The first of the 2009 Japanese Featherweight Grands Prix concludes tonight at Sengoku IX in Saitama, Japan. As always, BloodyElbow.com will have live results and play-by-play, beginning at 3AM Eastern / Midnight Pacific.
Be sure to join myself and the BE Night Crew as Michihiro Omigawa tries to continue his improbable run against undefeated King of Pancrase Marlon Sandro and Masanori Kanehara attempts to unseat tournament favorite Hatsu Hioki, with the winners clashing in the evening's co-headline bout. Lightweight champion Satoru Kitaoka will defend against Shooto and Cage Force veteran Mizuto Hirota in the main event. Akihiro Gono also returns to Japan for the first time since 2006, while Sambo champion Blagoi Ivanov will make his major MMA debut.
Full card in the extended entry; results will be hidden after the jump, too, for those waiting on the HDNet replay.
August 2, 2009
Saitama Super Arena
Don Quijote presents Sengoku Gold Cup Finals
Round 1: Front and leg kicks from Nakao early. Both men wearing wrestling shoes. After a few brief clinches, "Kiss" shoots a single-leg and puts Choi on his back. The Korean works back to his feet and assumes Nakao's back standing. Nakao walks into the corner and sticks his head through the ropes. The big men keeping a predictably slow pace as Choi presses Nakao into the corner and lands punches where he can. Ref calls a stop in the action for Choi's gloves to be re-taped around the wrist. Not much action in the final minute, as Choi takes the first underwhelming round. 10-9 Choi.
Round 2: Nakao clips Choi with an overhand left and immediately changes levels, plowing Choi into the ropes. Choi tries to escape, btu Nakao takes north-south position and begins landing some knees to Choi's head. Nakao in side control landing shots, now north-south again and more knees. Choi is back up and leaning on Nakao in the corner as he did in the first round. This time, the ref is quick to break it up. Nakao lands a few leg kicks and punches, and Choi repeats the process. 10-9 Nakao.
Round 3: Nakao shoots and is shucked off, but lands a few solid leg kicks after the fact. Choi tries to return with a right kick to the body, but it's slow as molasses and Nakao takes him right down. Nakao in north-south again, more knees and looking for a guillotine which isn't happening this late in the game. No hope of this fight being finished. Nakao in half-guard, passes to Choi's right with two minutes left in the final frame. Choi rolls and gets to his knees after absorbing a minute of punches from side mount, only to be greeted by more knees. Nakao really took over the first round. Pretty easy call here. 10-9 Nakao.
Bloody Elbow scores the fight 29-28 Nakao
Yoshihiro "Kiss" Nakao (8-3, 2 NC) def. Mu Bae Choi (9-4) via Decision (Unanimous)
Round 1:Hioki snaps a slapping left high kick to Kanehara's face to start the bout. Kanehara absorbing some leg kicks early, throwing back some of his own. Hioki changes levels and takes Kanehara down with relative ease, and soon works to full mount at the edge of the ring. Hioki with the rape choke, aiming to kill from the top and trying to finish this first fight fast. Kanehara is helpless to escape from the lanky Hioki's mount and Hioki continues to punish him with punches and shoulders. Kanehara reverses and stands as Hioki attempts to swing to the side for an armbar, but Hioki slaps on a triangle and prevents a slam. Hioki latches on to Kanehara's right arm and gains top position again as Kanehara attempts to writhe free. Mount for Hioki once again with a minute left, but he can't finish as Kanehara continues to survive despite an already-swollen face. 10-9 Hioki.
Round 2: Hioki shoots in at Kanehara's waist and puts his back against the ringpost. Kanehara jumps guard and wraps himself around Hioki, but he's soon on his back and Hioki's got side control. Knees to the body and head, then Hioki moves to mount. The ref turns them outward in the corner and restarts action. Hioki alternately posturing up to pummel Kanehara, and smothering him. Kanehara finally manages to buck Hioki off, but Hioki grabs an arm and nearly finishes the twisting Kanehara. Don't know how Kanehara escapes that, but he's got Hioki's back and is looking for a choke after the scramble! Now Kanehara looking for an armbar on Hioki! But Hioki escapes and is soon back in side control. Kanehara works him back to full guard, then escapes and stands. Hioki takes his back standing and Kanehara goes to his knees. Hioki trying to sink in the RNC with 30 seconds left. It's not deep, Kanehara will live to see another lopsided round. 10-8 Hioki.
