Aoki cranking an Achilles lock on Kawajiri - photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Shinya Aoki made it look easy.
Aoki submitted Japanese rival Tatsuya Kawajiri with a first-round Achilles lock, as he defended his Dream lightweight championship in the Dream 15 headliner on Saturday at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Kawajiri met his demise 1:53 into the opening stanza, as he succumbed to a submission for the first time in almost five years.
The 27-year-old Aoki wasted no time in attacking Kawajiri’s legs. Sensing he was in peril, Kawajiri struggled for more than a minute to free himself, landing a pair of heel strikes to Aoki’s face in desperation. It was all for naught. Aoki tilted his body back, increased the torque on Kawajiri’s foot and left the grimacing former Shooto welterweight titleholder no choice but to surrender.
Aoki -- who dropped a one-sided unanimous decision to Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez in April -- still has never lost back-to-back fights as a professional. The defeat snapped Kawajiri’s four-fight winning streak.
JZ Decisions Kikuno
In the co-main event, American Top Team’s Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante notched his first win in nearly three years, as he took a split decision from highly regarded Deep lightweight champion Katsunori Kikuno. Two of the three ringside judges sided with the oft-injured Brazilian, who entered the non-title match reeling from back-to-back losses to Aoki and Kawajiri.
A contentious first round featured takedowns from Cavalcante and kicks to the legs and body from Kikuno. Cavalcante pushed ahead in round two, however, as he scored with a quick takedown, moved seamlessly to mount and threatened the Japanese standout with a rear-naked choke once Kikuno surrendered his back.
Cavalcante, a two-time K-1 Hero’s tournament winner, kept a dominant position throughout the decisive round, as he peppered Kikuno with punches after abandoning the choke. Kikuno finally escaped to his feet in the closing seconds, but by then, Cavalcante had salted away the victory, his first since a September 2007 submission against Andre Amado.
Mousasi, Mizuno Advance in Grand Prix
Gegard Mousasi needed a shade more than half a minute to dispatch UFC veteran Jake O’Brien in the Dream light heavyweight grand prix semi-finals.
O’Brien -- who failed to meet his contracted weight for the match -- pressed for a takedown inside the first 10 seconds and backed the stoic Mousasi into the ropes. In his haste, he left his neck exposed to the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, and Mousasi wrenched a standing guillotine choke for the tapout 31 seconds into round one.
The 24-year-old Mousasi bounced back nicely from his April defeat to the unbeaten Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, as he recorded his 16th win in 17 fights. He advances to the grand prix final, where he will meet Tatsuya Mizuno, a surprise submission winner over Melvin Manhoef.
Mizuno weathered the dynamite in Manhoef’s famed hands, even though a right hook from the powerful Dutchman planted him on the seat of his pants inside the first two minutes. He later scored with a trip takedown from the clinch, passed Manhoef’s guard with little resistance and threatened to finish the fight with a keylock.
Ultimately, the two men returned to their feet, where Mizuno swarmed Manhoef with heavy punches and dropped the Strikeforce veteran in the corner. From there, he set up the kimura and forced Manhoef to yield 7:38 into the first period.
Omigawa Taps Jung
World-ranked featherweight Michihiro Omigawa submitted winless South Korean export Young Sam Jung with a first-round guillotine choke, as the 34-year-old Hidehiko Yoshida protégé posted his fourth victory in as many appearances. The end came 7:31 into round one.
Omigawa dominated the lopsided affair from start to finish. A finalist in the 2009 Sengoku featherweight grand prix, he knocked down Jung with an early flurry, bloodied him with ground-and-pound and threatened with an arm-in guillotine choke. Jung survived but only prolonged the inevitable.
After a restart, Omigawa rattled his foe with a series of right and left hooks, forcing the South Korean to pull guard. From there, Omigawa pressed forward with another guillotine choke, moved to full mount and coaxed the tapout.
Mitsuhiro Ishida def. Daiki Hata -- Unanimous Decision
Kazuhiro Nakamura def. Karl Amoussou -- Unanimous Decision
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