Shinya Aoki. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.
In a battle of Japanese MMA legends, Kiyoshi Tamura bested Kazushi Sakuraba, grinding out a hard-fought unanimous decision in the main event of K-1’s annual “Dynamite!!” show at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
After a colorful entrance to the ring, Sakuraba went right to work as he quickly took Tamura down and captured his back in the fight’s opening moments. However Tamura was able to swiftly reverse position and landed on top of Sakuraba, where he would spend the majority of the first round. Sakuraba nearly caught Tamura multiple times during the first stanza, including the final seconds, where he locked in an armbar on Tamura but was unable to finish him off before the bell.
Tamura reversed another Sakuraba takedown attempt at the start of the second round and controlled his opponent from top position, continually landing hard punches. When a lack of action forced referee Daisuke Noguchi to hand each fighter a yellow card for stalling, Sakuraba was forced back to his feet and the effects of Tamura’s punches were visible as “The Gracie Hunter” struggled to keep from wobbling on his feet.
Sakuraba (24-12-1) attempted to submit Tamura (33-13-2) with a sloppy guillotine before finally being able to put Tamura on his back after the fight was restarted. Until the final bell, Sakuraba tried desperately to finish his opponent, but was unable to do so, leaving the ringside judges no choice but to award the unanimous decision to Tamura.
After a non-title rematch between Gesias Calvancante and DREAM champion Joachim Hansen was scrapped following a failed pre-fight physical by Hansen, a lightweight battle between Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki was moved up to co-main event status.
Alvarez tried to connect with punches early on Aoki but the Japanese grappler flopped to his back and began chasing Alvarez around the ring on his hands and butt, much to the delight of the crowd. As Alvarez (15-2) tried to move away from him, Aoki (19-3) suddenly jumped up and grabbed ahold of Alvarez’s back, taking him down to the mat.
The Philadelphia native was able to put Aoki on his back and quickly achieve mount but Aoki scrambled from underneath Alvarez and secured a leg lock that forced Alvarez to tap out just over a minute into the first round.
After the fight, Alvarez was seen limping back to the dressing room with an ice pack placed on his lower leg. No word as of yet concerning the extent of his injury.
Despite giving up a sizable weight advantage, injury replacement Melvin Manhoef scored a shocking knockout of former K-1 star Mark Hunt just 18 seconds into their featured attraction.
Manhoef (23-5-1), who was subbing in for an ill Jerome LeBanner, gave up nearly 100 pounds to Hunt (5-5), who was looking for his first MMA win after losing his last three bouts. Hunt’s luck wouldn’t change though as he was blasted with a left-right combo while rushing in on Manhoef with punches. The Australian collapsed to the canvas and Manhoef delivered a few more shots to his unconscious foe before the fight was stopped.
“When I was told that I could fight Mark Hunt, I’m a K-1 fighter too,” Manhoef said after the fight. “I eat fighting, I sleep fighting, I dream fighting and I told [Fighting and Entertainment Group President Sadaharu] Tanigawa, of course I would fight. I’m a small guy and Hunt had about 40 kilos on me, but I’m here to tell you that even heavy guys do fall.”
While Mirko Cro Cop and Alistair Overeem failed to be matched together for a rematch of their no-contest at DREAM.6 in September, both were in action at Dynamite!!
Cro Cop landed leg kicks early and often while avoiding the long reach of the 7’2 Hong-Man Choi in the main card matchup. The bout was relatively uneventful as Cro Cop (24-6-2) spent the majority of his time attempting to avoid the tree-like arms of Choi (1-2) while trying to inflict damage himself.
Both fighters were penalized with yellow cards at one point, resulting in Choi rushing at Cro Cop with punches and Cro Cop inadvertently kicking Choi in the groin. The fight was stopped and Choi took time to recover, but after the bout was restarted again, Choi was blasted with a leg kick from Cro Cop and collapsed after trying to come down on his left leg. The fight was immediately stopped and Cro Cop was awarded the victory.
Unfortunately Cro Cop’s injury problems haven’t gone away yet as the Croatian announced after the bout that he will be out of action for the next months because of required knee surgery.
Overeem was pitted against K-1 heel Badr Hari in a K-1 rules bout, the first kickboxing match for Overeem in years. Prior to the bout, Overeem promised to teach “respect to Hari, who was disqualified for illegally stomping on opponent Remy Bonjasky in the finals of the 2008 K-1 World Grand Prix earlier this month.
While Hari laughed at the idea that Overeem would be able to beat him at his own game, that’s exactly what happened. After an even exchange on the feet, Overeem dropped Hari with a knee to the face and a left hook. Hari got up to his feet in time to beat the referee’s count, but was promptly put to sleep with another Overeem left hook.
“For all fighters, and everyone that believes respect is important… there you go,” Overeem said after the bout.
Gegard Mousasi and Tatsuya Kawajiri were also victorious in their respective kickboxing matches.
Despite being involved in an adult movie scandal, Hayato “Mach” Sakurai looked no worse for wear in his main card bout. Sakurai (34-8-2) controlled and eventually stopped Katsuyori Shibata (2-6-1) with strikes in the first round.
Also victorious on the main card was Semmy Schilt (26-14-1), who scored an impressive submission of fellow kickboxer Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga (3-1), and Japanese fan-favorite Bob Sapp (10-3-1), who pounded decorated amateur wrestler Akihito Tanaka (0-1), who was dressed as Japanese television icon “Kinniku Mantaro”, en route to a first-round TKO win.
Complete results from the event:
Kiyoshi Tamura def. Kazushi Sakuraba - Unanimous Decision
Shinya Aoki def. Eddie Alvarez - Submission (Heel Hook)
Melvin Manhoef def. Mark Hunt - KO (Punch)
Mirko Cro Cop def. Hong-Man Choi - TKO (Leg Kick)
Hayato Sakurai def. Katsuyori Shibata - TKO (Strikes)
Semmy Schilt def. Mighty Mo - Submission (Triangle Choke)
Bob Sapp def. Kinniku Mantaro - TKO (Strikes)
Andy Ologun def. Yukio Sakaguchi - KO (Punches)
Daisuke Nakamura def. Hideo Tokoro - Technical Submission (Armbar)
Ikuhisa Minowa def. Errol Zimmerman - Submission (Toe Hold)
K-1 Rules Bouts
Alistair Overeem def. Badr Hari - KO (Punch)
Gegard Mousasi vs. Musashi - TKO (Referee’s Stoppage)
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Kozo Takeda - TKO (Referee’s Stoppage)
Hiroya def. Koya Urabe - Unanimous Decision
Artur Kyshenko def. Yoshihiro Sato - Majority Decision
Hiroya def. Shota Shimada - Unanimous Decision
Koya Urabe def. Tatsuya Kusakabe - TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage)
Taishi Hiratsuka def. Daizo Sasaki - KO (Punch)