High Fives: Violent Finales, Emphatic KOs and Elbows From Hell

By Guy Portman Jun 3, 2019
UFC Fight Night 153 was not the only item on the menu for MMA-hungry fans during the weekend of May 31-June 3. Rizin Fighting Federation on Sunday in Kobe, Japan, staged Rizin 16 -- a strong card that included a title fight. CES MMA on Friday highlighted the regional scene with CES 56 in Hartford Connecticut.



SUPERFIGHT … Rizin 16 was headlined by an atomweight superfight that pitted the promotional champion Ayaka Hamasaki against Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder Jinh Yu Frey, with the former’s belt on the line. The first two rounds were highly competitive, but in the third, Hamasaki seized the momentum with a sustained period in top position that culminated in her dropping elbows from side control. At the conclusion of the 15-minute affair, the judges all sided with Hamasaki. In retaining her crown, the 37-year-old moved to 18-2. Frey slipped to 8-4.



VIOLENT FINALEMamoru Uoi met Kana Hyatt in bantamweight action under the Rizin banner. The end came in the third round, where Uoi backed the Hawaiian into a corner and unleashed punches to the head. He cut down Hyatt with a left hook and followed with a kick to the head of his kneeling counterpart. After another punch and subsequent soccer kick, the referee called a halt to the match 4:47 into Round 3. Uoi moved to 23-6-4, while Hyatt fell to 16-20.



EMPHATIC KOTakaki Soya was paired opposite Namiki Kawahara in a 130-pound catchweight clash at Rizin 16. Late in the first period, the smaller Kawahara appeared to be getting the better of a wild exchange on the feet when Soya uncorked a right cross to the head that sent his unconscious opponent slumping to the canvas at the 4:02 mark of Round 1. With the resounding knockout, the victorious Soya now sits at 10-4-1. Kawahara dipped to 5-3-2.



HELLACIOUS ELBOWErson Yamamoto met Tim Eschtruth in a bantamweight battle at Rizin 16. In the first frame, Eschtruth threw a looping left hook to the head that Yamamoto countered with an inside right-side elbow -- a blow which landed flush on the side of the American’s face and sent him tumbling to the floor. The Japanese combatant followed him to the ground and unleashed right hands from mount position until the referee intervened at the 2:04 mark of Round 1. With the win, Yamamoto upped his record to 3-4. Eschtruth fell to 4-2.



MAKING A STATEMENTNick Newell was matched against Antonio Castillo Jr. in a lightweight co-main event at CES 56. Early on, Newell utilized heavy low kicks. After landing a suplex takedown, Newell took his kneeling rival’s back on the mat, slipped his right forearm around his neck and looked for the choke. Castillo stood to no avail, as the congenital amputee succeeded in securing the submission. Having fallen to his back, Castillo tapped to the rear-naked choke 2:06 into Round 1. The triumphant Newell, now 15-2, used his post-fight interview to plead for the UFC to sign him. Castillo slipped below .500 at 9-10.
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