Hatsu Hioki submitted Jeff Lawson at SRC 14 and earned himself a title shot against featherweight champion Marlon Sandro. Photo by GBRing.
Current Shooto 143-pound world champion Hatsu Hioki (22-4-2) took out Sengoku newcomer Jeff Lawson with ease on Sunday, forcing the Brit to tap to a triangle choke in just two minutes and ten seconds.
The win keeps "The Iron Broomstick" on course for a long-awaited encounter with Sengoku 145-pound ace Marlon Sandro, a fight that will represent even more than a meeting of Japan's top two featherweights.
When it eventually happens, Sandro-Hioki will mark the first ever clash between reigning champions from long-standing rival organizations Pancrase and Shooto, and as King of Pancrase, Sandro is already stoking the inter-promotional flames:
That would be really great, I think. It would be the best thing in the world if both promotions' fans would come out to see a show with a fight like that. But personally, I think there would be far more Pancrase fans showing up than Shooto fans.
Without a doubt the most shocking result from this weekend's card, however, was Jadamba Narantungalag (6-2) dominating Akihiro Gono (32-16-7) en route to a unanimous decision win. The unheralded Mongolian from former sumo Asashoryu's stable of fighters was ostensibly brought in as an easy opponent for Gono as he made his first appearance at 155 pounds, but things did not go as planned and Narantungalag spent three rounds punishing the listless former Pride star with nasty ground work and strikes from the clinch. So much for the suggestion from Gono's video intro that he might be the man to get revenge on Shinya Aoki for Sengoku.
Taisuke Okuno (10-4-2) shook up Sengoku's 2010 Welterweight Grand Prix with a highlight reel knockout of the heavily-favored Nick Thompson. "Goten" folded "The Goat" with a big right hand early in the third round and followed up with about 20 unchecked hammerfists to the back of Thompson's head. When Thompson stumbled back to his feet, Okuno briefly attempted a choke before uncorking a left hook which put the Minnesotan to sleep. Thompson lay unconscious on the canvas for several minutes and eventually had to be stretchered from the ring.
Meanwhile, Swiss import Yasubey Enomoto (5-1) -- slotted into the tournament after upsetting Grabaka founder Sanae Kikuta in June -- punched his ticket to the next round by submitting trash-talking Kenta Takagi with an appropriately schoolyard-ish hold. Takagi made assurances to the media during fight week that the match wouldn't last more than 60 seconds; in fact, the fighters went to a second round, during which Takagi attempted a badly-timed spinning backfist and Enomoto capitalized with a bulldog choke.
Shintaro Ishiwatari (9-3-3), Shoko Sato (9-3), Wataru Takahashi (12-13-4) and Jae Hyun So (6-8) each picked up wins to advance in Sengoku's 2010 Asia Bantamweight Tournament, which also continues at SRC 15. Ishiwatari retained his status as the tournament favorite by putting on the most impressive performance of the 135-pounders, making quick work of South Korea's Kil Woo Lee with a Dan Miller-esque ten-finger guillotine. The next round of the tourney will see the insertion of four additional "recommended" fighters, one each from Shooto, Pancrase, ZST and Cage Force.