“The Outlaw” Defeats King Of Pancrase

By Jason Nowe and Stephen Martinez May 28, 2007
TOKYO, May 27 -- While much of the world had their eyes set to Las Vegas for the Chuck Liddell (Pictures)-Quinton Jackson (Pictures) rematch, here in the Land of the Rising Sun all eyes focused on the artificial islands of Odaiba as Differ Ariake played host to Japan's first cage-fighting promotion, Greatest Common Multiple-promoted Cage Force.

Two welterweight tournament quarterfinal bouts, along with seven regular matches, filled out the bill.

In the main event, current welterweight King of Pancrase Daizo Ishige (Pictures) squared off against CageWarriors veteran Dan Hardy (Pictures), with the winner looking to continue on to face Hidetaka Monma (Pictures) in the tournament semifinals, likely scheduled for September 8.

To say that Japanese KOP champions have had bad luck outside of the Pancrase ring would be a major understatement -- current KOP flyweight champion Yoshiro Maeda (Pictures) lost in less than a minute to Joe Pearson (Pictures) in PRIDE Bushido 13; former heavyweight KOP Yoshiki Takahashi (Pictures) was knocked out twice in PRIDE, then again in HERO'S; former welterweight KOP Katsuya Inoue (Pictures) was beaten in just over a minute by Akira Kikuchi (Pictures) in HERO'S, then later knocked out by Yoshiyuki Yoshida (Pictures) in the Cage Force tournament.

And then, of course, we have the most tragic figure of all, current light heavyweight KOP Yuki Kondo (Pictures), going one for six in the PRIDE ring (albeit against some of the top guys in the promotion, and with the Henderson and Nakamura decision losses being highly questionable).

On this evening, the Japanese KOP curse continued.

Hardy did an excellent job of using his long arms and legs to pelt Ishige, rocking the Japanese welterweight badly in the first and continuing to pour it on throughout the rest of the fight.

In the second, "The Outlaw" very nearly submitted his opponent with an excellent triangle-turned-armbar attempt, which Ishige narrowly escaped. The Japanese fighter turned the tables, taking Hardy's back and applying a strong rear-naked choke that the English fighter had to struggle hard to defend against.

Ishige looked very tired going into the third round, moving slowly and bleeding profusely from the nose. Hardy continued to pepper him from the outside, landing his right hand and low kicks. Later in the round the Nottingham native easily scored a takedown on his sluggish opponent, dropping elbows on Ishige and pounding his body.

Ishige managed to get his sprawl going in the last 30 seconds of the fight, but it was far too little, too late. Hardy dominated throughout the three-round fight, which went to the judges. Hardy walked away with a big upset victory.

After beating Katsuya Inoue (Pictures) at Cage Force 2 to advance to the quarterfinals, Yoshiyuki Yoshida (Pictures) was supposed to face seeded Australian fighter Justin Turtle. However, Turtle injured his ankle in training and couldn't compete. Instead fellow Australian Matt Cain stepped up to take his place.

Yoshida managed to make pretty quick work of Cain, taking his opponent down with a judo toss early on. From here, the Japanese fighter threw down punches from the top, eventually landing four hard shots from within the guard that rocked the young Australian and prompted the referee to jump in and call a stop to the bout at 2:59 of first.

With this victory, Yoshida will now face off against Akira Kikuchi (Pictures), while on the other side Dan Hardy (Pictures) fights Hidetaka Monma (Pictures). The semifinals of the welterweight tournament will most likely occur alongside the semifinals of the lightweight tournament.

Tetsuo Seto did a good job of scoring a takedown after Hideki Miyatani launched a charging flurry early in the first. The Japanese fighter scored the mount and worked for an arm-triangle, but couldn't finish the submission before his opponent escaped.

Seto scored the mount twice more in the second, grinding his forearm into his opponent's face but failing to really capitalize on the advantage before first being stood up by the referee, then later hearing the final bell.

The fight went to the judges and Seto took the unanimous victory.

In his battle against Toshikazu "ISE" Iseno, Seto's Kyokushin Kaikan stablemate Yoshinori Ikeda (Pictures) inadvertently up-kicked his opponent in the eye, causing a prolonged doctor's stoppage.

While the ringside doctors suggested that the fight be called, Iseno insisted that he could continue, eventually convincing them to allow the fight to go on. The Purebred fighter resumed pounding Ikeda from the guard, but again had to pause briefly after again being hit in the eye.

Off the second restart, Iseno went for a leg submission, but Ikeda defended well and both fighters got to their feet. After a bit more jousting, Ikeda connected with a beautiful right hand, sending his opponent crashing to the mat. Iseno followed up with ground punches until the referee call for the stoppage.

Upon returning to their feet after a brief exchange on the ground, Satoshi Nishino (Pictures) connected with a beauty of a flying knee on Koji Yoshida (Pictures), sending him crashing to the mat. Nishino kept the momentum going his way, quickly taking his opponent's back and spending the rest of the round trying to sink in a rear-naked choke.

Despite the problems he encountered in the first, Yoshida came back strong in the second, going after a leg submission attempt and raining down punches and elbows from within the guard.

The fight went the distance and was declared a draw.

Both Taiyo Nakahara (Pictures) and In Seok Kim (Pictures) were looking for a win after previous Cage Force losses.

Nakahara got a takedown quickly, passing to side and securing an arm-triangle choke. Kim struggled to escape, but the technique was too deep, forcing him to tapout at the 1:50 mark of the first.

After getting the takedown, Yukiya Naito (Pictures) quickly took Mako Dragon's back in their light heavyweight bout. Dragon worked to escape, but ended up lying stomach down on the mat with Naito on top of him. From here, Naito made no mistake, sinking in the choke for the tapout victory early in the first.

Hayato Shimizu made quick work of Hirokazu Nishino, needing only 23 seconds to score the TKO with punches.
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