Hideo Tokoro. Photo courtesy of DREAM.
Hideo Tokoro bested fellow submission specialist Masakazu Imanari via unanimous decision to win DREAM's inaugural bantamweight grand prix tournament at the organization's "Fight for Japan: Japan Grand Prix Final" event on Saturday at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan.
A pair of title defenses also took place: Hiroyuki Takaya grinded out a hard-fought split decision win over former Olympic wrestler Kazuyuki Miyata and Gegard Mousasi took out challenger Hiroshi Izumi in quick and impressive fashion, scoring a first round stoppage of the Japanese judoka.
Another notable winners on the card included world-ranked lightweight Tatsuya Kawajiri, DREAM welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis and DREAM bantamweight grand prix third-place winner Kenji Osawa.
Gegard Mousasi. Photo courtesy of DREAM.
All sixteen fighters scheduled to compete at DREAM's "Fight for Japan: Japan Grand Prix Final" event on Saturday successfully made weight yesterday afternoon.
Seasoned veteran Drew Fickett originally came in two pounds over the 154-lb limit for his fight against Tatsuya Kawajiri, but shed the extra weight and hit the required mark a couple of hours later.
The eight-fight card, which will not air live in North America, features a pair of title fights - DREAM light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi taking on Hiroshi Izumi and featherweight title holder Hiroyuki Takaya returning to face Kazuyuki Miyata - as well as the bantamweight grand prix finals featuring submission specialists Masakazu Imanari and Hideo Tokoro.
Antz Nansen. Photo courtesy of World Victory Road.
New Zealand kickboxer Antz Nansen used superior striking skills to spoil the anticipated professional debut of 2004 Olympic judo silver medalist Hiroshi Izumi, knocking Izumi down three times en route to a first-round TKO win at World Victory Road’s “Sengoku Tenth Battle” event on Wednesday.
Izumi (0-1) did surprisingly well in the loss. Willing to stand with a dangerous Nansen (1-0) on the feet, Izumi caught his opponent on multiple occasions with a few straight left hands. The tide turned when Nansen hurt Izumi with a right hand midway through the round. Izumi stumbling backwards prompting Nansen to stalk his foe, dropping him twice before finishing him off with a final combination that left Izumi bloodied and seated in a corner.