Aoki-JZ Ruled No Contest, Six Others Advance

Lightweight GP moves forward

By Jason Nowe and Stephen Martinez Mar 15, 2008
Kultar Gill (Pictures) proved a lot tougher for former Shooto welterweight champion Tatsuya Kawajiri (Pictures) than many expected. Gill showed good balance and a good sprawl, forcing the Japanese fighter to work hard to complete takedown attempts. The Canadian was also surprisingly good at getting back to his feet when put to the mat.

For the most part, Kawajiri was able to pass his opponent's guard. He had Gill's back but couldn't sink in the rear-naked choke. He had side and north-south control but couldn't get an armbar. Kawajiri even had a strong arm-triangle attempt, but Gill escaped.

Still, the native of British Columbia spent the fight mostly reacting to Kawajiri's pressure and didn't really have the Japanese fighter in any serious danger. Lasting against a fighter the caliber of Kawajiri is a feat in itself, but in the end Kawajiri took the unanimous decision.

Andre Amade (Pictures) had a pretty good start against Fight Factory's Eddie Alvarez (Pictures), catching him with a big punch that sent him briefly to the mat. The American fighter rallied back with takedowns and dominant ground control, though, taking side and mount positions while raining down punches. Amade tried to shrimp away on the mat, but the onslaught of punches was just too much. The referee stopped the fight at the 6:47 mark of the first.

Mitsuhiro Ishida (Pictures) scored all the takedowns in his matchup against Korean judoka Bu Kyung Jung (Pictures). However, he really didn't mount much offense on the mat other than throw ground punches.

Jung had a very solid guard. Much like his display against Shinya Aoki (Pictures) in his MMA debut last December, Jung was excellent off his back, going for armbars that Ishida had to think fast in order to avoid. Ishida's constant takedowns secured him the victory, however, and he walked away with the unanimous decision.

Like Ishida, Olympic wrestling silver medalist Katsuhiko Nagata (Pictures) didn't really do anything other than punch from the guard after scoring takedowns on sambo champion Artur Oumakhanov (Pictures). For a while, the Russian fighter was actually moving his head side to side on the mat to slip the ground punches rather than raising his hands to cover up from the blows.

Oumakhanov scored some reversals, but he couldn't put his opponent in any serious danger either. In the end it was Nagata's takedowns and striking on the ground that wooed the judges, awarding him the unanimous victory.

Japanese Olympic wrestler Kazuyuki Miyata (Pictures) was in control of the takedowns in his bout against Brazilian Top Team's Luiz Firmino (Pictures), scoring shots and two very slick judo tosses. The Brazilian, however, made up for this deficit by shining on the ground, sweeping his opponent in the guard and making his way to side control. From there it wasn't long before "Buscape" had Miyata's back. Eventually he sank in the rear-naked choke 7:37 into the first for the tapout.

Joachim Hansen (Pictures) and Kotetsu Boku (Pictures) put on a striking clinic in their tournament matchup. Both guys threw a lot of leather in his one, but it was the southpaw Hansen who really connected with a murderous left cross that often sent Boku to the mat.

In the clinch, Hansen again was in the driver's seat, swimming in and scoring Greco-Roman takedowns. On the mat "Hellboy" had Boku's back, then transitioned into an armbar and finally a triangle but couldn't put away his savvy opponent.

The two fighters pounded it out in the closing moments of the fight. Boku had a nice jab and good combinations, but Hansen had the power behind his punches and it showed by the number of times he staggered his foe. The fight went the distance, and Hansen picked up the unanimous decision.

Coming off a disappointing showing in the UFC, Pride open-weight grand prix champion Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic took a hiatus from the American promotion and returned to his fight roots in Japan. Originally expected to fight Yoshihiro Nakao (Pictures), he instead faced Pancrase heavyweight Tatsuya Mizuno (Pictures), who stepped up to the plate on two weeks' notice.

To just about no one's surprise, Filipovic walked through his young and relatively inexperienced opponent. After some brief clashes, "Cro Cop" connected with a right hand at the ropes, followed by a left that sent the Japanese fighter down. The Croatian followed up with ground punches until the referee ended the one-sided fight after 56 seconds.

Afterward, "Cro Cop" praised his opponent for taking the challenge on such short notice when no other fighter would. He also said it felt like home to be back fighting in Japan.

In other non-tournament action, Hayato Sakurai (Pictures) made pretty short work of Wajyutsu Keisyukai A3's Hidetaka Monma (Pictures). Sakurai caught his opponent with a punch as he was coming in, sending him to the mat. From there, Sakurai rained down punches until the referee stopped the bout at the 4:12 mark of the first.

It didn't take the somewhat bizarre, yet always amusing Ikuhisa Minowa (Pictures) long to get his much larger Korean opponent, Bum Chan Kang, to the ground in their matchup. Once on the mat, Minowa went for a kimura attempt, then surprisingly and gracefully transitioned to a kneebar to score the tapout victory 1:25 into the first.
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