Fedor, Aoki Entertain at M-1 Challenge; Spain, USA West, UK Teams Victorious

By Tony Loiseleur Apr 29, 2009
TOKYO -- Teams representing Spain, USA West and the UK emerged victorious at M-1 Challenge 13 on Wednesday at the Differ Ariake Arena, but the exhibition bout between Fedor Emelianenko and Shinya Aoki stole the show.

Emelianenko smashed Aoki into a corner before lifting him for an early slam. Aoki was allowed back to his feet, where he surprised by flying into an armbar and transitioning for a leg lock. The amused Russian threw a big punch to the canvas next to Aoki’s head then, both as a warning and a taunt.

Back on the feet, Emelianenko hip tossed Aoki and threatened with an arm lock. Aoki reversed and subsequently set up an armbar of his own. Emelianenko picked up the lightweight and teased a big slam until Aoki let go. Aoki then hit a double leg, but Emelianenko soon returned to his feet, as he slammed Aoki and feigned another armbar attempt.

Disrobing from his kurtka to raucous applause, the bare-chested Aoki dropped for a seoi-nage but did not expect the heavyweight to roll with the throw. Emelianenko latched onto one of his legs and applied a tight Achilles lock. Aoki tapped just before the bell sounded to end the exhibition.

“Please, just let me say one thing: ‘What’s wrong with being naked?’” asked Aoki, referencing the recent arrest of Japanese pop star Tsuyoshi Kusanagi for public indecency. “It was good experience.”

After Aoki asked the crowd to give Emelianenko another round of applause, the stoic Russian took to the microphone.

“Despite our weights, I’d never thought there would be a fighter this strong.” Emelianenko said. “I respect Aoki and hope that he will continue to do his best.”

Broughton Leads UK Past Japan

Rob Broughton beat on Deep Megaton Champion Yusuke Kawaguchi over two rounds en route to a unanimous decision, as Team UK defeated Team Japan 4-1.

Every time Kawaguchi stepped in to engage, Broughton’s left hook was there to meet him. And every time Kawaguchi (8-1) tried to retreat, Broughton’s sharp left jab was there to chase him. Broughton (9-4-1) also controlled the previously unbeaten Kawaguchi on the mat, as he shut him down in both rounds.

Meanwhile, Tom Blackledge -- cornered by former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson -- survived early trouble against Tatsuya Mizuno (5-5) and submitted the Dream veteran just past the midway point of the first round. After eating a jab and overhand right, Blackledge (8-6, 1 NC) dropped to the floor and covered up. Blackledge’s defensive instincts took over until he eventually capitalized on Mizuno’s recklessness, stole the back mount and sank the rear-naked choke 3:22 into the first round.

“I thought team UK did an excellent job. They put in some hard work in some tough fights, and they pulled them off,” Jackson said. “I came to help my teammate, Tom [Blackledge]. We train at the Wolfslair [Academy]. He helped me train for my two fights, for Wanderlei [Silva] and Keith Jardine, so I told him I’d come to Japan to corner him.”

Finally, Simon Phillips (7-2) knocked out former Deep welterweight champion Hidehiko Hasegawa (16-12-6) in less than a minute. A well-timed left cross to Hasegawa’s chin finished the fight, as referee Kenichi Serizawa dove in for the save just 20 seconds into the match.

“Obviously we’re really pleased,” Team UK’s Aaron Chatfield said. “We knew coming out here was going to be tough, fighting Team Japan in their own backyard. We just tried to work together as a team, and to get out of here 4-1, we did the best job we thought we could do.”

USA West Shuts Out South Korea

Shane del Rosario dropped Dool Hee Lee (3-5) with a liver shot that would have made Bas Rutten proud and finished him with a left hook and ground strike 2:27 into round one, as Team USA West cruised past South Korea 5-0. The unbeaten Del Rosario (6-0) has finished all six of his opponents, five of them in the first round.

Controversy dulled the thrill of victory a bit.

