight that put Shida down on his knees, forcing the referee to jump in and stop the action.

Both Yoshiro Maeda (Pictures) and Daiki Hata (Pictures) will meet August 27 in Yokohama to determinate the first King of Pancrase featherweight champion.

KOP Heavyweight B-Block

Kestutis Arbocius (Pictures) took merely one minute 35 seconds to score a series of knockdowns that led to a stoppage victory over Zendo Kai fighter Yasuaki Miura.

Arbocius will face Hawaiian’s Poai Suganuma (Pictures) August 27 to determinate the new King of Pancrase heavyweight champion.

Other Results

Female grappler Sayaka took a decision victory over Asuka Ito.

Daisuke Hanazawa (Pictures) and Yuji Hisamatsu (Pictures) fought to a draw.

Australia’s Anthony Netzler scored a brutal knockout over Seiji Ogura.

Naoki Seki (Pictures) fought his way to a doctor stoppage over Sotaro Yamada (Pictures).

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