Unorthodox Okude Submits Uchimura at ZST

By Jason Nowe and Stephen Martinez Feb 24, 2008
TOKYO, Feb. 24 -- ZST topped off a busy weekend of MMA in Japan on Sunday with the 16th event of its flagship series from within the confines of MMA hotspot Shinjuku FACE.

The main event pitted ZST welterweight champion Yojiro Uchimura against MMA oddity Masayuki Okude in a non-title fight.

One of the most unorthodox fighters in MMA today, Okude is similar to Deep's featherweight champion Masakazu Imanari (Pictures), ZST veteran Takumi Yano (Pictures) and Shooto's Katsuya Toida (Pictures). His in-ring antics and bizarre fighting style keep opponents guessing what he's going to do next.

Despite all this craziness, there's no doubt that Okude can grapple. The welterweight fighter is extremely nimble, very good off his back and can transition from one submission to another before his opponents know what they're locked in.

However, Uchimura had a strong start in this one, pounding Okude's legs with low kicks and escaping most of what the unconventional fighter threw at him. It wasn't long before Okude worked his strange magic, though.

Off a failed takedown attempt, Okude grabbed his opponent's leg. Not seeing any immediate threat, Uchimura spun out of the hold to get a better position, only to see Okude pull a very slick transition into an ankle lock. The Gold's Gym South Tokyo fighter tightened up the technique, forcing Uchimura to tap at the 3:21 mark of the first round.

While ZST rules prohibit closing the guard and punching to the head of a downed fighter, the promotion has been experimenting with full MMA rules in some fights. One of the evening's vale tudo rules bouts saw Paraestra Hachioji's Masanori Kanehara (Pictures) square off against Urono Dojo's Shunichi Shimizu (Pictures).

The two fighters were fairly even in the first round. Both scored reversals and escaped the submissions they found themselves in, but the wheels fell off Shimizu's wagon early in the second when Kanehara quickly scored a takedown and passed to the side. From there, the Paraestra Hachioji fighter made no mistake, slapping on a tight armbar and forcing Shimuzu to tap out 42 seconds into the round.

In his fight against U-File Camp Akabane's Kenji Nagai, Keisuke Onuma took a hard shot to the groin early and was in very obvious pain. Officials decided to push the fight back on the card in order to give Onuma some time to recover.

After the restart, perhaps still feeling the effects of the low blow, Onuma didn't fair so well. Nagai sprawled on a takedown attempt and ended up with full mount. He then caught Onuma in an armbar, submitting him at 3:22 of the first.

ZST veteran Masashi Takeda (Pictures) has been on quite a roll over the last two years, going 7-0 in his last seven starts. Tonight, under full MMA rules, he squared off against AACC's Ryo "Toraji" Nakajima.

Nakajima came out swinging in this one, charging at his opponent with punches. Takeda covered up and weathered the storm, eventually securing a clinch and firing back with good knees to the midsection.

The second round saw both guys throwing leather until Nakajima scored a takedown. The AACC fighter made it all the way to the mount, but he couldn't capitalize on the position before Takeda reversed him and moments later had him locked in an armbar. With no way to escape, Nakajima tapped at 2:31.

P's Lab Tokyo's Shinya Sato (Pictures) was in a world of trouble early in his fight against Emerson Azuma (Pictures), as the Akimoto Dojo fighter got him in a tight guillotine followed by an even tighter triangle. But despite his luck in the opening few minutes, the ZST veteran hung on and eventually escaped.

Once back on his feet, Sato connected with a hard punch that sent Azuma to the mat. Sato followed his opponent down and quickly applied an armbar for the tapout at the 4:48 mark.

Tatsuhiko Nishizaki defeated Shinya Miura by armbar at 1:32 of the first round.

Hiroyuki Ota (Pictures) and Yojiro Toyama fought to a draw.
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