Deep, M-1 Challenge Partnership Kicks Off

By Stephen Martinez Jul 17, 2008
TOKYO -- A sparsely populated Korakuen Hall saw the first show Thursday in a new collaboration between Deep and M-1 Challenge. As part of the Global M-1 Challenge Tournament, Team USA clashed with Team France and Japan with Holland in a series of matches spanning five weight divisions.

Team Japan, which was playing host to undefeated Holland, came up short in a string of upsets and knockouts.

In the middleweight division, Yuta Watanabe (Pictures) refused to touch gloves and then showed he had no intention to stand with Jason Jones by immediately rushing in for an ill-fated clinch. Jones, a former Dutch national champion and junior world champion in judo, quickly sent his foe flying to the mat with a textbook hari-goshi.

Watanabe managed to scramble his way back to his feet after the surprise throw but had even less luck there, as Jones' stiff jabs and combinations picked him apart. Watanabe finally managed some offense late in the round when he landed on Jones’ back after a scramble. There, Watanabe attempted a rear-naked choke that Jones chose not to actively defend for quite some.

“He got my back, but I was in no serious trouble,” Jones said postfight. “He got me in a rear-naked choke from the back, but I had my chin against my chest. I knew it was the end of the round. I was hoping he would gas himself out for the second round. I know when I'm in trouble and I know when I'm not in trouble, and then I wasn't in trouble.”

In the second, Watanabe shot for a takedown right as the bell sounded and finished it after fighting with the ring ropes. On the ground he quickly passed to mount, where Jones gave his back for the second time. After another choke attempt by Watanabe, Jones worked his way back into his opponent’s guard and delivered a vicious barrage of hammer fists for the win.

“He got my back again and then he got my back again and then, I think, it suddenly just hit me, man,” Jones said. “I'd had enough of this Watanabe, and I just turned his lights out.”

It was a surprisingly dominant performance for the Dutch product, who could be an interesting prospect if his ground game can stand the test of a more accomplished grappler.

Daisuke Nakamura (Pictures) won a decision over Bogdan Christea, although the victory wasn't without significant effort. Nakamura avoided Christea's lunging jabs to respond with one of his own that dropped his Dutch opponent early in the first. Sensing an easy win, Nakamura then attempted two kimura attempts that were easily avoided. Back on the feet, Christea was the more active fighter, darting in with his jabs. Nakamura, however, scored with his kicks and more efficient punching.

In the second, Nakamura changed it up. Over the course of the round, he attempted a plethora of armbars, flying armbars, triangle chokes and a kneebar. Christea proved impossible to submit, though, and made Nakamura pay for it every time with his ground-and-pound in one of the best rounds in recent memory.

In the end, all three judges awarded Nakamura the win.

Kamil Uygun looked impressive early in his bout. He came out aggressively with powerful punches and kicks, although he soon gassed. Yuji Sakuragi (Pictures) seemed to be taking the upper hand when Uygun locked on a clinch and delivered a series of knees that connected cleanly with Sakuragi's eye.

Sakuragi went limp, and the ref called the fight as the ring doctor jumped over a table and through the ropes to see to the fighter, who was bleeding profusely out of a cut just above his left eye.

Against all odds, Romano de los Reyes won a close decision over hometown favorite Ken Hamamura (Pictures) in a difficult fight to call. While Hamamura constantly pressed the action and moved forward, Reyes dismantled his opponent in the first with vastly superior striking that caused Hamamura to switch stances often to protect his legs.

The second saw Reyes start to gas. Hamamura gradually took control, although it was close. Going against the old tradition of the hometown decision, Reyes got the nod from two judges for a majority decision.

Representing Team USA, Mike Dolce (Pictures) decided he had had enough in the second round of his match with Karl Amoussou (Pictures). After getting dropped by low kicks multiple times, Dolce received consecutive body kicks that caused the TUF veteran to suddenly stop fighting, wave his hand and casually stroll back to his corner. Amoussou took a moment to figure out what was going on, then pounced on Dolce in his corner and pounded on him until the referee caught up.

Team USA, plagued with last-minute replacements, dropped two more fights to lose the series 2-3.

Full results:

M-1 Challenge: Japan vs. Holland

Over 93 kg: Jessie Gibbs (Holland) def. Katsuhisa Fujii (Pictures) (Japan) -- KO 1:34 R1
93 kg: Kamil Uygun (Holland) def. Yuji Sakuragi (Pictures) (Japan) -- TKO R1
84 kg: Jason Jones (Holland) def. Yuta Watanabe (Pictures) (Japan) -- TKO (hammer fists) 2:03 R2
76 kg: Romano de los Reyes (Holland) def. Ken Hamamura (Pictures) (Japan) -- majority decision
70 kg: Daisuke Nakamura (Pictures) (Japan) def. Bogdan Christea (Holland) -- unanimous decision

Holland wins: 4-1

M-1 Challenge: France vs. USA

Over 93 kg: Malick Ndiaye (France) def. James Jack (USA) -- kimura 3:54 R1
93 kg: Christian Mpumbu Ndjoku (France) won TKO :32 R1
84 kg: Karl Amoussou (Pictures) (France) def. Mike Dolce (Pictures) (USA) -- TKO :41 R2
76 kg: Jake Ellenberger (Pictures) (USA) def. Farouk Lakebir (France) -- majority decision
70 kg: David Gardner (Pictures) (USA) def. Samuel Judes (France) -- TKO 3:26 R1

France wins: 3-2

Single fights:

Tatsuya Mizuno (Pictures) def. Yoshiyuki Nakanishi (Pictures) -- KO (uppercut) 4:13 R1
Yuki Ito (Pictures) def. Takaaki Aoki (Pictures) -- majority decision
Seigo Inoue (Pictures) def. Nobuhiro "Mike" Hayakawa -- majority decision
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