Katsunori Kikuno beat Kwang Hee Lee into ground at Deep 'Cage Impact 2011' | Photo: Taro Irei
TOKYO -- Former Deep lightweight champion Katsunori Kikuno broke down Korean import Kwang Hee Lee, while another former Deep lightweight ace, Kazunori Yokota, took out veteran Katsuya Toida in the first half of Deep’s “Cage Impact 2011” doubleheader at Differ Ariake on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the main event not seeing a second round, Kikuno fought a grueling and punishing fight, opting to use little to no defense while attempting to land single punches and kicks. Since Kikuno's karate style "one-shot-one-kill" punches did not put Lee immediately away, the Japanese fighter found himself eating barrages of bloodying punches from a swarming foe.
Kikuno caught a break midway through the first frame when he landed a big head kick to drop Lee to his side, but instead of finishing, he smothered Lee from side position and started to build momentum. In the waning seconds of the period, a particularly vicious Kikuno combo prompted Lee to step away from him and crumple to the canvas, essentially retiring himself from the rest of the bout. Referee Yuji Shimada stepped in to call the fight at the 4:59 mark.
"Today, I think I could show my karate," began Kikuno, now 16-4-2, in his postfight address before cutting himself short and retracting the statement. "Actually, no, not yet, I don't think I could.
"I ate more punches than I expected in the early goings, but I'm tougher than normal folks. If it were a normal person in there, they'd be knocked out. I have to be thankful to my parents for that kind of toughness," Kikuno added. "The best thing about the fight was that I could trade strikes with him. That made it feel awesome."
Yokota, Nakamura Notch Wins, Focus Eyes on Titles
Sengoku veteran Yokota blasted Toida early in the second round of their featherweight contest before turning his attention toward a future shot at the title vacated by the recently retired Koichiro Matsumoto.
The first period was a back and forth one in which Yokota -- after receiving a yellow card for an unintentional low blow -- scrambled out of the wily Toida's submissions to land hard punches and knees to the head from top position, giving a telling taste of what was to come in the second frame.
Yokota repeated this berserker charge in the next stanza, wailing on a turtled Toida with soccer kicks and lunging punches to the head that had referee Yoshinori Umeki watching closely. Toida eventually hopped back to wobbly feet in an attempt to retreat, but Yokota followed, blasting him in the face again with a soccer kick against the cage.
Just as Umeki dove for the save, Toida's chief cornerman -- Dream lightweight champ Shinya Aoki --threw in the towel. Official time was 25 seconds of the second round.
"I'm going to talk for 10 minutes!" joked Yokota upon taking the mic, postfight. "My junior in Grabaka [Matsumoto] held the Deep featherweight belt [before retiring]. I want a shot at it next."
Yokota, now 13-5-3, won the Deep lightweight title from Nobuhiro Obiya at Deep “28 Impact” in February 2007, before losing it to South Korea’s Seung Hwan Bang in May 2008.
High-flying journeyman Daisuke Nakamura and Sengoku veteran Chang Hyun "Armbar Kim" had a wild, wooly crowd-pleasing fight. The first round saw Nakamura dive in earnest for armbars, kimuras and toeholds. Changing things up, round two became a striking-only round in which Nakamura flexed his low kicks and flicker jabs to bloody up Kim's face.
In the third, Nakamura took a battered and tiring Kim back to the canvas to attack with kimura attempts until the final armbar, which he used to finish the fight at the 3:19 mark. In his postfight address, Nakamura also made mention of the fact that he would like to be considered in the title hunt, subtly setting his sights on Mizuto Hirota's newly minted lightweight belt from Deep 55.
"I've been fighting for 10 years and haven't had a belt yet. I'd like to fight for it," said the soft-spoken and humble Nakamura.
'Star Wars' Heiress Lucas Continues Winning Japan Campaign
Amanda Lucas, daughter of "Star Wars" founder George Lucas, notched another win in her Japan campaign, bulldozing JMMA journeywoman Mika Harigai in just under a round's time.
After trading punches with a wild "Hari" in the opening moments, Lucas took the fight to the floor, where she dominated. Lucas easily maneuvered her way into mount, from which she dropped a barrage of punches on the helpless Harigai, before flattening the Japanese fighter and sinking the choke for the tap at 4:32 of the first frame of the 155-pound contest.
The 31-year-old Lucas, fighting out of Gilbert Melendez’s Skrap Pack, is now 3-1 in her pro career.
At 137 pounds, Tomohiko Hori and Yoshiki Harada had an entertaining two-rounder on the feet, ending in an agreeable draw. Harada started aggressive, while Hori played a more conservative counter game. If Harada's aggression won him the opening round, Hori's conservatism won him the second, as he scored low kicks and counterpunches on the less active Harada. After splitting rounds, judges Kenichi Serizawa, Akira Shoji, and Yoshinori Umeki unanimously ruled the fight a 19-19 draw.
Former lightweight King of Pancrase Shoji Maruyama windmilled his way to a unanimous decision in an entertaining scrap with Yusuke Kagiyama. Maruyama's breakthrough came early in the second round, when he had Kagiyama dizzied against the cage. However, he could not finish in his excitement and had to settle for the decision.
Middleweight Hideto Tatsumi bull-rushed his way to a finish over Kenji Nagai, smashing him up against the cage with punches early in the fight before wrangling him to the canvas. Once it got to the ground, Tatsumi wildly rained punches until Nagai turned feebly to his side, ending it at 2:13 of the first frame.
After a wild opening couple of minutes of Luiz Andrade I pulling out arm-triangles, rear-naked chokes and armbar attempts, Juri Ohara pulled things together to pound out his opponent from inside the guard. A bleary-eyed Andrade I appeared out on his back for a great many of the punches until Kenichi Serizawa finally called the lightweight contest at the 4:27 mark.
In the “Knockout of the Night,” Hirotaka Miyakawa knocked Sakae Kasuya out on his feet with a devastating overhand right and left straight in their 137-pound bout. Just after Kasuya was checked by the ringside physician for a particularly bloody cut in his mouth, Miyakawa's big one-two to the jaw knocked Kasuya cold. Samio Kimura called the stop just before a rubbery Kasuya hit the canvas at 2:52.
Kicking off the card, lightweight Hideto Kondo turned a kick caught by Yutaka Kobayashi into a tap-inducing guillotine at 55 seconds of the second frame, while, in a 129-pound bout, Shun Yoshioka blasted a dazed Makoto Sato with punches along the cage at 4:25.