SAITAMA, Japan -- Satoru
Kitaoka and Jorge
Santiago were crowned champions after they finished their
opponents by submission at Sengoku “No Ran 2009” on Sunday before
some 18,000 fans at the Saitama Super Arena.
In the main event, Kitaoka kept true to his word, as he put away
Gomi before the former Pride Fighting Championships lightweight
king could do anything of note. Sizing up each other for a tense
moment, Kitaoka was the first to act, as he dove for a takedown.
Gomi spun out of the way to avoid the shot, but the persistent
Kitaoka made another attempt and ate a grazing hook in the
Kitaoka (24-8-9) captured an arm, however, and pulled “The Fireball
Kid” to the canvas and quickly attacked his right leg. After
spinning to defend, Gomi waved off the referee and signaled he was
in no trouble. Once Kitaoka readjusted his grip on the Achilles
lock, the story soon changed. Gomi (29-5, 1 NC) tapped out 1:41
into the first round in the quickest defeat of his career.
Gomi attempted to congratulate Kitaoka on becoming the first
Sengoku lightweight champion, only to have Kitaoka insist on a
rematch. Though Gomi attempted to deflect his request, Kitaoka was
adamant, making for a particularly awkward moment between the
Kitaoka was not the only new champion crowned.
Santiago’s quest for the Sengoku middleweight belt came to a
successful end in the co-main event, as the American Top Team
product pulled out a come-from-behind fifth-round submission
An active Misaki stayed on the outside, circled and took potshots
at the Brazilian with side kicks and spinning back kicks early.
Santiago pumped long jabs at Misaki, but the Japanese veteran
proved too evasive, as he circled, countered and built a lead with
multiple hard low kicks.
Santiago (21-7) knocked down Misaki with a second-round hook, but
the Brazilian failed to finish, and Misaki eventually had him
figured out. He picked apart Santiago with single strikes and
foiled his armbar attempts on the mat. Since Santiago relied almost
exclusively on his jab, Misaki eluded his efforts with relative
ease. As the fight progressed, it seemed as though Santiago had
nothing in his arsenal that Misaki could not dodge or counter.
Entering round five with a substantial lead, Misaki (21-9-2) was
derailed when Santiago switched tactics and scored with a big
takedown. The re-energized Brazilian postured up and landed several
heavy punches before passing to mount. Misaki surrendered his back
and gave up the rear-naked choke soon after, passing out before he
could submit. Referee Yoshinori Umeki called a halt to the action
3:26 into the final round.
Kikuta (28-6-3) appeared to take the first round, as he outpunched
and outworked the Olympic gold medalist on the ground. Yoshida
rallied in round two, however, as he exchanged positions with
Kikuta, taking the top position and dropping punches. Kikuta tied
up Yoshida’s legs and looked for submissions, but his unfazed foe
sat through the attempts.
With the bout seemingly deadlocked at a round apiece, Kikuta came
through in the final period, as he repeated his performance in
round one, maintained top position and pounded on Yoshida (8-7-1)
until the bell sounded. Judges Gen Isono and Tenshin Matsumoto
ruled in Kikuta’s favor, while Masanori Ohashi curiously sided with
“King Mo” made quick work of Yukiya Naito,
as he put away the Japanese veteran by technical knockout 3:54 into
the opening frame. Lawal (3-0) defended Naito’s high kicks, wound
up for big punches and forced Naito into a defensive shell. The
unbeaten Team Quest thoroughbred planted a huge right hand on
Naito’s face that sent his mouthpiece flying and then flurried for
the finish. As Lawal lunged in for the kill, referee Samio Kimura
intervened and saved the fallen Naito (15-5-2) from further
Elsewhere, EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio
Silva’s debut lasted barely more than a minute, as Yoshihiro
Nakao could not continue after an awkward step resulted in a
Leading on points with punches, stout middle kicks and an attempted
anaconda choke, Silva was well on his way to delivering a sound
beating against Nakao (7-2, 1 NC). After the Japanese heavyweight
swung with two wide hooks in an attempt to distract Silva (12-1) as
he circled out, he began limping and grasped his left leg. After
referee Tomoki Matsumiya was called over to check Nakao’s leg, he
waved off the match 1:42 after it began.
In other lightweight action, Sergey
Golyaev -- fresh off his upset victory against Gomi in November
-- was finished inside one round by the highly regarded Eiji
Rather than engage the Russian standing, Mitsuoka relied on his
wrestling base, took down Golyaev (12-7) and dominated in top
position. The end came when Mitsuoka (15-6-2) secured mount and
slapped Golyaev’s right arm in a figure four. As the Russian rolled
to escape, Mitsuoka pulled back on the limb and forced the tapout
4:22 into the first period.
Finally, in a surprising upset, Pride veteran Mu Bae Choi
stopped the previously undefeated Dave Herman on
a second-round TKO.
A heavy favorite, Herman (13-1) won the first round easily but was
too tired by the second to defend a mid-round surge from the
261-pound Korean. He ate two big right hands and doubled over the
ring ropes. As Choi (8-3) punched away, referee Hiromi Okamoto
stepped in on Herman’s behalf and stopped the fight 2:22 into round