Round 3: Kanehara comes forward with combinations, wading through Hioki's rangy jabs. Kanehara cracks him with a left straight but just misses a Superman right hand; headhunting is his only hope at this point. Slapping leg kick from Kanehara - he slips and twirls awkwardly, and Hioki is all over him as he stumbles against the ropes. Hioki works the takedown but winds up on his back. Guillotine attempt by Hioki yields nothing but Kanehara gaining half-guard. Two minutes left and Kanehara is desperately trying for mount, but Hioki's doing a good job neutralizing. Couple solid right hands by Kanehara from Hioki's open guard, causing Hioki to close said guard right up. Hioki working the rubber guard with a minute left, lands a couple nice punches of his own from the bottom. Hioki considers a last minute gogoplata but Kanehara breaks free and wildly rains down shots in an attempt to finish before the bell. No such luck. Kanehara wins the last round, but won't advance to the finals. Both men look absolutely beat. 10-9 Kanehara.
Bloody Elbow scores the fight 29-27 Hioki
Hatsu Hioki (20-3-2) def. Masanori Kanehara (13-6-5) via Decision (Unanimous)
Round 1: Omigawa circles outside as Sandro throws wreckingball overhand rights. Both guys trading HARD shots in the pocket early! This looks like it's gonna be a shootout. Sandro getting inside and working Omigawa with combos, but Omigawa looks no worse for wear. Knee from the clinch seems to take the wind out of Omigawa, who clinches up and puts Sandro in a corner until the ref breaks it up. More swinging rights connecting for Sandro as Omigawa leaves his left hand completely down when he comes inside. Omigawa lands a good one of his own and ties up again. Omigawa's not keeping busy as presses his man agaisnt the ropes, trying to lure Sandro in for a trip/throw, but Sandro's not biting and Omigawa's warned by the ref. Source freezes up with a minute or less remaining in the round, but from what I saw... 10-9 Sandro.
Round 2: Missed out on this round, but here's what Tony Loiseleur had to say:
Sandro and Omigawa playing more boxing now with Sandro bouncing shots off Omigawa's head and Omigawa going for spinning kicks and such. Omigawa is hanging in there though, absorbing a flying knee and pressing in for combinations. Sandro slipping, landing his counter punches. Sandro is still piling up the damage with big three punch combinations, almost ending up in the Thai plum to land knees to the face. Omigawa goes for the Sanchin stance here because he has absolutely nothing to lose. He eats a low kick or two before lunging for a punch to the body. Sandro is still marking Omigawa up though. Omigawa charges right into a guillotine and hangs on at the last 30 seconds, elbowing Sandro's quads. Bell. 10-9 Sandro.
Round 3: Omigawa is lunging in on Sandro, throwing punches from way low. Connects with a nice left, though. Sandro shoots and is denied by the Yoshida Dojo fighter. Sandro's gone to two-punch combos now, but they're still landing. Enough for Omigawa to try to hold the Brazilian in the corner for a minute, anyway. Now he's got Sandro's back on the ropes again, and Omigawa finally manages to get him down with under a minute left. Omigawa posturing up, landing blows to the now-bloodied face of Sandro, but it may be too late. 10-9 Omigawa.
Didn't see the second round, so Bloody Elbow won't offer a decision here.
Sherdog has Sandro winning the first two rounds, but Omigawa sure seemed to think he had it at the final bell.
Michihiro Omigawa (7-7-1) def. Marlon Sandro (14-1) via Decision (Split)
Incredible! Sandro gets his first loss, and Omigawa - the one nobody expected to beat L.C. Davis in the first round - has a very strong chance of winning the finals against an equally battle-damaged Hioki.
Round 1: After landing a couple nice punches, Jung sprawls on Jaggers' double-leg and winds up in the American's closed guard. Jung trying to land shots but Jaggers is neutralizing from bottom. The ref stands them up and admonishes both fighters; Jaggers looks perplexed. Jaggers with the takedown this time, down to the Zombie's open guard but Jung is the one keeping more active from bottom with a minute left. Jung rolls Jaggers and nearly snags a limb for an armbar, but in the end remains on bottom as the round expires. 10-9 Jung.
Round 2: Jung waving and giving peace signs to audience members before the second round begins. He's soon taken down and put on his back, but once again he's the one doing damage from underneath. Jung sees an opening and quickly snares a triangle on the right side. Jaggers is forced to tap and falls down nearly unconscious as the Zombie releases the hold. Will we be seeing Jung later tonight?
Chan Sung Jung (7-1) def. Matt Jaggers (14-7) via Submission (Triangle Choke) in Round 2
Round 1: After a minute of working against the ropes, Eiji trips French to the floor. French scrambles to get out, but gets snared in a guillotine in the scramble. He picks Mitsuoka up to slam him, but taps shortly after depositing the Japanese fighter on the ground.
