Sung Hwan Stops Nakao at Deep 33

By Stephen Martinez Dec 12, 2007
TOKYO, Dec. 12, 2007 -- Once in a while, every promotion is bound to put together a card or two that leaves fans and media alike scratching their heads.

With so many promoters in Japan and regular shows every week, it's common to think not everything is bound to be perfect in the MMA landscape of the big island. Wednesday was one of those nights with DEEP 33 impact at the Japanese Mecca of MMA, Korakuen Hall.

The main event matched pro wrestler and occasional comedian Hidetada Irie (Pictures) against All Japan kickboxer Yuji Sakuragi (Pictures) for the "unofficial" DEEP heavyweight title.

That is not a typo. DEEP brass, commanded by Shigeru Saeki, announced this title match as "unofficial."

The truth of the matter is, DEEP doesn't have a heavyweight title or a heavyweight champion. Yet Saeki and Irie have been running these half-comedy, half-gimmick sketches for the last couple of shows, with Irie proclaiming himself DEEP heavyweight champion. Irie even went as far as to make his own title, similar to those used by DEEP to crown their real champions.

Theatrics aside, these two traded in the middle of the ring. Irie took command of the action by clinching Sakuragi, only to drop to the mat and look for submissions with Sakuragi inside his guard.

The second and third rounds turned out to be a little more action packed. Sakuragi displayed no takedown defense at all, and Irie worked from inside his opponent's guard with weak punches. Occasionally Irie forced Sakuragi into bad spots, like when he took Sakuragi's back but without much left in the gas tank to finish.

In the end, the fight was declared a draw.

Korean prospect Pang Sung Hwan (Pictures) has made quite a name for himself in DEEP by taking on the promotion's bigger stars.

In his short career, Sung Hwan holds a brutal KO over Dokonjonosuke Mishima (Pictures) in a tag-team MMA match and most recently a decision over DEEP No.1 lightweight contender Yoshihiro Tomioka (Pictures).

After Wednesday, Sung Hwan can now add another big name to his list.

The co-main event of the evening pitted him against former DEEP welterweight champion Jutaro Nakao (Pictures). As typical with every Nakao fight, the Shooto veteran started slow, almost immobile in the middle of the ring, only to later move into one corner and wait for his opponent to attack.

Sung Hwan was rather tentative to engage but decided to push forward with a jumping knee. Nakao stopped him in mid-air, then power slammed him to the ground. From there Nakao tried to work his submission game, but Sung Hwan escaped under the ropes. On the feet again, both fighters engaged in a Greco-Roman battle in the corner, with neither taking advantage.

Nakao went back to his usual self in the second round. He stood still in one corner while waiting for a reaction from his opponent. Sung Hwan tried to close the gap, but Nakao opened fire with a kick that was blocked by Sung Hwan.

The Korean then answered with a barrage of punches until one straight left caught Nakao on the jaw, sending the veteran down for the night and giving the young Sung Hwan a TKO victory at 1:15 of the second round.

Female MMA diva Hisae Watanabe (Pictures) was in action against Genkaam Lookjuapoakum of Thailand.

To label this match pointless would be not too far from the truth. Lookjuapoakum is a muay Thai fighter with no MMA training that was making her debut in the sport against the promotion's former champion and one of Japan's top females.

Watanabe opened the action with low and middle kicks to feel her opponent out. After some circling and sporadic kicks here and there, Watanabe clinched and took Lookjuapoakum down by dropping on her back with the Thai fighter inside her guard. From here it took Watanabe mere seconds to set and close the deal with an armbar at 1:54 of the first round.

Ex-PancraseISM team member Kosei Kubota was originally scheduled to fight another ex-PancraseISM fighter in Sen Nakadai (Pictures). But when Nakadai was sidelined due to a back injury, DEEP decided to give the opportunity to Future Fights welterweight prospect Kitaro.

It didn't take long for the rookie to show why he was the winner of DEEP's semi-amateur welterweight Future Fights project. In only 37 seconds, he crushed the veteran Kubota with a barrage of punches in the corner after Kubota had failed a takedown attempt.

Jumpei Hamada scored another quick knockout, his coming in 41 seconds over Shunsuke Inoue (Pictures). After both fighters threw bombs in the middle of the ring, Hamada stunned his opponent with a left hook and later finished off Inoue with another left for the referee stoppage.

Other results:
Hirohito Namekawa def. Stalker Ichikawa by guillotine choke at 2:20 1R
Sojiro Orui (Pictures) vs. Masataka Chinushi (Pictures) drew after 2R
Akitoshi Kitada def. Isamu Sugiuchi (Pictures) by decision 3-0
Andrei Watanabe def. Heo Min Suk by decision 2-0
Koichirou Matsumoto def. Koji Yoshida (Pictures) by TKO at 2:04 2R
Yasushiro Kitazaki def. Yuki Inoue (Pictures)*

* Inoue's corner threw in the towel at the beginning of the second round due to a bad knockdown suffered by Inoue in the first.
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