Tony Loiseleur reports from the Saitama Super Arena near Tokyo with live play-by-play of Sengoku’s “Seventh Battle,” which is headlined by Takanori Gomi vs. Satoru Kitaoka.
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The event kicks off with the opening bout at 1 a.m. EST Sunday morning, 10 p.m. PST Saturday evening.
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Hidetada Irie vs. Minoru Kato
Irie walks straight into four slow moving punches and tries to smash Kato up against the ring post. Referee Yoshinori Umeki breaks them and upon resuming, Irie gets dropped and almost stepped on with a flying stomp. Irie gets to his feet and charges in for the body lock and gets the takedown, eventually passing to mount. After a repositioning in the center of the ring, Irie starts to throw slow punches from mount, fully postured up, but they go wide. Kato cannot break Irie’s posture and so tries to just buck him off. Irie goes to sidemount and drops hammerfists while looking for the armbar. They scramble to their feet and Irie gets the single leg TD into sidemount. Irie drops a few knees on Kato’s face and Kato tries to return the favor with a knee to the head from bottom. Irie grinding away with messy punches without really looking at where he’s hitting. Irie passes to mount again and postures up to pound. His punches are getting tied up by Kato’s feet and arms, so nothing is really getting through. Rough start for Irie, but the round goes to him, 10-9.
Kato attempts a flying middle kick, some punches, and a spinning back kick, all to graze or miss completely. Irie dives for a single and runs Kato into the corner. Kato has Irie in the guillotine, but it’s not tight, and Irie passes from half guard to mount. Irie postures up to punch, but before he can get going Umeki repositions them. Kato bucks Irie off and Irie charges back to get side mount. Irie eating knee points from Kato, underneath him, as he tries to pass back to mount. Irie gets the mount and again postures up to drop ineffectual-looking punches that Kato either blocks with his arms or feet. To remedy this, Irie pins Kato’s right arm with his knee. Kato bucks Irie off again, and Irie resumes the sidemount before passing again to full mount. Irie drops more weak-looking punches. Referee Umeki has seen enough, and calls the bout at the 4:21 mark.
Seigo Inoue vs. Maximo Blanco
Blanco flies in with a knee to cover the distance and then starts flurrying on Inoue. Inoue covers up in the corner before flying into an armbar in defense. Blanco stomps on Inoue’s head in defense of the armbar and Inoue goes limp. The fight is called at 38 seconds in. Blanco mounts a ring post and flips off of it, a la Eddie Alvarez, ecstatic at his victory.
Dave Herman vs. Mu Bae Choi
They two touch gloves and Herman takes the center of the ring. Herman springs forward with Gracie push kicks, and Choi gets pushed down by one to the belly. Choi stands and Herman engages him with the over under in the clinch. Choi powers Herman to the mat, but he isn’t there for long. Herman gets to his feet, stuck in a front headlock, but breaks free. Choi throws a big over hand and misses. Herman unloads with big punches as Choi is in the corner. Choi goes into survival mode and pulls Herman down with a single leg. Herman gets to his feet and in the ensuing scramble, gets a few good shots on Choi. Herman scores with a bunch of big knees to Choi’s face, followed by some big punches in the clinch. Choi absorbs all the damage with a grimace, unable to offer much of an offense. Herman tries to bully Herman in the clinch with more dirty boxing, scoring a nice uppercut. Herman gets tagged with a shot and then messily suplexed by Choi. Choi lands in side and attempts an Americana, but Herman easily spins out and gets to his feet, unloading punches on a Choi that’s on all fours. Herman takes Choi’s back and attempts the choke next but doesn’t sink anything. Choi reverses inside of Herman’s guard right at the bell. Both men look very tired. 10 – 9 Herman.
