Hiroyuki Takaya got his first win since 2011 on Sunday. | File photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
With two striking specialists sharing the cage, the main event of Vale Tudo Japan’s latest offering promised fireworks, and Hiroyuki Takaya delivered by knocking out Yojiro Uchimura with a barrage of punches at 1:27 of the opening round.
The featherweight matchup was the final bout on the 13-fight card of “VTJ 4th” at Ota City Gymnasium in Tokyo on Sunday afternoon.
Uchimura (11-7-3), who came off a majority draw with Marlon Sandro at Pancrase 252, used his height and reach to good effect in the early exchanges, successfully landing a left uppercut-straight right hand combination along with some solid kicks.
Takaya (18-11-2) seemed to be struggling with his rangy opponent, but the former Dream 145-pound champion was merely biding his time and exploded into life a little less than 90 seconds into the round. A right hand from the “Streetfight Bancho” knocked Uchimura back, and a couple of follow-up punches finished the job. The stoppage victory snapped a three-fight winless streak for the 36-year-old Takaya, who was not the only notable Japanese MMA veteran to enjoy success on the night.
Caol Uno, 38, prevailed in the bantamweight co-main event against Jesse Brock, defeating the American by unanimous decision after a close and competitive three-round fight.
Uno (30-16-5) controlled the majority of the first five minutes after taking the back of Brock (16-8) and forcing him to defend against multiple rear-naked choke attempts. The second stanza was far closer, with the American able to secure a couple of eye-catching takedowns.
By the third round, the pace had dropped, and Uno demonstrated superior accuracy in the striking exchanges to score with left hooks and body kicks. Brock wanted a big takedown and, with seconds remaining, he got one, only for the former UFC title contender to pop straight back up.
All three judges voted in favor of the Japanese fighter with scorecards of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27. With his third straight win over respectable American competition, Uno moved closer to his avowed goal of securing another run in the UFC.
The card also played host to the quarterfinals of the VTJ flyweight grand prix. Hawaiian Kana Hyatt (13-12) was the first to book his spot in the final four, defeating Freddy Arteaga (4-3) by unanimous decision. The other American in the semifinals will be Czar Sklavos (9-3), who finished Shooto mainstay Mamoru Yamaguchi (26-9-4) with a rear-naked choke at 1:28 of the opening round.
In the two all-Japanese quarterfinal matchups, former Shooto world bantamweight champion Hiromasa Ogikubo (11-3-2) beat Takeshi Kasugai (13-3-1) by majority decision and Ryuichi Miki (16-6-4) defeated former Deep bantamweight champ Yoshiro Maeda (30-14-5) by unanimous decision.
Earlier in the night, top Japanese bantamweight prospect Yuta Sasaki (16-1-2) scored a technical submission of Teruto Ishihara (6-2-1) via rear-naked choke at 1:41 in the second round, while streaking lightweight Naoyuki Kotani (33-10-7) earned a unanimous decision and his 13th straight win at the expense of Yoshihiro Koyama (17-7-2).
In a 160-pound catchweight contest, Kengo Ura (11-9-2), defeated Daisuke Hoshino (8-8-1) by split decision, and Korean featherweight Jae Woong Kim (4-2) took a unanimous decision against Wataru Miki (20-12-6).