Kondo Wins, Not Impressive

By Tony Loiseleur Aug 27, 2008
TOKYO -- It took a while, but Yuki Kondo (Pictures) eventually put away journeyman Ryuji Ohori (Pictures) on Wednesday halfway through the main event of Pancrase’s latest Shining Tour installment.

Stiff, with his knees locked and his left arm extended for no apparent reason, Kondo kept Ohori at bay with stinging inside leg kicks. As a result, a flustered Ohori dove for takedowns. Kondo stuffed many attempts, but Ohori doggedly pressed forward, putting him in the corner before taking him down with an outside leg trip. Ohori then spent most of the round on top, and round two started to look like more of the same.

After a stuffed takedown attempt, Ohori pushed Kondo against the corner, where he executed a picture-perfect harai goshi throw to land in side mount. Kondo immediately fought back to his feet, only to have Ohori shoot in on him again.

This time, however, Kondo was prepared, stuffing Ohori and following up with a soccer kick to the face that stunned the journeyman long enough for Kondo to pounce. Taking Ohori’s back, Kondo pounded away with alternating hooks as blood pooled on the canvas beneath Ohori’s face.

While Kondo was mostly striking the arms of a blocking Ohori, the carnage forced the referee to step in and call the bout at 1:41 in the second round. The win guarantees the veteran Pancrasist a spot in Sengoku’s middleweight grand prix next month, but if Wednesday’s performance against Ohori is any indication, Kondo appears to have a long and difficult road ahead.

Featherweights Kenji Arai (Pictures) and Manabu Inoue (Pictures) traded kicks, takedowns and reversals for 15 minutes. Since Arai had the advantage on the feet, Inoue shot for takedowns early, not realizing that Arai had equivalent skills on the canvas. Inoue looking to pass more and position himself for a submission, and Arai took top solely to punch and throw hammer fists.

With the fight looking even by the third, a flying double stomp grazed Inoue’s chest to put Arai on top for the final moments of the bout. In the end, Arai netted the unanimous decision: 30-29, 30-28, 30-28.

Seiya Kawahara destroyed his competition yet again, becoming the first man to finish Kentaro Imaizumi (Pictures). After a minute of measuring his opponent, Kawahara unleashed with a savage flurry that opened a nasty cut on the head of Imaizumi.

To his credit, Imaizumi managed to take Kawahara’s back as Kawahara followed him down for the finish. Imaizumi was bleeding profusely, however, forcing the referee to call the bout at 2:09 of the first round.

Yuichi Ikari (Pictures) grinded away from the guard of Eriya Matsuda (Pictures) until the referee intervened at 4:10 of the second round. While Ikari had nothing for Matsuda on the feet, Matsuda had nothing for Ikari on the ground and conceded takedown after takedown.

Masahiro Toryu (Pictures) decisioned Tomoyoshi Iwamiya (Pictures) after two rounds of chasing him and hitting mostly air. Though excellent in avoiding Toryu’s attacks, Iwamiya could not pull the trigger to return fire, nor could he defend the two takedowns that put him momentarily on his back. While one judge ruled the bout 20-20, Toryu slipped by with the majority decision as the remaining two judges ruled the bout 20-19 in his favor.

Sengoku-sponsored Maximo Blanco looked fierce in his Pancrase debut, though his bout left fans wanting a conclusion. Sucked into an early triangle, Blanco picked Yuki Yashima up and powerbombed him, unintentionally head butting him in the process.

Blanco immediately went into ground-and-pound mode as referee Yoshinori Umeki tried to step between the two. Blanco did not stop. He continued to punch and even attempted a stomp on the prone Yashima. Though Blanco believed he had won, the referee soon explained that due to the head butt, Yashima could not continue, ruling the bout a no contest at a mere 56 seconds in the first.

Hiroki Aoki wanted nothing to do with Steven Magdaleno on the feet in their lightweight Neo Blood final. He attempted to clinch or bring the bout to the ground throughout, but then settled for pulling guard. It was a fatal mistake, as Magdaleno pounded out Aoki moments later at 4:45 in the first period.

The win not only netted Magdaleno the Neo Blood crown at lightweight, but also the 2008 Neo Blood MVP award as well.

Hitoshi Saito narrowly decisioned Yasutomo Tanaka in a lackluster featherweight Neo Blood final. Neither man appeared to do much damage. Two judges ruled the bout 20-20, awarding a “must decision” to Saito, while the final judge ruled it 20-19 for Saito for the unanimous decision.

In the fight of the night, Takuya Eizumi and Isao Hirose fought tooth and nail for the bantamweight Neo Blood crown. The first stanza saw Hirose getting the better of Eizumi with thunderous ground-and-pound. Eizumi dug deep in the second, though, and lit Hirose up with reckless winging shots. The punches left Eizumi open for the takedown, however, which Hirose capitalized on. All three judges gave the bout to Hirose by a hair, 20-19 all around.

Other results

Takuma Ishii (Pictures) def. Tomohiro Ataniya -- rear-naked choke 2:37 R2
Shunichi Shimizu (Pictures) def. Junro Kuhoda -- triangle choke 2:37 R1
Shigetomo Takahashi def. Yuichi Inafuku -- armbar 4:33 R1
Shingo Suzuki def. Kenji Narita -- armbar 3:56 R2
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