They touch gloves again and Herman feints a push kick. Herman is standing stock straight and Choi tags him with a big right hand. Choi plants a jab as Herman push kicks. Choi charges in and presses Herman up against the ringpost. Herman spins out and sends a parting knee to Choi upon exiting the clinch. Both men, very tired, circle each other at the center, Herman’s hands down to his waist. Herman weakly feints a low kick, lands an inside leg kick just after. Herman low kick lands. Choi tags Herman with two punches, and Herman attempts to back out and walk away, but Choi isn’t as tired as he’s letting on. Choi pursues Herman and bombs away. Herman is turned with his back to Choi, doubled over the ropes, eating punches to the side of his head. As Herman isn’t intelligently defending himself, referee Hiromi Okamoto jumps in to save Herman at 2:22.
Sergey Golyaev vs. Eiji Mitsuoka
They touch gloves and Golyaev takes the center. Mitsuoka circles, looking for an opening, staying away out of the Russian’s range. Mitsuoka locks a high kick and dives for the takedown. Golyaev attempts an awkward looking approximation of the rubber guard, punching and hammering Mitsuoka from bottom. Mitsuoka eventually kneels into Golyaev’s guard instead of pulling back and trying to pass. Golyaev ties up Mitsuoka’s arms. Mitsuoka pulls them free and stands up in Golyaev’s guard, looking to drop punches. Mitsuoka pushes Golyaev’s legs aside to pass to side momentarily, but gets sucked back into guard. Mitsuoka drops small punches as Golyaev attempts to pull out and straighten an arm. Mitsuoka uses these attempts to pick him up and drop him into the corner. Mitsuoka passes to side briefly, but Golyaev reestablishes guard. They stop the fight for a moment to fix Mitsuoka’s guard, and reposition in the center. Mitsuoka attempts a few punches before passing again to side, dropping small punches to Golyaev’s face. Mitsuoka passes to full mount and begins pursuing the armbar. Mitsuoka brings a foot up and over Golyaev’s face, figure-four-ing Golyaev’s arm in this modified armbar. Golyaev tries to spin out of it, but Mitsuoka has that arm locked tight. Though it looks as if Golyaev is about to escape, Mitsuoka falls back into the armbar and pulls back, forcing the tap at the 4:22 mark.
Antonio Silva vs. Yoshihiro Nakao
Nakao with a left body punch, and Silva tags him with a left hook. They exchange a few more punches, but they largely miss. Nakao grazes with a big kick and he shoots for the single. Silva sprawls and tries to lock up the anaconda choke, but Nakao survives and somehow extricates himself. Silva slams a big knee to the side of Nakao’s body and Nakao circles out. Silva tries to trap Nakao back into the corner, and so Nakao swings at him with two wide hooks. Silva returns the two big punches and Nakao attempts to retreat, planting on it wrong, apparently. Nakao motions to the ref then, limping on his left leg. Referee Tomoki Matsumiya calls the bout at 1:42 of the first.
Muhammed Lawal vs. Yukiya Naito
Muhammad Lawal comes to the ring with what looks like six queens this time. One of them sprinkles rose petals in his path, while one holds his umbrella. The rest dance their way before him to the ring. Mo himself has a red cape, a gold crown, and a diamond encrusted medallion that reads “KING MO” on it. Naito goes for a high kick that misses, but hits Mo’s hand. Lawal looking for an opening, misses an opening punch, evades another kick. Lawal tags with a left hook, grazes with the right. Naito lands a low kick. Naito feints a punch and lands another low kick. Mo puts up his hands and then closes with some punches that graze a ducking Naito. Lawal lands a right, and Naito retreats. Lawal lands a body right but misses the next three punches. Naito drops his hands and teases Lawal. Lawal copies him, dropping even lower. Naito low kick lands, and Lawal returns with a knee to the body. Lawal pursues with more punches, but Naito tries to cover up and backpedal. Lawal with a body punch, but doesn’t follow up. They both miss single punches. Naito with a low kick. Lawal plants a huge right on Naito’s face, sending the mouthpiece flying. Naito covers up and walks into Lawal in an attempt to close the distance. Lawal is going crazy with the punches, unloading big shots on the Japanese fighter in the corner, who drops to his side. Lawal follows him down and lands more punches before referee Samio Kimura jumps in for the save at 3:54. Lawal asks the crowd to chant “King Mo” with him. Lawal puts the mic up to referee Kimura as well, and gets two very un-enthusiastic chants from him. Kimura fights to not crack a smile.
