The highly anticipated main event between Pacific Rim champion Ryo Okada and surging contender Kazuma Kuramoto was fought at a furious pace. Kuramoto quite literally kicked the bout off with a jump kick in the opening seconds that caught Okada unaware. With his opponent against the fence the Greco Roman phenom clinched and scooped an ankle for a takedown inside of the opening 10 seconds. Floating between positions Kuramoto smoothly maintained top control until the Paraestra ace found an opening for a slick arm in guillotine. The hold was locked tight but just as it seemed victory was within Okada`s grasp, the Shooto Gym Tokyo standout somehow fought free. Excellent arm and wrist control as Kuramoto again moved between positions on top, passing to Kesa Gatame side control. A reversal from Okada and the fighters traded on the feet. Orthodox, textbook stiff jabs and straights for Okada found their mark while Kuramoto spun with a back fist and capoeira kick before doubling up on left hands.
The second round saw a change of strategy as the Greco Roman wrestler backed his opponent up on the feet, swinging from the hip he flurried with heavy punches. Unable to adjust to Kuramoto`s timing and speed the versatile Okada adapted and found success with low kicks before attempting his own takedown. The Greco Roman Olympic medalist reversed and controlled the grappling exchanges before separating and throwing another spinning back fist. Okada took the blow and returned with a picture perfect right hand down the pipe to drop Kuramoto and turn the tide of the fight. Not letting up Okada avoided the clinch and poured on the strikes as referee watched closely. The Pacific Rim champion closed the show with a destructive right against the fence that put Kuramoto out.
Okada weathered the storm to come back and take the Interim bantamweight champion in spectacular fashion. With the hard fought victory, pacific rim and interim bantamweight champion Okada sets up an epic clash with current bantamweight king Shoko Sato.
For the co-main Keisuke “Sasuke” Sasu was not phased by Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura’s signature “wild monkey” style. Not falling for the feints, twitches and shuffles, “Sasuke” strove forward stealing a takedown from a “Wicky” low kick just moments into the first. From there is was a solid shut out as Sasu prioritized control to keep the dangerous striker grounded. In the last minute savage elbows from Sasu left the Krazy Bee fighter bruised and cut by the rounds end.
A Wicky “rush” saw a lightning fast leaping lead right partially land as round 2 progressed. The success was short lived however as “Sasuke” pressed forward and muscled Nishiura to the canvas again. Utilizing a figure of 4 lock around the legs, the Masters Japan grappler restricted Nishiura`s movement and kept him pinned to the fence. “Wicky” was able to fend off the attacks but could do little to mount any offense.
Well behind on the scorecards going into the 3rd “Wicky” started to leg go, stepping in with blistering lead right hands. “Sasuke” kept composure, answered back with his own combinations and closed the distance. With an expertly calculated shot, “Sasuke” again raced forward and bulldozed Wicky to the ground. With a wrestlers leg cradle he neutralized the Krazy Bee fighter before transitioning to the back. As the match came to a close the workmanlike performance from Sasu saw him earn a dominant victory, 30-27 on all scorecards.
2 of Japans best on the mat put on a show for their AOKI Project no gi grappling match. Training out of Carpe Diem, Tomoshige Sera used very advanced guard techniques as Igloo`s Kenta Iwamoto applied amazing top pressure passes. As time ticked away the players ramped up the submission attempts with rolling armlocks, kneebars and heelhooks. The evenly contested chess match went back and forth until the 10 minute time limit expired. As victory could only come by submission the entertaining match was declared a draw.
Takahiro “Kotetsu” Kohori was wary of charging in on sharp shooter Kiyotaku Shimizu. The Gonz Gym fighter was content to back up, establish the jab and look for counters. Shimizu appeared to edge a tentative opening frame with very effective lead hook right low kick combinations that landed flush.
In the 2nd roles reversed as “Kotetsu” slowly controlled the real estate with his effective jab serving him well. Tribe Tokyo`s Shimizu answered with a flurry, driving Kohori back to the perimeter fence. All of a sudden Kohori found his target and cracked the advancing Shimizu with a right hand that put him down. Kohori leapt in as Shimizu bounced back to his feet and an apparent clash of heads saw Kohori go down. From guard Shimizu stood and hammered away relentlessly as Kohori desperately altered positions to try to find time to regroup. The onslaught continued until the referee waved the fight off, giving Shimizu a TKO victory at 4:34 of the 2nd round.
After a brief feeling out process Saori Oshima put her elite Judo on show, dropping low to clinch she swept Mina Kurobe`s leg to ensure the takedown. Master Japan veteran Kurobe relaxed and worked out of danger as AACCs Oshima fished for a choke from the back. A singled leg to “kouchi gari” inside trip for Oshima again takes the match to the canvas. Late starter Kurobe worked back to her feet and proceeded to take control. A strong thai clinch, heavy knees and a flurry of 1-2s stunned Oshima as the round came to a close.
Another excellent “kouchi gari” inside reap for Oshima in round 2 resulted in a scramble for position until fighters returned to the feet. Kurobe found optimum range to keep her shorter foe at bay and drove hard knees to the body from the thai clinch. Kurobe turned up the pressure, forcing to the ground she rained down heavy ground and pound from top.
It was clear momentum had shifted completely by the 3rd. Oshima shot in low but had little drive and settled for guard. From there it was all Kurobe, she piled on the pressure from inside guard with blows before moving to mount. From there Kurobe then drilled the Judoka with elbows and punches for the stoppage at 2:54 of the 3rd round.
AACCs Megumi Sugimoto wasted little time in letting her intentions known as she dropped low and drove Mars Gyms Mirai Nakamura to the fence. Nakamura used an underhook to defend well, keeping her head high she forced several referee restarts. Sugimoto stuck to her game, fought though a ninja choke attempt and controlled the opening stanza.
A right straight off the bat led to another expertly timed low level takedown for Sugimoto in round 2. From her back Nakamura defended well and attacked with an outside heelhook. One step ahead Sugimoto used the distance to scramble and take the back, sealing a tight rear naked choke before putting hooks in for the tap at 3:32 of round 2.
Tribe Tokyo’s Hayato Ishii owned the speed edge in his battle with Tsudanuma Dojo powerhouse Tsubasa Saito. From a solid jab Ishii clinched and scored multiple takedowns, including a slam from the back and hip throw in the first. A lightning fast right hand dropped Saito in the 2nd as both traded in the pocket. From there Ishii went to work on the ground, fantastic body lock control helped him keep the back as he threatened with a rear naked choke. Saito rallied late with a reversal and heavy elbow spending the last 20 seconds punishing Ishii from back. 3rd round saw Saito pressure and hunt the finish, he shut down the clinch, fired jump knees and 1-2s, and scored a double leg. Saito opted to swing for the fences for the finish in the dying seconds, icing the round but ultimately losing the match, 29-28 x2 and 29-27.
Yamato Nishikawa (Power of Dream Sapporo) showed composure and skill beyond his years as the 17 year old took ownership of his match with Takeaki Kinoshita (Wajutsu Keishukai HEARTS). From the onset Nishikawa worked his way to the clinch where he successfully transitioned between bodylock, single and double leg takedowns. Kyokushinkai fighter Kinoshita couldn’t find his chance to land his signature “Ichigeki” one shot finish and dropped a lopsided decision, 20-18 on all scorecards