*Written by Peter Leghorn
DEEP saw their inaugural event at New Pier Hall in Tokyo go off with a bang. DEEP 89 Impact delivered some sensational matches and abundant finishes.
The main event between DJ Taiki vs Satoshi “Dominator” Yamasu turned out to be a firefight from the get-go. Dominator found his range and rhythm quickly, his speed and timing enabled him to outland DJ Taiki on the feet early with accurate 1-2s. DJ took the shoots well, pressed forward, never backed down and fired back his own in return. While he was not landing as much it was clear as the round progressed that DJ was inching closer to that big fight turning shot. It came with seconds left in the first as a vicious left planted Yamasu on the canvas. Hurt badly but not out Yamasu was saved by the bell as DJ pounced in for the stoppage.
In the 2nd both fighters planted their feet, threw caution to the wind and decided to swing until someone went down. Dominator was that little bit crisper and faster and caught his target flush as they exchanged against the fence. DJ`s phenomenal chin was not enough to save him this time, he slumped and absorbed blows until an epic encounter came to a climatic end at just 11 seconds into the 2nd round.
In the co-main, ex-champion and perennial top ranker Takefumi Otsuka faced off against PXC champion Trevin Jones.
Otsuka came into the fight with a lot of weight on his shoulders as the favorite, Jones was the underdog on paper only though, the PXC title holders talent and ability is top tier and on Sunday he had the chance to prove it.
Start of round 1 was a cautious affair, from Otsuka especially who was looking to time a shot on his bigger, stronger foe. Jones used that power sparingly, one shot leg kicks and punches he offered little opportunity to Otsuka to get the entry he sought. Once the grappling commenced the tone and pace changed completely, Otsuka ducked and weaved his way in to smooth technical wrestling transitions until he got the takedown he wanted. From single to double to back, Otsuka was fluid. He struggled to keep Jones down on first attempt but after a scramble to the back he hoisted Jones up and dumped him back on the canvas. From there he put hooks in, flattened the PXC champion out and rained down blows to the side of the head until time expired.
In contrast to the opening round in the 2nd it was Jones that put Otsuka on the mat, a tight and well controlled bodylock takedown and Otsuka gave his back. Jones skillfully maneuvered one arm under the chin. Otsuka, perhaps believing he would score the reversal released his 2 on 1 grip of Joneses other arm and elected to use a hand to try to free the hooks. It was a costly mistake as Jones displayed the kind of ground skills he is known for, he adjusted position and locked up the rnc lightning fast. Otsuka had no option but to tap at 1:40 of the 2nd stanza.
Veterans put on a memorable war of attrition as Takeya Mizugaki brought out the wrestling to shut down and beat on Shoji Maruyama. The first saw Mizugaki set the pace with strong clinch wrestling and repeated takedowns on the aggressive Shoji. From top position Shoji was on defense, in guard or struggling to stand back up. On the feet with just a little room Shoji unleashed with fury and found some success. Following a final bodylock takedown Mizugaki administered some some ground and pound as the round came to a close.
Shoji’s persistence began to pay off in the 2nd, after locking, swinging and throwing Shoji down Mizugaki was starting to tire. Hard punches to the body, knees, elbows and kicks Shoji mixed it up and threw whatever he could whenever he could. Mizugaki was not shy to go toe to toe though and engaged in some wild exchanges. Mizugaki fought smartwhen required and used his grappling at key moments to wrestle back control.
By the 3rd round Shoji was bloodied but not beaten. With his “do or die” attitude he fought tooth and nail at every moment. Mizugaki’s takedowns were still there but less effective than when he was fresh and Shoji was putting on real pressure. Knees, uppercuts and particularly the body shots were working for Shoji. Mizugaki showed the kind of durability he is known for and was able to soak up or avoid a lot of the blows.
In the end all 3 judges scored the fight for Mizugaki, 29-28.
Juntaro Ushiku levelled Zach Benavente right off the bat with a heavy knockdown. Benavente worked guard and looked for submissions but Ushiku kept good posture and broke through pounding out the Guam native at 3:49, round 1.
Krush and K-1 veteran Ryuji Horio met Shootboxing standout Ryouta Naito in the 2nd DEEP Kick rules bout. Horio brought the power, loading up with heavy hooks, jumping knees and powerful kicks. Naito fought with finesse and accuracy, covering and countering. The kickboxers went shot for shot in a very even match of contrasting styles. At the end of 3 rounds judges scored the fight a draw, 30-29, 29-29 and 29-29.
In the only women’s match of the evening Mizuki Furuse overpowered newcomer Tomoko Hida for the majority of the first 2 rounds. Forward pressure, loaded strikes followed by opportunistic takedowns put Furuse well ahead going into the 3rd round. Hida showed her heart in the 3rd, throwing everything she had at a tired Furuse. In the end Furuse scored the unanimous decision, 29-28 x3
Rizin veteran Yamato Fujita managed to even his record up with a solid performance over an out-gunned Moriaki Kozo. Fujita lit Kozo up on the feet, blitzing him with a lead left hook the toppled him early. Later a slam takedown rewarded Fujita with 1/2 guard and some effective ground and pound. Kozo searched for the Kimura or escape but the top pressure was tight and the ground-and-pound heavy. Dropping Kozo again with the same lead left hook Fujita this time found the finish at 9 seconds round 2.
Kazuhide Shirota scored a takedown to 1/2 guard then locked up a front choke/ guillotine from top for the win against Ken at 1:42 of the opening round.
Takahiro Kato endured the strong wrestling of Kanda Koya to secure a RnC after a back take at 3:35 of the first.
Atsushi Kishimoto linked a left straight to takedown to swift back take combination before throwing on a RnC and taking out Betinho Vital at 1:16 round 1.
In a DEEP kick rule Kickboxing bout Kazuki Toshikawa cruised to victory over Wakatsuki Ryo, scoring a knockdown in the 3rd and taking the decision 30-27×2, 30-28
Ibuki Matsumaru stamped his authority on an entertaining 2 rounds of action against Ryo Narishima, 20-17, 20-18, 20-18
Yasutaka Ishigami and Hidemasa Soga delivered a competitive, action packed mma bout with a little bit of everything. After 2 rounds the 3 judges scored the bout 20-20, using DEEPs “must pick” system all 3 judges leant towards Ishigami for a hard fought win.
In the opening bout solid transitions and positional control led to a RnC finish for Yuki Matsumoto. So surrendered at 2:55 of round 1.