Kondo Victorious, Kawamura Draws De Castro

Kondo Victorious

By Jason Nowe Dec 11, 2006
TOKYO, Dec. 10 — After a year of putting together some quality cards and crowning new champions, Pancrase’s final event of 2006 — Blow Tour 11 — started out with disaster, when just 36 seconds into the opening match between Pancrase veteran Miki Shida (Pictures) and Pancrase Inagakigumi member Daichi Fujiwara, the whole show had to be stopped for a very serious in-ring injury.

After a failed shot shortly after the opening bell, Shida secured a clinch by linking his arms around Fujiwara’s lower back and squeezed the technique tight for the takedown. Fujiwara landed awkwardly when both he and Shida hit the canvas, and immediately he began to scream in pain. Veteran Japanese referee Umeki quickly stopped the fight and called for the doctors.

As Fujiwara lied motionless on the floor surrounded by his Inagakigumi teammates and Pancrase officials, it was announced that the show would be stopped until the ambulance arrived. It was obvious that Fujiwara had suffered some sort of spinal injury and could not be moved.

Once emergency services personnel made it to the scene, they quickly secured the fallen fighter to a backboard and whisked him out of the arena.

The low clinch that Shida took Fujiwara down with is a quite common MMA move and not illegal in the least. This was just a freak accident caused by a bad landing. Let’s all hope that the up-and-coming Fujiwara can make a full and speedy recovery.

The main event of the evening was originally supposed to pit light heavyweight Pancrase champion Yuki Kondo (Pictures) against French fighter Jean Francois Lenogue (Pictures). These two fought to a draw last October and this match was set to determine a clear winner. However, for reasons unknown at the time of this writing, Lenogue had to drop out at the last minute.

As a replacement, Pancrase offered Mexican fighter Ian Nai. On the official profile provided by the promotion, Nai has 10 years of Karate experience and 12 years of Capoeira. Apparently this was his debut in MMA and it certainly showed.

Nai was just far, far outclassed against Kondo, who quickly got a single-leg takedown, took side, then the back, before finally finishing Nai off with a rear-naked choke at the 1:30 mark of the first round.

Kondo’s post-fight comments to the crowd were perhaps more interesting than the fight itself. “This is not my last fight for this year,” he said.

So what do the champion’s words mean? Will he be fighting on PRIDE’s New Year’s Eve “Shockwave” show, or could he possibly be headed to K-1 Dynamite? Kondo has had a mixed bag in PRIDE, suffering some very questionable decision losses against current PRIDE middleweight champion Dan Henderson (Pictures) and Yoshida Dojo member Kazuhiro Nakamura (Pictures). Furthermore, Kondo’s name was not on the list of possible fighters for Shockwave released by DSE. But despite his tumultuous relationship with PRIDE, could Kondo really turn his back on the organization and head to the K-1? Stranger things have happened in the world of MMA and the answer to this riddle will reveal itself within the next few weeks.

Young Pancrase up-and-comer Ryo Kawamura (Pictures)’s defeat of Chute Boxe’s Daniel Acacio (Pictures) prompted the promotion set him against another Chute Boxe representative. This time around it was veteran Nilson de Castro (Pictures) who answered the call to defend his stable’s name.

This was a really high-paced, exciting match. Both traded shots and were pretty even until about halfway through the second round when Kawamura connected with a big right hand that sent De Castro reeling back. Kawamura could see that he hurt the Brazilian and began to pour on punches in the corner, very nearly putting the Chute Boxe fighter out. But De Castro dug deep and hung on to the end of the round.

The third period saw a reversal of fortunes as De Castro connected with a grazing high kick to Kawamura’s head. The Japanese fighter stayed on his feet for a few seconds after impact, but his legs eventually failed him and he slowly went down to the mat. De Castro followed to inflict more damage, only to see the PANCRASEism fighter go for an ankle lock attempt.

After escaping the leg submission attempt, both fighters got to their feet and De Castro scrambled to his opponent’s back, peppering his legs with knees and trying to drag him to the ground for the rest of the round.

The fight went to the judges and it was declared a draw.
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