Fighting for a title recently vacated by current Sengoku
lightweight champion Mizuto
Hirota, Hironaka chopped at Koyama with low kicks and one-twos
in the first half of round one. This set the pace of the fight
while Koyama, the 2006 lightweight Shooto rookie champ and a
product of Paraestra Matsudo, struggled to find an opportunity to
Hironaka soon shot for a takedown, securing Koyama's back in the
clinch. Though Koyama was able to extricate himself when Hironaka
released his grip to punch him in the face, the fight came to an
abrupt halt. As Koyama closed to throw a left hook, Hironaka beat
him to it with a left of his own. Koyama folded sideways and
Hironaka swarmed with hammer fists until referee Kenichi
Serizawa jumped in for the save at 4:27.
Holding championship gold for the first time in his career, an
emotional Hironaka soon took to the mic to address the two-thirds
“I turned 33 this year,” said Hironaka, a UFC and Dream veteran.
“I've been doing MMA for eight years now, and in the beginning, I
thought it was pretty easy and that I'd become a world champion in
no time. However, there are many strong fighters all over the
world, and through all kinds of ups and downs, I've finally made it
this far. It makes me happy to finally get a belt in MMA, to be
able to show proof that I earned a title during my career.”
Despite not being as stacked as prior Cage Force events, the rest
of the evening's card was likewise entertaining with eight finishes
and only two decisions.
A methodical and measured Wataru Miki
broke down Tomonori
Taniguchi over three rounds before sinking a rear-naked choke
for the submission finish. Taniguchi pushed the action from the
opening bell, and while successful in hitting the occasional
takedown or strike, Miki's counters made sure that the Mach Dojo
fighter didn't get away unscathed. Miki dropped Taniguchi in the
first two rounds with an inside elbow and cutting knee to the body,
but Taniguchi tenaciously held on until a late scramble in the
third period saw Miki taking back mount. A weathered and battered
Taniguchi could not fight off the rear-naked choke that followed,
tapping out at 4:36.
Things didn't look any better for his Mach Dojo peer, as Yasunori
Kanehara put Hiroki Kuga
away quickly in the first frame. Kuga injured his left shoulder
while defending a Kanehara takedown, giving Kanehara the
opportunity to paw at Kuga's face with repeated short right hands.
In pain, Kuga covered up and offered no resistance, prompting the
stop by referee Minoru
Toyonaga at 55 seconds in the first. Kuga was tended to by
ringside physicians immediately thereafter, leaving the cage with
his left arm in a sling.
For the first two minutes of the Wataru
Takahashi vs. Masayoshi
Ichikawa featherweight bout, “Randleman” Ichikawa was doing
very well, sparking Takahashi with two big right hooks and
ground-and-pound from riding time position. He promptly imploded
soon after, though, as Takahashi regained his bearings and reversed
to take mount, where he dropped elbows and punches before pulling
out an armbar. Trapped against the cage with nowhere to run,
Ichikawa tapped at 3:43.
Matsunaga overcame terminal shortness by doggedly pressing
Nishimura, first on the feet and eventually on the canvas.
Matsunaga dropped Nishimura with a flying high kick in the second
frame to land punches and elbows from inside guard, then followed
up with a similar third round by taking top position to ground and
pound his way to a unanimous decision.
Sugishima blasted Masato
Kobayashi onto his posterior three times over their first two
rounds, but Kobayashi held on to eke out the decision. Earning
points with a salvo of unchecked low kicks and a huge third-round
punching barrage that had Sugishima out on his feet for the final
minute, Kobayashi slid by on all three judges score cards for the
In the sole Valkyrie women's bout of the evening, Nagoya's Kyoko
Takabayashi finished Akiko Naito
within the first round, taking mount to drop punches as Naito
bucked repeatedly without escaping. Referee Serizawa called the
stop at 2:25 in the first round.