DEEP 94 Review

The main event of DEEP 94 at Korakuen Hall featured an intriguing clash of styles as veterans Yuki Motoya and Takafumi Otsuka squared off. Fighting out of CB IMPACT, a cautious Motoya executed intermittent but powerful low leg kicks to maintain distance and avoid the clinch. Well versed in wrestling with slick and skillful takedowns T-Grips Otsuka was content to play the striking game, reading his opponents rhythm he countered the low kicks with right hands. A well placed straight from Motoya penetrated Otsukas defense and he instinctively hit a double leg and rotated to dump Motoya to the canvas. Bouncing back up Motoya slams home low kicks as Otsuka closes distance and looks to box. Both exchanged freely as round comes to a close, 1-2s followed by uppercuts and body strikes by Otsuka as Motoya picks his spots and lands consecutive right hands.

As the 2nd round commenced both fighters stuck to their guns and tried to enforce their styles. Motoya went to the low kicks instantly and the damage was mounting, Otsuka ate the kicks and countered with the straight right hand. A deep double leg from a Motoya 1-2 and Otsuka scores another brief takedown. Back on the feet Motoya was content to let his foe hold the real estate, Otsuka let his hands go with combinations, lead hook setting up straights and uppercuts. Happy to go second Motoya was throwing less but landing the damaging blows, with 30 seconds left in the round he turned up the pressure with heavy kicks and straight hands.

By the final stanza Motoya was taking control of the fight. The low kicks were coming fast and furious and Otsuka was fighting with compromised movement. The wrestling specialist worked body shots and shot for takedowns but Motoya was reading the movement perfectly. Shutting down Otsuka`s efforts to clinch the versatile all rounder doubled up on the leg kicks and punished with a nasty rear hand hook. Both took turns playing offense and defense with Otsuka looking to land to the body and tackle and Motoya leaning on solid fundamentals, heavy kicks and accurate 1-2s. A final entry to a takedown saw Otsuka fall into a guillotine that he immediately spun out of. In doing so Otsuka exposed his back and Motoya pounced, locking in the hooks before transitioning to the armbar. Otsuka anticipated the attack and escaped once more as the round, and fight, came to a close.

All 3 judges sided with the accurate, damaging blows of Motoya with unanimous 30-27 scores as he edged all 3 rounds in a well matched bout.

Trinity Suns Gym standout and DEEP Welterweight Champion Ryuichiro Sumimura once again faced Alliances Yuta “Andre” Watanabe, a rematch of their 2016 match that saw Watanabe succumb to a rear naked choke in the 2nd round.

The bout was all action from the onset, long reaching 1-2s followed by uppercuts from the Champion, capped off by occasional kicks tagged “Andre”, who was feeling the pressure early. By midway through the round Sumimura was winging hooks relentlessly with little regard to defense. The challenger kept his defense high and sent back strikes of his own but was coming off second best in the exchanges. Showing the kind of grappling he is known for “Andre” scored a brief double leg off a Sumimura kick, switched to a single and then back to a double to solidify the takedown. The round came to a close with a Watanabe back take take, firmly sending the message that the Champion would not have everything his way.

Sumimura did well at the start of the second round to immediately stifle Watanabe’s momentum. Jarring the challengers head back with 1-2s the champion switched gears to work the ground, out hustling his opponent to claim top position in 1/2 guard. “Andre” rolled to stand and had his back taken, Sumimura slid off and launched a high kick as they separated. A flush 1-2 for Watanabe and the left hand crumpled the champion who was in real trouble. Sensing he was on the cusp of a big victory the challenger poured on the strikes, took mount and then sunk a choke in as Sumimura gave his back. Showing the heart of a champion Sumimura dug deep to hold on. A much needed reversal and Sumimura had the respite required to get his senses back.

