The biggest event of the year is over and it was very enjoyable.
I’m someone who has been impressed with Izumi since his debut fight. His toughness and stand-up skills for someone who has such a build and only trained MMA for a month or so was very impressive in his debut fight (think how Yoon Dong Sik turtled up against Sakuraba).
He had another good fight tonight and I was most impressed with how he handled himself when he knocked down Shibata, smoothly going to mount. He won’t ever be a top ranker if he stays in the LHW division with his height, but I think he’s a natural.
Very impressive by Omigawa. When the fight was announced I thought it was quite even but leaned towards Omigawa before the fight started. Takaya got dropped by Tokoro and with Omigawa’s head movement and chin I thought Takaya would have a tough night. Very impressive by Gono as well, slick armbar.
The stoppages in the Super Hulk final and Misaki/Manhoef were really bad. I understand that it’s on national TV on NYE but that’s very unfair to fighters in such important fights. Great performances by Manhoef and Minowaman though.
Tokoro and Kim was one of the most entertaining fights of the night. Not surprising how it turned out. Before the fight I thought Kim could take Tokoro out if he landed, and he almost did in the third. Tokoro’s stand-up was once again impressive though and he was the clear winner.
Kawajiri/Yokota went as I thought. Yokota won’t be able to stop Kawajiri’s takedowns, Kawajiri will look more tired the longer the fight goes but will take it clearly in a three rounder.
An impressive performance by Kanehara, I didn’t think he would pull it off. I’m a little surprised at the commentators though, first round was either even or Kanehara’s (he actually dropped KID in the round), second Kanehara’s, and third KID’s. Kanehara is tough and hard to finish. He also hits hard which I don’t think people were very aware of before the fight.
Nothing surprising in the Overeem/Fujita fight, Overeem is really good right now as most know.
Impressive performance by Shinya Aoki. I’m not his biggest fan and didn’t like how he handled himself after the fight but he keeps beating top LWs.
I thought the referee in the Ishii/Yoshida fight was horrible, separating the clinch so quickly. He’s always horrible. Ishii looked very bad in the first, in the second he was successful in the clinch, and in the third it looked like his punches had more power behind them than earlier in the fight. He has a chin though and looked good the few seconds the fight was on the floor.
Masato went out in style. He didn’t say anything about what his future activities will be after the fight though.
FEG’s Tanigawa said after the event that he wants to go forward with a 60 kg K-1 tournament. DREAM EP Sasahara gave Aoki a stern warning after the event for his behavior. He thinks that it’s OK to provoke before a fight but as a pro such things shouldn’t happen when a fight is over. Kawajiri and Yokota also had some heated words before their fight but were very respectful afterward, with Kawajiri saying after the event that he is happy to have defeated a strong fighter like Yokota.
As for injuries, Hirota suffered a bone fracture in his right upper-arm, I believe Fujita suffered a strong concussion, and Kim Jong Man and Hiroyuki Takaya received some fracture on their right eyes. It doesn’t look like Yokota got injured from Kawajiri’s armbar.
The planned date for the first DREAM event in 2010 is the end of March. Look out for big-shot fighters at Featherweight and Welterweight. Sasahara said that they want to implement a title fight between Aoki and Kawajiri early this year. Minowaman asked Sasahara why there is no belt and prize money for the winner of the Super Hulk Tournament.
Kanehara said that there will probably be an SRC event in March and he wants to defend the belt against Omigawa there. We’ll see if there will be any Yoshida Dojo fighters fighting in SRC in the future though.
#15: Fujita Has Returned
Kazuyuki Fujita returned (photo) to Japan from his 4 week long training camp at Marco Ruas’s Gym in the U.S. on the 27th. When talking with the press he said that he doesn’t think there is another Japanese fighter who can fight with Alistair. “If I don’t do it, who will?!”
#14: Gono NYE Performance
Gono announced that if everything goes as planned, we will see a performance on NYE on the same level of the red & white song contest, which is the big TV program on NYE in Japan.
#13: Kazunori Yokota Shootboxing
#12: SENGOKU HQ Fight Videos
A few SENGOKU fights will be available on DREAM’s YouTube channel for a limited period of time. They are high quality and with no commentary. Check them out.
On the 21st PANCRASE announced some additional fights for the first big card of their 2010 Passion Tour on February 7th. Previously announced for the card was a Flyweight title fight.
As for the newly announced fights, Yuki Kondo will take on Sakuraba pupil and SENGOKU participant Takenori Sato for the interim Middleweight title, KEI Yamamiya will take on Yuji “The Pink Typhoon” Hisamatsu, who drew with Kondo in his last fight, and hard-hitting Seiya Kawahara will have a tough task in front of him against Tashiro Nishiuchi, who is 6-0-4 in his last 10 fights.
The Naoyuki Kotani vs. Daisuke Nakamura fight which took place at ZST is now out on YouTube:
Tomorrow (December 22nd) from around 13:00 (Japanese time) the third Dynamite!! 2009 press conference will take place and it will be streamed live on Ustream (I’ll post the link when I get it).
