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Fedor's New Year's Eve Freak Show Fight

Ishii_mediumSatoshi Ishii, the 21 year old judoka who just took home the gold medal in Judo is calling out Fedor Emelianenko. From Dave Meltzer:

In Beijing, China, after winning the gold medal in the superheavyweight division in judo this past week, Japan’s Satoshi Ishii said he wanted to fight "Emelianenko Fedor," as the legendary Russian fighter is known in Japan.

Ishii, 21, has never fought MMA style. The idea of the match may sound laughable to MMA aficionados, but New Year’s Eve in Japan is traditional for gimmick performers, whether they be Japanese entertainment personalities, giants, or athletes who were successful in other sports, doing fights. With Ishii becoming a national hero in Japan and the sport fading in popularity, such a match would draw the kind of interest that Emelianenko against a top fighter could never do.

This report on Ishii's medal run at the Olympics is interesting, the self-deprecating commentary isn't something you'd see from an American gold medal winner:

Ishii recorded ippon victories in his four matches leading up to the final, including a quarterfinal win over 2004 Olympic silver medalist Tamerian Tmenov.

In the final, Tangriev seemed to have little energy and was hit with cautions 2:39 into the match and again with 51 seconds to left. After the match ended, Ishii raised his fists in the air and broke into tears, then waved to the large group of Japanese fans.

"I'm small for the heavyweight class, I'm not tall, and I don't have really effective techniques, so I wanted to be aggressive and force penalty points," said the 1.80-meter Kokushikan University student. "I tried to have a solid match."

Honestly, as little interest as I have in seeing Fedor maul a first-time MMA fighter, I'd like to see DREAM book this matchup. It's the kind of thing that will draw ratings and for all the great matchups DREAM has booked this year, their TV ratings are terrible and have the promotion on the verge of extinction. Freakshows have always paid the bills in Japanese MMA.

To me the real bummer of it would be for an immensely talented athlete like Ishii to be thrown in at the deep end rather than being allowed to develop his MMA skills in a more sane fashion. The guy has skills, as his Olympic run indicates:

Ishii unleashed his full repertoire of throws in the first two rounds, downing Italy's Paolo Biachessi with uchi-mata (inner thigh throw) and then Egypt's Islam El Shehaby with ouchi-gari (major inner reap).

In the last eight he came up against dangerous Russian Tamerlan Tmenov, the silver medallist from Athens, but prevailed by virtue of his strong ground fighting.

Tmenov dithered on the floor after a failed attack and was caught by Ishii who secured a hold, only for the Russian to submit when he knew he was beaten.

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