Santiago, Hioki Upset in Sengoku

By Kris Hartrum Nov 6, 2009
TOKYO -- EliteXC veteran Mamed Khalidov stopped middleweight champion Jorge Santiago on first-round strikes in a non-title bout at Sengoku “Eleventh Battle” on Saturday at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

After taking a heavy leg kick, Santiago executed a takedown and brought the Polish import to the mat. However, fortune was not with the American Top Team standout, as Khalidov landed a hammerfist from the bottom that dazed Santiago and set the stage for the finish.

Khalidov flipped Santiago onto his back and dropped punches until the referee intervened. Unbeaten in 18 bouts, he brought a dramatic end to Santiago’s impressive nine-fight winning streak and announced his arrival as an elite heavyweight on the world stage.

Omigawa Stuns Hioki in Controversial Decision

In the “Eleventh Battle” headliner, Sengoku featherweight grand prix runner-up Michihiro Omigawa won a close decision over former TKO champion Hatsu Hioki with a three-round display of precision and dedication.

In the early stages of the first period, Omigawa landed a crushing right straight that caused Hioki to stumble into the ropes and try for a single-leg. The move landed Hioki in dominant position on the ground, where he proceeded to take Omigawa’s back and transition to an armbar attempt. The seasoned judoka defended the attack with relative ease in the waning moments of the round, as Omigawa broke free and fired away with strikes at the bell.

The two featherweights exchanged on the feet in the second, as Omigawa used excellent head movement and counterstrikes to keep Hioki off-balance. When the action did hit the ground, Hioki controlled the Yoshida Dojo fighter. They came out swinging in round three, and Omigawa slipped more punches than he ate. Hioki pulled guard late, as both fighters turned loose as they tangled in the ropes.

Ultimately the judges sided with Omigawa, who admitted afterward he did not believe he won the fight.

Masvidal Pummels Former Champion Kitaoka

American Top Team’s Jorge Masvidal knocked former Sengoku lightweight champion Satoru Kitaoka further down the 155-pound ladder, as he stopped the Japanese standout with second-round punches on the ground.

Kitaoka shot for the legs as expected in the first round, as he secured a takedown and moved to an Achilles’ lock. However, Masvidal refused to back down and dished out a heavy dose of punches on the former champion. By the time the round ended, Kitaoka was clearly hurt, as he had to be helped to his corner after the bell.

Still, he stayed in the fight. Kitaoka scored with a double-leg takedown in the second, but Masvidal’s game plan worked to perfection. After a restart, Masvidal dropped his opponent during an exchange, swarmed and finished the fight. It was the second straight loss for Kitaoka, who surrendered his title to Mizuno Hirota at Sengoku 9 three months ago.

Yokota Decisions Mitsuoka

In what was essentially a lightweight title eliminator, Kazunori Yokota earned a hard-fought unanimous decision against Eiji Mitsuoka.

Neither fighter gained an upper hand early, but the momentum shifted when Mitsuoka caught a Yokota kick and scored with a belly-to-back takedown. The Grabaka gym’s Yokotoa answered with his own crowd-pleasing throw, which set the tone for the fight.

Round three produced the most notable turning point, as Yokota peppered Mitsuoka with front kicks and raw punching power. Mitsuoka did his best to close the distance and clinch, but his strategy proved ineffective. With 30 seconds to go, Yokoto dropped Mitsuoka with a hard right hand and unleashed a hefty stomp, putting en exclamation point on the decision victory.

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