Making a surprise appearance is 2008 judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii, fresh off his trip to the states. Clad in a UFC t-shirt, Ishii takes to the ring to address the crowd.
“Happy New Year everyone. I am the MMA Fighter, Ishii Satoshi,” says a nervous sounding Ishii to thunderous applause.
“I am very honored to be here, addressing you all today. There was a rumor the other day that a certain fighter lost at an MMA event, and people were saying it was me. That’s not true,” says Ishii, perhaps referencing Akihito Tanaka’s performance as Kinniku Mantaro at Dynamite.
“Do you folks like MMA? It’s really quite wonderful, isn’t it? I like it a lot,” stammers Ishii nervously, eliciting laughs from the crowd.
“In the future, I will fight in US, but I will return to this ring with a big souvenir for you all,” says Ishii.
“I see that the Yokozuna, Asashoryu is here today, so I’d like to fight him maybe,” he jokes with a good natured stutter.
“Please support me this year,” he closes.
Hidehiko Yoshida vs. Sanae Kikuta
Yoshida tags an inside low kick, then goes for a bi overhand right. Kikuta returns a right and forces Yoshida back. Kikuta misses a low kick, and Yoshida throws one of his own and grazes. Yoshida ducks into a body punch and lands. Kikuta attempts to tag with a one-two, and Yoshida responds with a big right. Yoshida goes for a high kick and slips. Kikuta follows him down, landing in Yoshida’s guard. Yoshida wraps up Kikuta’s arms, but eventually he gets his left free to start punching. Kikuta picks Yoshida up and drops him, allowing Yoshida to take hold of his neck to control posture. Kikuta pops out momentarily, but gets his arms tied up again. Kikuta works to pull his arms out, each time getting off a few good shots before Yoshida wraps his arms up again. Yoshida opens his guard, allowing Kikuta to stand up and drop punches to the face and body. There aren’t many however, before Yoshida grasps his wrists. Breaking the grip, Kikuta alternates between the body and head. Yoshida throws punches up from the bottom as well. Kikuta backs out of Yoshida’s guard moves to pass, but Yoshida sucks him back in. Kikuta with left hooks to the side of the head as Yoshida puts up an arm in an attempt to block. The bell goes. 10 – 9 Kikuta round.
Yoshida misses a right and instead takes the clinch. He powers Kikuta to the ground, and Kikuta tries to punch from bottom. Yoshida lunges with a big punch, and Kikuta wraps himself around Yoshida’s left leg. Yoshida looks as if he wants to escape out the ropes, but when he realizes that Kikuta doesn’t really have anything, he waits things out until referee Kimura breaks them up and brings the fight to standing. Yoshida gets a few hard punches against Kikuta in the corner, and Kikuta drops again for the leg. Yoshida sits lower, not really defending the leg, dropping punches instead. Kimura breaks them up, and again, Yoshida charges with big punches, dropping Kikuta to his back. Yoshida goes ape with the ground and pound, and though he marks Kikuta up quite a bit, he carelessly leaves a leg there for Kikuta to grab. Yoshida is unimpressed however, so he sits down on it rather than defends it. Yoshida eventually works himself free, and in the ensuing scramble, Kikuta reverses and takes the top in mount. Kimura repositions them in the center of the ring, and Yoshida wraps his arms around Kikuta’s body to keep him from posturing up. Kikuta goes for short punches to the side of the head before posturing up to drop a few at full posture. Kikuta drops back down to fire off a few more small punches at the end of the round. A back and forth round, but Sherdog.com rules it 10 – 9 for Yoshida.