Eiji Mitsuoka (16-6-2) def. Clay French (17-6) via Submission (Guillotine Choke) in Round 1
Round 1: Tentative striking in the first few minutes. Gono gets inside with a couple flush right hands and lands a few kicks to the midsection of the much taller Hornbuckle. Gono still circling outside as Dan begins to find his range with two minutes left. Hornbuckle clinches and lands a few knees, Gono falls and Hornbuckle stomps his head, but is lured to the ground and into Gono's full guard (against the advice of his corner). Gono - cut on his left cheek - closes up guard with a minute left and controls Hornbuckle's wrists. 30 seconds remaining and Hornbukle is just landing shots to the body from closed guard. 10-9 Hornbuckle.
Round 2: Gono going to work with kicks and ducking under Hornbuckle's punches with combos of his own. Dan begins landing again though, and puts Gono on his back with two minutes left. Hornbuckle gets to mount but is hesitant to give Gono any space as he continues to attempt to buck and roll. 30 seconds left and it ends with Hornbuckle in mount. 10-9 Hornbuckle.
Round 3: Hornbuckle tying up Gono against the ropes, landing knees to the legs and up the gut. Ref restarts them in the center and Gono lunges forward with a right uppercut which connects. Gono tags Hornbuckle with a pair of decent rights, and the American is the one backing up now. Gono throws a slapping right leg kick which is caught, and Hornbuckle counters with a right kick of his own. His shin catches Gono flush in the grill, and the Grabaka fighter falls back unconscious immediately, head landing under the bottom rope. Minutes later, Gono is still down and unconscious, a massive laceration under his left eye. He's brought out on a stretcher through a silent Saitama Super Arena.
Dan Hornbuckle (18-2) def. Akihiro Gono (29-15-7) via KO (Head Kick) in Round 3
Update from Sherdog regarding the FWGP final:
Hatsu Hioki is announced as having a concussion and cannot continue. Thus, the featherweight grand prix final will be Michihiro Omigawa and Masanori Kanehara. A Sengoku official briefly came back stage to explain that after his fight with Masanori Kanehara, Hatsu Hioki felt numbness along with a lack of strength in his arms and legs. Suspecting a concussion, doctors have sent Hioki to the hospital.
07 - Heavyweigth Match (3R x 5 min.)
Kazuyuki Fujita (15-7 / Fujita Office) vs. Blagoi Alexandre Ivanov (1-0, 1 NC / SK Absolute Bulgaria)
Round 1: Ivanov circling, more like bunny-hopping around the outside of Fujita. Swinging away with flailing hooks, Ivanov stuns Fujita with a pair of shots, and "Ironhead" falls to the ground on his backside. Ivanov follows him down and works for a guillotine, but quickly finds himself reversed and on the underside of Fujita with one minute left in the round. Fujita tries a quick north-south choke, but Ivanov backs out and lands a couple knees from the clinch to close the opening frame. 10-9 Ivanov.
Round 2: Ivanov still swinging for the fences. Fujita ducks under and picks a single leg, winding up in side control on Ivanov's right. Ivanov gets free and back to his feet. Fujita backs Ivanov into the corner and dirty boxes him a bit. Both men swinging away with a minute remaining, both tired and Fujijta's forehead is looking jacked up, all swollen and raw. 10-9 Fujita.
Round 3: Ivanov catches Fujita in a standing guillotine, but both men are drenched in sweat and Fujita keeps loose. The ref breaks it up for the doc to look at Fujita, and the fight is allowed to continue. Ivanov spins out of a single-leg attempt by Fujita and kicks him in the face on the way up. The action has slowed to a crawl. The final 90 seconds are Fujita laying on Ivanov in side control, trying for an arm-triangle choke which it was far too late for. Fujita may have stolen it at the end but Ivanov certainly inflicted more damage throughout. 10-9 Ivanov.
Bloody Elbow scores the fight 29-28 Ivanov
Blagoi Ivanov (2-0, 1 NC) def. Kazuyuki Fujita (15-8) via Decision (Split)
Round 1: Nakamura throws a right kick which is caught by Misaki, who makes Kaz eat a right straight for the trouble. Accidental low blow on Misaki, and the Grabaka Hitman takes a few minutes to recover. Back to action, Misaki knocks Nakamura on his ass with a flying knee and chases him down. Misaki slaps on a guillotine and rolls onto his back. The ref is looking at Nakamura... and he's done! The ref shoves Misaki off and the UFC vet falls on his back, out cold. What a huge, huge win for Misaki after his recent troubles. Nakamura is dragged backstage by his Yoshida Dojo teammates, sobbing. He really wanted another shot at Jorge Santiago and the Sengoku title and it may not come for a while now.