FEG’s Tanigawa was asked about Gomi on twitter today and wrote that we’ll know the outcome of that affair at tomorrows announcement.
However, from reading Gomi’s blog, America looks to be next for him. But he did post a picture with a Dynamite!! poster and his post wasn’t about the event.
Aoki had some harsh words for SENGOKU on the latest issue of Kamipro. Will it be Aoki vs. Hirota? Most is pointing toward Shinya Aoki vs. Mizuto Hirota and Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Kazunori Yokota right now but we’ll see tomorrow.
Yoshihiro Akiyama wrote on his blog that Hiroshi Izumi trained at his gym today.
FEG’s Tanigawa told Kamipro that they’re planning to hold a DREAM event in South Korea next year. He said that DREAM, K-1, and SENGOKU will all be around next year as well.
SRC will have an event on March of next year but it’ll be tough if they don’t have any good results on the first events of 2010. We’ll see if the new guy (Booker K: past matchmaker of PRIDE, was the link between PRIDE and the Chute Boxe camp, I think he was agent of Igor Vovchanchyn, etc.) can come in and keep the organization alive.
Shu Hirata asked WVR to end the contracts of his fighters if they won’t hold an event on NYE so that they could/can negotiate in the U.S. (Dan Hornbuckle was going to face Takimoto for the title on NYE if SRC 12 wasn’t cancelled, etc.). He says that they are earnest and ended the contracts.
Q: You started out as a kickboxer. Why did you decide to switch to MMA?
CJ: I started kickboxing since 10th grade. Originally my goal was to fight at K-1 because I fell in love with Ernesto Hoost’s powerful low kicks and awesome technique. After training kickboxing, I went to Kyongbuk Science University to major MMA (note: yes, this university offers a degree in MMA lol.). That’s when I first trained jiujitsu and I liked it. Locking in a submission gave me a different kind of satisfaction from striking.
I never liked fighting on the ground, but once I started training grappling I came to like it enough to make me want to switch to MMA.
Q: If you had continued to be a kickboxer, what level do you think you’d be at now?
CJ: It’s hard to say (laughs). I recently sparred with Chi-bin Lim, Jae-gil Noh, and Min-suk Kwon, and I wasn’t on their level. I couldn’t keep up with their pace. Standup fighting and MMA require different use of stamina. In standup fighting you have to keep throwing punches and kicks. You use different muscles and styles for each sport.
Q: If you were a kickboxer, what kind of style would you have?
CJ: I’d say I would have fought like Se-gi Kim or Min-suk Kwon; a brawling in-fighter rather than a technical out-fighter.
Q: What’s your ultimate goal? Have you ever thought about moving up to lightweight and fighting in the UFC?
CJ: As of now, my goal is to fight in the WEC and become a champion. I have no intention of moving up in weight whatsoever.
Q: Have you seen the Penn-Sanchez fight? He (Penn) might as well be called the lightweight Fedor.
CJ: He’s just what his nickname says he is – a prodigy. I think his style of fighting is the way to go now. I emulate his takedown defense in training. I, like BJ Penn, focus on the defensive aspect of wrestling. It feels better to defend a takedown than to score one (laughs).
It seems that Ishii trains/trained at HMC Wahiawa Gym in his current training camp in Hawaii. I’ve never heard of the place but there seems to be some Japanese people there. There are pictures on their blog from him training there a week ago. You can check them out here.
If anyone has any info on solid trainers/fighters in that gym please comment. On the post it says that Ishii is a very polite person and that his training was amazing. Again, he looks to be in great shape as the second picture on the post shows.
The final 2009 issue of Kamipro is out and the man who has received the honor to be on the front page is angry Hidehiko Yoshida.
Yoshida continues to be angry at Dynamite!! and everything else, Ishii says that he doesn’t intend to fight for the sake of Dynamite!! or DREAM, Aoki says any opponent is fine, Kawajiri, Gomi, or SENGOKU, Kawajiri says that for him there are no alternatives besides an Aoki fight (not even against Gomi), and Ryo Chonan says that Yoshida is in the best conditions he’s been in years.
I recommend reading the last third of this thread for some good Japanese MMA info and maybe the reason why Yoshida is so grumpy right now.
And it looks like Semmy Schilt will not participate on NYE.
A special Dynamite!! website is up with the Masato Dynamite!! preview video. Click here to get to the site.
FEG Producer Tanigawa wrote on his twitter that the next Dynamite!! press conference will probably be early next week (most likely Tuesday).
Some other Dynamite!! information originally from Kamipro:
The chance of Takanori Gomi participating is low, Gomi’s side and the promoter side aren’t feeling each other on everything.
Sakuraba’s participation in itself isn’t even decided yet. Misaki could face a foreign fighter.
Sanae Kikuta appealed for a fight with Kiyoshi Tamura, but Tamura has his eyes set on a foreign DREAM champion.
Tim Sylvia and Brett Rogers are/were participation candidates but the TBS side would rather see fighters like Bob Sapp and Hong Man Choi on the card.