Pride Fighting Championships lightweight titleholder Takanori
Gomi still houses some of the competitive fire that made him a
Gomi (33-8, 2-3 UFC) rebounded from a harrowing first five minutes
to stop Eiji
Mitsuoka on second-round punches at UFC
144 “Edgar vs. Henderson” on Saturday at the Saitama Super
Arena in Saitama, Japan. The end came 2:21 into round two, as “The
Fireball Kid” put the brakes on a two-fight losing streak.
The bout, though brief, was high on drama. Mitsuoka repeatedly
tagged his countryman throughout the first round, tipping the spear
of his attack with a right hook to the chin that staggered Gomi and
sent him to a seated position. The 36-year-old Mitsuoka (18-8, 0-1
UFC) pounced, locked in a mounted triangle choke from the rear and
nearly finished it there. Only the horn saved Gomi, who appeared
out of sorts as he rose to return to his corner.
Round two resulted in a wild swing in momentum. Gomi started
putting his haymakers on Mitsuoka’s head and battered his body with
knees. Ultimately, he wheeled around behind the grounded Mitsuoka,
unleashed a hellacious barrage of punches and broke his spirit,
forcing the stoppage.
Lee Armbar Submits ‘Kid’
Englishman Vaughan Lee
recorded the most significant win of his 19-fight career, as he
submitted 2005 K-1 Hero’s lightweight grand prix winner Norifumi
“Kid” Yamamoto with a first-round armbar in an action-packed
preliminary bout at 135 pounds. The tapout came 4:29 into round
“It’s another dream come true,” Lee said. “Being in the UFC is a
dream come true. Fighting in Japan and fighting one of my favorite
fighters of all-time, I’m the happiest person in the world right
Yamamoto (18-6, 0-3 UFC), who has lost three in a row and five out
of six fights, pounded the fist in disgust and disappointment after
being submitted for the first time as a professional.
“All I can say is that I am disappointed at the moment,” he said.
“I really, really wanted to win in Japan. I wanted to give all of
[the Japanese fans] energy, but I understand that one little
[mistake] can [make a fight] end this way. I learned that
Lee (12-7, 1-1 UFC) weathered a serious flurry from the Japanese
star, as he covered up in the face of winging right and left hands
and knees from the clinch. Later, a flying knee from the underdog
sent Yamamoto into retreat mode and afforded Lee the opening
through which he authored his upset. The 29-year-old wobbled
Yamamoto with a punch, pressed the fight to the ground and went to
work on a triangle choke before transitioning to the armbar.
“I felt him posturing up, and he had a real strong base,” Lee said,
“so I had to switch it to the armbar real quick.”
Fukuda Hands Cantwell Fifth Straight Loss
middleweight champion Riki Fukuda
utilized a superior gas tank and a multi-pronged striking attack,
as he dispatched the reeling Steve
Cantwell by unanimous decision in a 185-pound showdown. All
three cageside judges scored it for Fukuda (18-5, 1-1 UFC): 29-28,
30-27 and 30-27.
Fukuda File Photo
Fukuda outworked Cantwell.
Cantwell (7-6, 1-5 UFC), who once held the WEC light heavyweight
crown, has lost five consecutive bouts. The 25-year-old One Kick’s
Gym representative was effective through the first five minutes,
but, as has been the case of late, he faded down the stretch.
Fukuda poured on the punishment in the second and third rounds,
assaulting Cantwell with the occasional takedown, accurate
close-quarters punches and kicks to the legs and body.
By the end of the 15-minute encounter, the exhausted Cantwell could
barely stand. Fukuda, 31, has posted eight wins in his last nine
Cariaso Springs Upset, Topples Mizugaki
Effective counter punching and an active guard carried Strikeforce
Cariaso to a surprising unanimous decision over former
WEC bantamweight title contender Takeya
Mizugaki at 135 pounds. Cariaso (13-3, 3-1 UFC) has won seven
of his last nine bouts.
The two bantamweights stalemated through the first two rounds. In
the third, Cariaso scored with a slapping head kick and, despite a
noticeable size discrepancy between them, largely outmaneuvered the
2008 Cage Force grand prix winner in the clinch, as he turned him
into the cage and peppered his midsection with knees.
Mizugaki (15-7, 2-2 UFC) moved into top position on the ground late
in the period, when the Californian slipped on a head kick.
However, the Japanese standout found himself in more of a defensive
mode, fending off elbows and attempted sweeps from a man who
remained active from his back.
Tamura KOs Zhang on Short Notice
Tamura flattened China Top Team representative Tiequan
Zhang with a crushing right hand in their preliminary
featherweight duel, as he scored a spectacular second-round
knockout. Tamura (7-2, 1-0 UFC) left nothing to the imagination,
finishing it 32 seconds into round two.
A late replacement for the injured Leonard
Garcia, the 27-year-old Tamura established himself as the
superior fighter in the first round, as he dropped Zhang (15-3, 1-2
UFC) with a right hand, attacked him with ground-and-pound and
later secured a double-leg takedown. The Chinese import’s situation
only grew more dire in the second, where Tamura knocked him cold
with a right hand and sent him to his third defeat in his last four