TOKYO -- Tatsuya
Kawajiri turned in a quintessential “Crusher” performance at
18 on New Year's Eve, flattening Michihiro
Omigawa for three rounds and nullifying any offense from the
UFC veteran. The featherweight bout was the main event of the MMA
portion of the MMA-kickboxing double-feature New Year’s Eve
Kawajiri was able to impose his usual game plan on Omigawa, using
well-timed takedowns and a significant strength advantage to take
his judoka opponent to the mat and keep him there. Omigawa did his
best to free himself and return to his feet, but Kawajiri gave him
little space to work.
Crusher was able to take the mount position on multiple occasions
during the fight, nearly finishing with two strong arm-triangle
choke attempts in the second and third rounds. Omigawa was able to
hold on and survive, but in the end, all three judges scored the
fight for Kawajiri. With the win, Kawajiri remains undefeated since
making the drop to featherweight in 2011.
“I fought to attack his faults. Striking, going for the takedown
and then attempting the arm-triangle,” said Kawajiri, post-fight.
“I almost got it, but I didn’t want to get overconfident. I tried
to build the fight carefully. I think I showed I’m different from
other Japanese fighters.”
Tachi Palace Fights featherweight champion Georgi
Karakhanyan outpointed Dream title-holder Hiroyuki
Takaya en route to a unanimous decision victory in the night's
co-main event. The California native used a varied game to keep
Takaya on the defensive, completing takedowns, landing shots from
the clinch and generally outstriking the Japanese fighter. The
fight wasn't one-sided, however, as Takaya was able to land punch
combinations of his own from time to time and spent some time on
top of Karakhanyan in the guard. For his efforts, Takaya received
the nod from judge Hikaru Adachi, though judges Akira Shoji and
Fukuda scored the bout for Karakhanyan, making him the winner
by split decision.
In an unexpected finish, Shinya Aoki
defeated UFC vet Antonio
McKee by submission due to strikes in the early goings of the
second round of their lightweight affair. The Japanese grappling
ace dominated McKee in the opening round, taking him and attacking
with strikes and submission attempts from the top position. Early
in the second round, the “Tobikan Judan” clipped McKee with a
winging counter-right that put the American through the ropes. Aoki
attempted to follow up with punches as McKee motioned to referee
Serizawa that he had enough. Serizawa stepped in to wave Aoki
off at only 24 seconds of the second round.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist Bibiano
Fernandes used his superior grappling skills to put Yoshiro
Maeda to sleep in the opening minutes of their non-title bout.
Fernandes took Maeda to the mat early, taking the Japanese
fighter's back and working for chokes. The Deep bantamweight champ
was able to turn into Fernandes's guard, but quickly found himself
locked in a triangle choke. Maeda, refusing to tap, fell
unconscious on top of Fernandes and Yuji Shimada called a stop to
the fight at only 1:46 of the opening round.
In their middleweight match-up, Melvin
Manhoef made quick work of Denis Kang,
blasting him with a huge knee to the gut that sent the UFC vet face
first into the mat. Manhoef threw in a few punches for good measure
before referee Kenichi
Serizawa stepped in to stop the bout only 50 seconds into the
Despite controlling Hayato
Sakurai for the better part of the two rounds, Phil Baroni
found himself on the losing end of a unanimous decision after a
final round spent tiredly brawling with the former Shooto champion.
Baroni pressured Sakurai from top control in the opening rounds,
picking his shots from inside the guard. In the final frame,
however, Baroni tired and both men spent most of the round trading
heavy punches and clinching. Regardless of Baroni's strong showing
in the opening rounds, judges Shoji, Adachi and Taoru Totori all
scored the bout in favor of Sakurai.
At 145 pounds, former Strikeforce champion Marloes
Coenen completely dominated Fiona
Muxlow, earning a first round submission win for her efforts.
The Dutch submission artist pummeled Muxlow with knees from the
clinch, dropping her to the ground quickly. From there Coenen got
to work on submission, switching between triangle and armbar
attempts before getting the tap off of an armbar at 3:29 of round
To open the night, undefeated prospect Will Brooks
outpaced Japan’s Satoru
Kitaoka, blasting him with up-kicks while defending a heel hook
and punching his way to a referee stoppage at 3:47 of the second