Image via Esther Lin of MMA Fighting
defeated by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Judo vs. judo battles aren't usually that interesting in MMA. Manny Gamburyan and Michihiro Omigawa didn't care about that though, and put on an excellent back-and-forth scrap that could be a contender for fight of the night. It was Gamburyan who came out on top, using a strong takedown game combined with big head kicks and winging rights to take a unanimous decision. Omigawa dropped him early and was definitely in the fight, but the takedowns were probably the difference.
Gamburyan came out with a big flying knee early, but Omigawa responded with a short left that knocked Gamburyan down a few seconds later. Manny popped right back up though. Omigawa landed a nice right that staggered Manny again but Gamburyan fired right back. Manny was working the body well, which led Omigawa to do the same.
The two men opened up early in round two with Omigawa getting the best of it. Gamburyan shot in and ended in a Omigawa choke, but he fought his way out and continued to work hard for the takedown. He got Omigawa down for a second twice, but couldn't keep him there. Finally he slammed Omigawa down and took his back with hooks. He looked to roll over into mount but Omigawa got back to full guard, then got up. The last minute of the round was pretty slow.
Gamburyan opened the third was a huge head kick that stunned Omigawa and had him backing up. He landed another one too, but Omigawa just took it and stayed right there in front of him. Omigawa came back with a big combination and a short elbow that wobbled a seemingly-tired Gamburyan. Omigawa was landing counter lefts with frequency but Gamburyan landed the odd winging right in return. Gamburyan decided to look for a takedown halfway through the round. He got it, but Omigawa got up in under two seconds. Omigawa looked for a choke and dropped down, which gave Manny top position briefly. Gamburyan scooped Omigawa up for a big slam, then another. Omigawa just kept popping back up though. Omigawa looked for another guillotine but the fighters returned to their feet, and threw down for the rest of the fight.
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