Both warriors were winded by the frenetic pace coming into the final 5 minutes but neither would back down. Sumimura was leaning full body weight into 1-2 combinations and was landing flush. The challenger returned fire but the champion was just moving his head enough to avoid damaging impact. Watanabe shot for a leg but it was anticipated and he soon found himself under the champion as time was running out. Following a referee break and both fighters sprinted with big combinations and power strikes. A late takedown and fleeting back take for the champion and the fight of the night concluded.

All 5 judges rendered the same scores, 29-28, in favor of the champion Sumimura who fought tooth and nail and survived a serious scare on route to victory.

Pancrase and DEEP veteran Kyosuke Yokoyama pitted his skills against DEEP regular Daisuke Tatsumi in a battle of top rankers. Crazy Bee gym representative Yokoyama wasted little time before taking the fight to the mat with a body lock takedown. With a tight underhook from 1/2 guard Yokoyama peppered Tatsumi with punches before stepping over to mount, and then taking back. Tatsumi did well to keep neck safe and avoid being flattened out but was unable to mount any real offense through the opening 5 minutes.

Charging out of his corner, NEX-SPORTS Tatsumi clashed with Yokoyama as they jockeyed for position to execute a takedown. Yokoyama proved a little too strong, skilled and athletic for his foe and was able to come out in superior position on top. Near the end of the round the Crazy Bee wrestling expert pulled away further as he drilled Tatsumi with left hands and brutal elbows.

Knowing he needed to make something happen Tatsumi once again entered the round swinging. Yokoyama slipped under pressure and Tatsumi engaged, it was a costly mistake for Tatsumi however as he found himself once again in the tight clinch of Yokoyama. From the body lock Yokoyama turned the corner and whipped Tatsumi down once more. Reclaiming back mount one more time Yokoyama flattened his adversary out and then sealed a tight kata gatame/ head and arm choke as Tatsumi turned to escape. Fighting until the last breath Tatsumi elected not to tap and went out at 3:30 of the last round.

Fighting out of Tarnthong Gym in Thailand Kritsada “Dream Man” Kongsrichai showcased his wrestling acumen with a huge body to body supplex of Wajutsu Keishukai TLIVE fighter Kosuke “Coro” Terashima. The ensuing scramble for position saw Kongsrichai take the back before a “Coro” reversal stole top control. The remainder of the round saw Terashima establish control and attack with submissions. After a modified guillotine choke with a knee behind the head was blocked “Coro” moved to a Spinning Choke/ Brabo set up that was also defended well as Dream Man stayed on all 4s.

There was a brief feeling out process on the feet before both fighters hit the canvas once more with Terashima on top. Adeptly shifting between side, knee on belly, and north south position “Coro” hunted for an opening for a submission. “Dream Man” was well versed on the ground and maintained tight defense. Transitioning to the mount “Coro” dropped a brutal elbow that hurt his Thai opponent prompting a tap out at 4:11 of the second round.

Decorated K1 striker Kizaemon Saiga tested his stand up as he faced off against Master Thong Gyms “Jack”. The Thai threw with heat as the round commenced, dropping the K1 veteran with a flurry of lightning quick punches. Saiga absorbed punishing blows as Jack blasted him repeatedly on the ground and as he stood. Showing phenomenal chin and recovery Saiga joined Jack in a wild shoot out. The K1s experience shone through as he targeted the body, hurting Jack against the fence. One of the blows strayed low and action was paused momentarily. They got back to where they left off, blasting power strikes until Saiga went downstairs again and folded Jack with body shots for the stoppage at 1:22 of the opening frame.


A brief intermission featured a lighthearted and respectful exhibition grappling match between Strawweight Champion Haruo Ochi and Flyweight Champion Makoto “Shinryu” Takahashi. The audience were treated to a back and forth display of high level throws, transitions, reversals and submissions as both scrambled constantly through 5 entertaining minutes.


