Photo Courtesy: FEG Inc.
SAITAMA, Japan -- In what was perhaps Shinya Aoki’s most devastating win to date, the Dream lightweight champion snapped the arm of Sengoku titleholder Mizuto Hirota at K-1 “Dynamite: The Power of Courage 2009” on Thursday before 45,606 fans at the Saitama Super Arena.
After a quick takedown and mount, Aoki pinned the Sengoku slugger’s right arm behind his back in an awkward hammerlock. He dropped several punches on Hirota before twisting the hammerlock in the opposite direction, breaking it perpendicular to Hirota’s torso and forcing referee Yuji Shimada to intervene at 2:17. An irreverent Aoki returned to his feet and flipped off the injured Hirota as he lay on the mat.
Aoki’s spite was not reserved solely for the Sengoku lightweight champion. He ran a circuit around the ring, flipping off the crowd, which had chanted Hirota’s name only moments earlier.
In the co-headliner, 2008 Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii made his long-awaited mixed martial arts debut against Hidehiko Yoshida, who won Olympic gold 17 years ago. The intended passing of the torch between the two did not go as planned, as Yoshida, 40, walked away with a unanimous decision win over the coveted 23-year-old prospect.
The more experienced Yoshida dominated Ishii on the feet in the first round, utilizing dirty boxing and knees to the face. Ishii turned in better second and third rounds, as he pawed at Yoshida with a long jab and struck with knees to the legs from in the clinch. However, one of those knees landed low, left Yoshida crippled for several minutes and nearly ended the fight. Ishii’s improvements over the last two rounds seemed too little to make up for his shellacking in the first, as the judges awarded a unanimous nod to Yoshida.
Sengoku featherweight champion Masanori Kanehara joined the growing list of fighters to upset Dream’s Norifumi Yamamoto.
Both fighters threw big punches and kicks in the first round. Yamamoto held the early advantage until a sloppy low kick allowed Kanehara to score with a takedown. Kanehara kept Yamamoto grounded in the second round, as well, after sparking him with a right hook that sent the favorite face-first to the mat. Yamamoto recovered and later dropped Kanehara with a stiff left cross in the third, though his efforts went unrewarded. Kanehara bounced back, finished out the round on his feet and traded punches with Yamamoto, winning a unanimous decision in a mild upset.
Other matchups proved far more one-sided.
Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi made quick work of a shopworn Gary Goodridge.
After an early takedown, Mousasi momentarily looked for a submission before opting to punch instead. Goodridge curled up, which the referee took to be an unacceptable form of defense. He called the bout just 94 seconds into round one, as the soon-to-be 44-year-old Goodridge, visibly angry, jumped to his feet to protest the stoppage.
Overeem, the reigning Strikeforce heavyweight champion, flattened the once iron-chinned Japanese wrestler with a massive left knee to the face from inside the clinch. A stunned Overeem then loomed over a slumped and frighteningly still Fujita, as the bout was halted 1:15 into the first round.
Dream’s Tatsuya Kawajiri, one of the world’s top five lightweights, ran a smash game on Sengoku’s Kazunori Yokota en route to a commanding unanimous decision win.
For three rounds, Kawajiri was either on Yokota’s back or pounding away at his opponent in the mount. Kawajiri, undefeated in four MMA appearances in 2009, attempted an arm-triangle choke, as well as an awkward but extended armbar in the final 10 seconds of the third. However, he could not secure the finish despite his dominance.
Controversy struck elsewhere.
Feared Dutch striker Melvin Manhoef was the recipient of a quick stoppage victory over 2006 Pride welterweight grand prix winner Kazuo Misaki.
After a tense feeling out process, Manhoef unleashed a flurry that dropped Misaki in a corner. Referee Kenichi Serizawa lunged in, despite the fact that Misaki had clearly put up his hands and legs to defend, and called the bout 1:49 into the opening round.
Akihiro Gono submitted fellow Japanese veteran Hayato "Mach" Sakurai.
After conservative counterpunching early, Gono scored a takedown in the second round and latched on a Matt Hughes-like crucifix. From there, he pounded Sakurai with punches before grabbing a far-side armbar for the tapout 3:56 into round two. It was just the third submission loss of Sakurai’s 14-year, 47-bout career.
Finally, in a battle between standout Japanese featherweights, Michihiro Omigawa put away Hiroyuki Takaya away in the first round.
Omigawa’s improved boxing allowed him to land sharp combinations in close, as he pressed forward and finally dropped Takaya with a blasting right hook to the jaw. Takaya went face-first to the mat, and though one of the ensuing punches on the ground seemed to wake him, it was too late, as referee Yoshinori Umeki halted the bout at 2:45 of the first. Takaya was hospitalized after the match for what was believed to be a fractured right orbital bone.
Hideo Tokoro def. Jong Man Kim -- Unanimous Decision
Hiroshi Izumi def. Katsuyori Shibata -- Unanimous Decision
Ikuhisa Minowa def. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou -- TKO (Punches) 3:29 R3