Kazuo Misaki (22-9-2) def. Kazuhiro Nakamura (13-10) via Technical Submission (Guillotine Choke) in Round 1
Round 1: Kanehara quickly takes Omigawa's back, standing, and works for the rear-naked choke. Omigawa controlling the wrists, drops down to his knees to try and shake the ZST vet, then pops back up. Kanehara landing some semi-hard left hands from the back, but Omigawa doesn't flinch. Omigawa presses his back against the ring post until Kanehara falls off, but Kanehara is soon up on his back again. Omigawa finally gets free, but Kanehara is now in his guard. Kanehara works from there until the round ends. 10-9 Kanehara.
Round 2:Kanehara with a left high kick, followed by a quick one-two combo which seems to faze Omigawa a little. Another combination connects and Omigawa takes him down. Kanehara reverses, gets to side control and begins dropping knees on Omigawa's face. Omigawa bucks him back to his guard and tries a guillotine, to no avail. Kanehara trying an arm-triangle, but it's loose and Omigawa's head is sliding under the bottom rope. 10-9 Kanehara.
Round 3: Omigawa comes out swinging, but Kanehara's swinging back and lands a couple nice head kicks. Left jab from Kanehara connects, and Omigawa answers with a left straight. Kanehara shoots and Omigawa latches on to a guillotine. It looks decent, but not deep enough to finish; still, Omigawa won't relent. Finally he releases the hold and starts throwing short hammerfists from side mount. He stands above Kanehara and falls back for a heel hook, but Kanehara stands and begins bombing him with punches again. Omigawa gets him down and mounts him with 30 seconds left! Omigawa raining down punch after punch, desperate to finish, but Kanehara rolls away and avoids more punishment. 10-9 Omigawa.
Bloody Elbow scores the fight 29-28 Kanehara
Masanori Kanehara (14-6-5) def. Michihiro Omigawa (7-8-1) via Decision (Split)
Despite losing to Hatsu Hioki in his first fight of the evening, Kanehara becomes the first-ever Sengoku Featherweight Champion.
Round 1:Kitaoka shoots immediately and mounts Hirota for a brief second, but Hirota is against the ropes and able to work his way to his feet. Kitaoka puts him against the post and works for mount again, but Hirota stands, ensnared in a guillotine. He lifts the champ up and shucks Kitaoka loose. Kitaoka is posturing above Hirota in the corner, throwing down some hard punches and head stomps. He grabs the guillotine again as Hirota stands, but Hirota again defends well and gets it back to the feet. Glancing head kick from Hirota, who then presses Kitaoka against the ropes until the round ends. 10-9 Kitaoka.
Round 2: The first few minutes are spent on the feet with neither man gaining a distinct striking advantage. Spinning backfist misses from Kitaoka. Hirota backs Kitaoka into the post and gets into guard. Kitaoka is swinging and missing on big overhand rights and lefts. Almost a 10-10 round, but... 10-9 Hirota.
Round 3: Kitaoka shoots and brings Hirota down, quickly moving to side mount and throwing hilariously short hammerfists to Hirota's face. Kitaoka's back to half-guard and doing slightly better with his shots, but only slightly, still not doing much or any damage. Two minute remaining, Kitaoka postures up and it looks like he'll try the heel hook, but it's a fake-out. He tries a Saku-style flying stomp, to little effect. The last minute of the round, Hirota seems to be doing exactly what he said he would - beginning to tire Kitaoka out, stuff his shots and land clean punches. Still, Kitoka dominated most of the round. 10-9 Kitaoka.
Round 4: Kitaoka shooting over and over, and Hirota just sprawling out. Hirota's got north-south and has Kitaoka in trouble with some big knees to the head! Kitaoka's nose is bloodied - he stands up momentarily and swings wildly, desperately in the general direction of Hirota. He shoots pathetically and Hirota goes in for the kill. The bell rings before the ref even steps in to stop the fight - I'm thinking the corner may have thrown in the towel, as Kitaoka was in a bad way.
Ladies and gentlemen, your new Sengoku lightweight champ! Hirota followed his gameplan to a T and completely exposed Kitaoka.
Mizuto Hirota (12-3-1) def. Satoru Kitaoka (25-9-9) via TKO (Knees and Punches) in Round 4