TOKYO -- Former Pride Fighting Championships lightweight
titleholder Takanori Gomi
battled through five rounds of ferocious striking against Tony Hervey
and won a unanimous decision in the Vale Tudo Japan 2009 main event
on Friday at JCB Hall.
Round one saw Gomi push the fight to the mat, where he took
Hervey’s back and fought to keep control. However, he surrendered
to Hervey’s brute strength. The King of the Cage champion created
distance with flashy but powerful kicks, as Gomi held dominance on
the mat. The second and third rounds saw more of the same. Hervey
tried to punish Gomi from a distance, while the Japanese standout
attacked the American’s mid-section with slick punching
combinations. Near the end of the third, Hervey almost relinquished
his place in the bout, as he struggled to fight off an armbar.
By round four, both men were clearly exhausted, but Hervey faired
better in the exchanges and was the slightly more active of the
two. For a time, it appeared as though he might finish Gomi with
knees and stomps, but “The Fireball Kid” proved resilient. In the
waning moments, the lightweights pressed each other to commit and
picked their shots, with Gomi eating a fewer than he landed.
Once the world’s top-ranked lightweight, Gomi has won back-to-back
fights since his submission loss to former Sengoku champion
Kitaoka in January.
The early stages of the non-title affair saw the one-time 143-pound
champion control the match with superior ground skills, but he
failed to finish. In round two, Inoue defended a takedown and
peppered his Brazilian foe with punches until Nogueira reversed the
position, punished Inoue with knees in side control and barely
missed a brutal stomp.
Round four was a major turning point for the 29-year-old Inoue,
after Nogueira took an upkick to the face and allowed him to stand.
A stiff jab brought Nogueira to the mat, where Inoue jumped in for
the finish and ended the fight with punches 2:58 into the
Freire went for the kill with pawing jabs and a series of hooks
that stunned Togashi. The Japanese fighter scored a quick
knockdown, but Willamy was quick to answer, as he launched an
onslaught of blows that broke Togashi’s nose. Togashi tried to
continue but could not, and the bout was halted 2:05 into round
In what felt like Sato’s retirement fight, Team Quest’s Cory Grant
pressured the Japanese veteran with multiple throws and glancing
head kicks. Sato avoided damage and, after a brief exchange,
exploded with a devastating Superman punch that dropped his
American counterpart. Sato followed with a quick knee to the head
and dropped heavy punches for good measure, forcing the referee to
intervene 3:20 into the match.
Elsewhere, two-time Shooto champion, Mamoru
Yamaguchi made quick work of Guam import Jesse
Taitano, as he stuffed his shot, scored with a knockdown and
finished him with punches 4:41 into the first round. Finally,
Faber stablemate Tito Jones
picked apart Tenkei Oda with
superior striking, nabbing the unanimous decision.