Kikuta lands a low kick, misses a few punches after. A backpedalling Yoshida lands some combinations and so is able to start walking forward and punching instead. Yoshida lands a big right hand, and Kikuta turns away. Yoshida chases him down with more punches and careens into him. Yoshida attempts what looks like a botched harai goshi from the headlock Kikuta, but Kikuta springs up and takes Yoshida’s back immediately after. On Yoshida’s back, Kikuta fires off punches between attempting the rear naked choke. Yoshida eventually gives up the mount, turning over to eat punches instead. Kikuta makes his hips heavy as he loads up on the punches from mount. Kikuta postures up to land some big mean punches, and Yoshida flails from the bottom in an attempt to defend himself and get what little points he can, as this fight looks to be going to the judges. Kikuta changes his mount to an S-mount and drops heavy leather until the bell. 10 – 9 Kikuta. Judges Tenshin Matsumoto and Gen Isono rule the bout for Sanae Kikuta. Judge Masanori Ohashi sees the bout for Yoshida, however.
Sengoku Middleweight Championship
Kazuo Misaki vs. Jorge Santiago
Misaki comes charging in wit a flying knee feint. Santiago pumps two jabs to keep him at bay. Misaki goes to feinting with the left knee. Misaki goes for a low kick and eats a Santiago punch. Misaki grabs a Santiago kick, but Santiago pulls his leg out before he gets tripped. Misaki circles on the outside, looking for openings, dropping a low kick. They test each other’s jabs. Santiago misses a big right. Santiago blocks a side kick from Misaki. They trade jabs, and Misaki misses a big left hook. Misaki catches a Santiago kick and swings with a big hook, and Santiago sits down. Misaki dives into Santiago’s guard and tries to cover his mouth. Santiago pushes his hands off and Misaki postures up to drop punches before standing up out of Santriago’s guard. He tries to drop a big punch but misses, getting sucked into Santiago’s guard. They stop momentarily for referee Umeki to fix Misaki’s glove. Santiago captures Misakis’ wrists to control his arms, and Misaki tries to break free. Misaki pulls out of guard and tries to fire off a stomp, but Santiago puts him back into guard and grips his wrists. Misaki attempts to punch through however, and Misaki gets caught momentarily in the armbar. Misaki picks up and drops Santiago to escape, and then settles back into his guard. Santiago controlling the wrists, but Misaki pulls himself free to stand up out of guard. Misaki tries to get off a flying stomp but is kicked off. He lets off a leg kick right at the bell. 10 – 9 Misaki round.
Santiago takes the center again, and Misaki circles, feinting with the knee and uppercuts. It’s a tense dance as neither man wants to commit to the attack for several moments. Santiago breaks the pattern first, pressing forward with one-twos. Misaki low kicks in defense. Misaki misses a high side kick. Santiago lunges with a wide left, misses. Misaki grazes with another side kick. Misaki with a nice body left, scores. Santiago pumps two jabs and fires off a middle kick, which Misaki is expecting. He catches it, but Santiago pulls his leg out immediately. Misaki with another body shot. And Santiago gets a big right, dropping Misaki. Santiago goes to finish, and Misaki pops up and retreats. Santiago gives chase, and gets his leg caught when he kicks. Misaki presses Santiago against the ringpost and knees to the legs. Misaki attempting to get the bodylock TD, but Santiago isn’t going down. Umeki breaks them up and they get set back in the center at the last 30. Santiago lands a one-two, and Misaki returns with a big counter that backs him off. The bell goes, ringing in the end to a 10 – 9 round for Santiago, who just edges the Japanese fighter.