Both Yamato Fujita and Chikara Shimabukuro came out throwing heavy kicks and punches to kick off their match. Fujita switched things up, hitting a double leg takedown and securing top position. Chikara returned to the feet and let loose a rear kick flying knee combination that resulted in surrendering another takedown. Fujita balanced control and activity, defending kimura attempts with good posture and selective but powerful strikes.

In the 2nd round feints from Fujita set up some vicious rear hands, catching Chikara as he waded in. Chikara mixed his strikes up, flashy spinning back fist, high kick and jump knee combinations resulted in a journey back down on the canvas courtesy of a Fujita body lock. Chikara works to standing again and Fujita switched gears, landing a clubbing counter right hand and stunning head kick. Wobbled Chikara answered with his own strikes but was immediately taken down again. Smart fighting by Fujita ensured an unanimous decision win. 20-18 on all 3 scorecards.


Infight Japans Takuya “Kennosuke” Oyama brought a strong boxing base to his match with Macaco Gold Teams Harry Stallone to set up a “striker vs grappler” encounter. Oyama used angles and boxing as Stalone worked his way into the clinch. From the Thai plum “Kennosuke” launched knees before utilizing a hip toss from overhooks as a counter to takedowns. Stalone kept balance and composure and finally got in on the legs, scooping out boxers base to put his opponent on his back. As Oyama worked to stand Stallone delivered a powerful, and illegal, knee to the downed opponent. “Kennosuke” stopped fighting, looked to ref and complained and was drilled by more illegal knees that landed flush. The damage was deemed too much and regretfully the bout came to an end with Oyama declared the victor by DQ at 2:50 of the 1st round.


While Koya Kanda entered his match with solid wrestling credentials it was his striking that got Raiki Endo’s attention early. A left high kick from the southpaw was blocked but still the power echoed through the defense. Double jabs and pinpoint lefts landed for Kanda at a distance. In close the fighter from Paraestra Kashiwa spread weight and strategically pinned Endo against the cage before scoring with a beautiful display of technical takedowns. By the 2nd round the Power of Dream representative Endo knew he was behind and amped up the aggression, coming forward he planted his feet and let loose with strikes. It was largely all in vain though as Kanda expertly weaved and escaped danger before planting Endo on his back. A referee break in the dying seconds of the final round saw Kanda deny a desperate late surge from his opponent and earn the win 20-18 on all 3 scorecards.


The very Physical southpaw Kunihisa Sasa squared off against the rangy well rounded “Hashan” Fuhito. Sasa got down to business quick, making his intent very clear he fired straight lefts, worked his way to the clinch and locked arms for double leg takedowns. Hashan looked to hit the switch but Sasa kept excellent ankle control. While Hashan was adept at defense and took little damage Sasa`s superior positioning and control won the exchanges decisively. A constricting guillotine attempt for Sasa forced Hashan to give his back to relieve pressure and left little doubt to who the victor was. All 3 judges scored the bout 20-18 for Kunihisa Sasa.


Kazuki Shibuya started strong as he blasted a crushing right hand to drop Yasutaka Ishigami about 1 minute into the opening round. With referee poised to step in the Ks Gym fighter rained down elbows and hammerfists but Ishigami survived, attacked off his back with a triangle before returning to his feet. From there Wajutsu Keishukai`s Ishigami started to take control of the fight. He pressured Shibuya into shooting from far out and pulling guard for much of the 2nd round. Shutting down kneebars, heelhooks and sweeps Ishigami delivered some effective ground and pound. A close and competitive fight saw Shibuya steal the decision, with scorecards drawn 19-19, 2 of the 3 judges gave their “must” decision to the Ks Gym fighter.


In the competitive opening bout of the evening BIBLE GYMs Masato Nakamura took a hard fought decision against NEX-SPORTS Rikito Tago. In a fight of takedowns, control and ground and pound, Nakamura edged the judges decision, 20-18 and 19-19 (“must” Nakamura x2)

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Peter Leghorn
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