A dazed Raphael Davis weathered the first round against Jae Young Kim, only to turn the tide on the South Korean in the second. He wobbled Kim with big punches to the head and body before dropping him with knees in the Thai plum. Davis (6-1) then took mount and proceeded to pound away, as referee Marco Boersen watched idly for several moments. Kim (12-7, 2 NC) verbally submitted 3:45 into the second period.

“I just kept telling myself, ‘Keep going,’ ’cause I knew I was right on the edge of stopping him,” Davis said. “Last time, I got an early stoppage, and, tonight, I got it late, so I guess it evens out.”

Team USA West’s Colin Oyama was one of many who thought the stoppage came late.

“It’s tough when a guy’s that good, because if you stop it too early, everybody’s mad,” Oyama said. “I think, tonight, it was a little late.”

Meanwhile, Givanildo Santana collected his 11th victory by armbar submission over Min Suk Heo. Santana (12-1) initially looked to catch Heo (4-9) in a neck crank after jumping guard, but he transitioned to the armbar as soon as he landed. It took the Korean several moments to tap, but the hold ended the bout 4:05 into the first period.

“Sometimes the numbers are deceiving. It’s a shutout, but they’re really tough dudes,” Oyama said. “Koreans are tough, man. It was a good win for us to fight a tough group like that, pitching the shutout.”

Spain Edges France

Soufain Elgarne’s lateral drop on Team Spain’s Rogent Lloret looked like a sign of positive things to come for the titanic Team France fighter. However, Lloret (7-1, 1 NC) kept his head and eventually secured side mount, where he systematically set up the arm triangle for the tapout from Elgarne (0-1) 2:44 into the first round.

Elsewhere, Christian M’Pumbu took out Enoc Solves Torres with a last-second armbar in the first round. Behind relentless takedown attempts, M’Pumbu (12-2-1) controlled the round, even though his Spanish counterpart often grabbed the ropes in defense. An M’Pumbu slip in the final minute put Torres (3-1) on top, but the Frenchman quickly threw up his legs for the armbar and coaxed the tapout 4:59 into the opening period.

The fate of the two teams was ultimately decided by the judges.

Abner Lloveras and Gael Grimaud split the first two rounds and forced overtime. From there, Lloveras took advantage of Grimaud’s fatigue and carelessness, as he landed punches when Grimaud (4-2) pushed for judo tie-ups. Capturing a big takedown at the end of the final round, Lloveras (6-4-1) sealed the deal in at least two of the judges’ minds for a split-decision victory.

Finally, in a middleweight super fight away from team competition, Karl Amoussou obliterated Kazuhiro Hamanaka with a flying knee. Setting the strike up with a low kick, Amossou took away Hamanaka’s attention before he charged in with the knee to the Japanese fighter’s face. Hamanaka (4-6-1) fell face first to the floor 23 seconds into the first round.

Having predicted a first-round knockout by right knee the day before, Amossou (10-2-1) charged over to the announce crew.

“Sorry,” he said, “it was the left knee, not the right.”

Other Bouts
Matt Thorpe (UK) def. Yusuke Masuda (Japan) -- Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 1:30 R2
Luiz Andrade I (Japan) def. Ian Butlin (UK) -- Submission (Armbar) 2:30 R1
Fabio Nascimento (USA West) def. Myeon Ho Bae (South Korea) -- Majority Decision
Dave Jansen (USA) def. Ui Cheol Nam (South Korea) -- Unanimous Decision
Christophe Daffreville (France) def. Rayco Romero Silva (Spain) -- Submission (North-South Choke) 2:48 R1
Jose Luiz Zapter Aguirre (Spain) def. Makhtar Gueye (France) -- Disqualification (Illegal Kick) 1:20 R3
Tomoaki Ueyama def. Takayuki Hosakawa -- TKO (Punches) 2:56 R1
Kosuke Umeda def. Muneyuki Sato -- Unanimous Decision
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