Misaki with the jumping feints, low kicks, and lands. Santiago reaches with his jab and grazes. Misaki attempts a jumping kick backed up against the ropes, and Santiago catches him to put him on the ground. Misaki pops right back up though, not down for long. Santiago returns to lunging with his jab, but Misaki is always just out of range. Santiago misses a big right hook. Misaki attempts another jumping knee, but barely misses. Misaki charges in with two punches, and Santiago circles out of the way. Misaki misses a jumping left hook, and Santiago lands a left, right hook. Santiago misses with a spinning backhand, and Misaki scores a hard middle kick to the body. Misaki flicks a forward kick to the body, pushing Santiago out of range to land the jab. Misaki lands another hard body shot, then a spinning back kick to the body. Santiago is jabbing, but isn’t really catching Misaki. Misaki lands a side kick, then a hard leg kick. Misaki swings with a big left hook, which Santiago ducks under. Misaki lands a hard right hook, right at the end of the round. 10 – 9 Misaki.
Santiago is chasing Misaki with his long jab again, while Misaki flicks front kicks and side kicks as he circles. Misaki misses a left, but scores with a big right. Santiago eats a leg kick after. Two more leg kicks follow. Then a fourth leg kick follows. Misaki misses a one-two, but gets a leg kick in after. Misaki apparently looking to chop Santiago down, lands a score more as Santiago tries to reach him with his jab. Misaki flies at Santiago with a missed knee, and Santiago doesn’t put up much of a counter-offensive. Santiago finally lands with a jab, but eats a spinning back kick just after. Misaki misses a left hook, scores with an inside low. Misaki gets a left hook, then a right body shot. Santiago catches a low kick finally, and trips Misaki. He sits into Misaki’s guard at the last minute and drops two hard punches. Misaki reaches up to try for the guillotine, but Santiago pops right out and pounds him with a few punches. Santiago passes to half, and as Misaki scrambles, giving up his back. Misaki scurries even more, this time giving up the arm. Santiago locks up the armbar, but Misaki escapes at the last second. The bell goes, and Misaki squeaks by 10 – 9.
Santiago is bleeding slightly from the nose. Misaki gets a low inside leg kick. He fires off another. The third, however, is checked by Santiago. Santiago puts a big jab on Misaki’s face, then eats an inside leg kick. Santiago scores with a three punch combo, eats another leg kick. Santiago weaving out of the way of Misaki’s punches, returning his long jab. Santiago closes for the one two, gets tagged by a big Misaki right. Santiago explodes into a double and puts Misaki down against the ropes, landing in half guard. They’re repositioned and Santiago pushes on Misaki’s leg to free his own so that he can pass. Misaki is persistent however and gets his legs around for full guard. Santiago pounds with a fury, then passes to mount. Misaki turns and gives up his back. Santiago sinks the choke and Misaki claws at his arms in defense. He can’t pry his arm off however, and so he goes to sleep. Referee Umeki picks up Misaki’s hand to test if he’s conscious, but it falls to the canvas like a rock. Umeki steps in to call the bout at 3:26, awarding Santiago the technical submission victory.
Jorge Santiago, at just over halfway through the fifth round, pulls it out to become Sengoku’s first middleweight champion.
Sengoku Lightweight Championship
Takanori Gomi vs. Satoru Kitaoka
Kitaoka struts to the ring, mean-mugging the camera with his most fearsome stare. Gomi enters to his usual song, “Scary,” by the Mad Capsule Markets, to thunderous applause. They dance at the center of the ring for a moment, sizing each other up. Both men have low stances. Kitaoka shoots for a single and Gomi evades like a matador. Kitaoka shoots again and gets hooked, but gets an arm. He drags Gomi to the mat and goes for Gomi’s right leg. Gomi sits on it and waves off the ref. Kitaoka changes up his grips and looks to have locked up an achilles lock. Gomi grimaces in pain and taps out. Without even breaking a sweat, Satoru Kitaoka puts the Japanese bomber away at 1:41 in the opening round to become the first Sengoku lightweight champion.