Yamamiya Upsets Kondo

By Tony Loiseleur and Stephen Martinez Apr 27, 2008
TOKYO, April 27 -- Provisional middleweight King of Pancrase Yuki Kondo (Pictures) stepped up a weight class Sunday to take on veteran Grabaka rep Keiichiro Yamamiya (Pictures) in a light heavyweight bout at Pancrase's fourth Shining Tour card.

Yamamiya looked to employ the elusiveness and sharply honed striking skills that had helped him upset Ryo Kawamura (Pictures) in December. He circled constantly, not allowing the forward-pressing Kondo to catch him with anything more than several hard low kicks. Yamamiya was thus free to pick away at the middleweight champion with stiff body punches and quick one-two combinations.

A frustrated Kondo was, like his teammate Kawamura in December, slowly sucked into Yamamiya's world, as he was refused any attempt to take the fight to the floor. He exchanged occasionally, but he was met with Yamamiya's blistering combinations, which had him take a step back to reevaluate.

Of the two, it was arguably Yamamiya that scored the better -- if grazing -- punches, while Kondo's were met with shell defense on Yamamiya's part. Thus, after three rounds of tense and perhaps overly tactical standup, two judges scored the bout in favor of Yamamiya (30-29, 30-29), with one judge scoring a draw (30-30) to once again award Yamamiya the upset win.

Despite a dominant performance that saw Koji Oishi (Pictures) controlling lightweight King of Pancrase Shoji Maruyama (Pictures) throughout three rounds, the judges saw fit to deem the fight a majority draw.

While not necessarily putting on the most exciting display of martial prowess, Oishi controlled and suffocated Shoji by taking him down and dropping small shots from the guard for the majority of the bout, not allowing the KO artist in Maruyama to let loose with his strikes. Curious also that the bout was allowed to progress largely in this fashion without many standups, it was clear that Oishi should have been on his way to a unanimous decision by the end of the third period.

To everyone's puzzlement, however, the judges ruled the bout 30-29 Oishi, 29-29 and 30-30 for a majority draw.

Takuya Wada (Pictures) took the provisional welterweight King of Pancrase title after defeating Brian Rafiq's late replacement, Jason Palacios (Pictures), by unanimous decision.

Despite ultimately losing his first Pancrase bout to Satoru Kitaoka (Pictures) in September, Palacios had surprised many a fan when he dropped the highly regarded Kitaoka in the first round. His power did not manifest itself Sunday, however, as his hard low kicks and combinations found their mark on Wada but did little to stop the Japanese fighter from taking him down and dominating from the top.

Once again Palacios showed that his kryptonite is the ground game. After three rounds of takedowns and positional dominance, Wada walked away the winner (30-27, 30-29, 30-27).

SK Absolute's newest import, Dzhamal Kurbanov, circled and kept his distance throughout two rounds, delivering fast rights to the body and winging hooks on the slower Katsuya Inoue (Pictures), who pressed forward in an attempt to corner his opponent. Pressing the issue in the third frame, though, Inoue cornered Kurbanov against the ropes to force an exchange. Both got tagged, but Inoue ended up in the top position in guard.

From there, Inoue dropped punch after punch as the hapless Kurbanov attempted to strike back from the bottom. Be that as it may, with Kurbanov clearly winning the first two rounds, the judges curiously scored the fight 30-29 for Inoue, 29-29 and 28-28 for a majority draw.

Yuji Hisamatsu (Pictures) ran roughshod over Matti Makela, knocking out the visiting Pancrase Sweden fighter in the last seconds of the first round.

With little regard for Makela's standup, Wajyutsu Keisyukai's resident physical therapist charged in for clinches and takedowns, where he would drop short punches from above. Hisamatsu changed it up a bit in the final seconds of the first period, however. He stood up from Makela's guard to drop a grazing foot stomp, followed by a rain of punches for the KO victory at 4:56.

Manabu Inoue (Pictures) appeared to have the better takedowns and clinch work, but Masaya Takita (Pictures) proved too slippery on the ground, reversing and protecting himself well and also dropping point-accruing shots from every angle. Regardless, grappling didn't appear to matter. At 1:16 into the second round, Takita surprised with a knee to the face of the shooting Inoue, putting him out cold for the KO victory.

In a messy middleweight bout, Ryuji Ohori (Pictures) came back from a horrendous beating to submit Daisuke Watanabe (Pictures) by kimura. After eating a number of kicks to his lead leg, as well as several hard knees and kicks to the head, Ohori literally looked to be on his last leg.

Watanabe, looking to close out the second round, unwisely followed a desperate Ohori to the ground, where he was surprised by the kimura and tapped out at 4:46 of round two.

Wataru Takahashi (Pictures) weathered wild shots from above as well as a resounding soccer kick to the face to set up an armbar in his lightweight bout against Yukio Sakaguchi (Pictures). Sakaguchi, who to that point had been winning primarily by the ferocity of his pace and the damage he was accruing, had no answers -- nor the energy, apparently -- to fight off the unexpected armbar, which forced him to tap at the 4:23 mark.

In the neo-blood prelims, Steve Magdaleno persevered through ankle trouble to take the unanimous decision over Il-Gyu Pak; featherweight Hirotoshi Saito took the unanimous decision over Hayato Shimizu (Pictures); Yasutomo Tanaka took out Motonobu Tezuka by rear-naked choke 2:30 into the second; Takeya Eizumi stopped Ryota Sasaki 4:03 into the second; and Toshihiro Shimizu (Pictures) defeated Kiyotaka Shimizu by armbar 4:32 into the first round of their flyweight bout.
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