For the third straight bout, Shinya Aoki neck cranked a foe into submission. | Photo: Taro Irei
Having spent the previous two months training at Singapore's Evolve MMA, there appeared to be little appreciable difference in the “Tobikan Judan's” already cutthroat grappling style. Aoki had McCullough on the canvas shortly after the opening bell, and he punished the American with punches and open palm strikes to the face, bruising McCullough's nose an ugly ruby color.
“My nose is OK. I looked in the mirror, and it looks a lot worse than it feels. From so many kickboxing matches, it bruises easy and turns colors,” quipped McCullough.
However, a bloody nose was the least of his troubles, as Aoki's overwhelming top pressure eventually saw him take Razor's back to threaten with a face crank from behind. As McCullough moved to pry off the choke, he inadvertently pulled Aoki's arms down onto his neck.
“It was like one of those things where you begin to feel it and then next thing you know you're waking up. It was instinctual, so when I went back to my corner [I realized] there was only three seconds left,” said a resigned McCullough, who tapped at 4:57 of the first round.
Aoki was outspoken as usual.
“I was able to explode what I'd stored up in me over the last two months,” said Aoki. “I have nothing to say, however. I think everything that happened was within the realm of expectation.”
Aoki's usual brusque, curt style of answering questions was on display with the press, as well, as he admonished the media for not “understanding” his positional grappling skills and not asking “appropriate” questions. Not surprisingly, he did not equivocate about his current MMA goal.
“I want to focus on strengthening Asia because there are a lot of good Asian fighters out there. Places like Malaysia, Singapore, not just South Korea, all have great fighters and could one day exceed Japan,” Aoki explained.
“Right now, the top teams are like [American Kickboxing Academy] and Greg Jackson's, but I'd like to make the top team in Asia. That's what I'm aiming at.”
Former Aoki victim Tatsuya Kawajiri, a perennial standout lightweight, dropped to featherweight and took a thoroughly impressive third-round submission win over former Dream lightweight champion Joachim Hansen.
The bout was a rematch of their initial 2006 Shooto meeting in which the Norwegian was disqualified in just eight seconds for an errant kick to Kawajiri's groin.
Kawajiri's top game was Hansen's
From there, however, Kawajiri's mashing-style of top control took over. As Hansen later admitted, it was Kawajiri's punishing style that wore him down and opened him up for the finish, as Kawajiri locked up an arm-triangle choke in the third frame, tapping out the tough Norseman at the 2:30 mark.
“In training, I went to [Nippon Top Team] and I sparred with [Masakazu] Imanari, who is similar to Joachim on the ground, so maybe that's why I was able to win with the arm-triangle,” Kawajiri revealed after the win.
“I asked Aoki how to finish with one, and they both taught me how.”
The 33-year-old Kawajiri improves to 29-7-2 in his career, now with a new direction at 145 pounds. Meanwhile, the loss snaps "Hellboy's" three-fight winning streak.
“I don't think I'm really at my best at featherweight yet, so I want to keep fighting here to just get used to it," added Kawajiri. "I think it's going to be really fun if I knock the other featherweights out one by one, won't it?”
Cabral joined the side choke festivities.
The fight would not stay up for long, however, as Cabral took the fight down in the second period, locking on the arm triangle as “the IQ Wrestler” tried to pull him back into full guard. Though Sakuraba tried to pry off his opponent's arms, his hand soon thudded on the canvas, prompting referee Moritaka Oshiro to dive for the save, moments before Sakuraba passed out at the 2:42 mark.
It was the fourth straight loss for the 42-year-old Sakuraba and the third stoppage loss in a row in his illustrious career.
Inoue had Uno in trouble early in the round with three rapid-fire right hands from the collar tie that sent Uno down, but he could not finish with following punches. That came a few moments later, however, as “Lion” feinted and shuffle-stepped his way into hiding a vicious high kick and a straight right that connected squarely on Uno's chin.
Seeing a dazed Uno fall straight backward, his head bouncing on the canvas, Inoue restrained himself from following up with academic punches, as referee Yuji Shimada dove for the save at the 4:18 mark.
'Lion's' roar was in his shin.
UFC veteran Gerald Harris took a decision win over Kazuhiro Nakamura in their middleweight contest, using stifling pressure in the clinch to sway two of the three judges in his favor. The powerful American was dogged in his takedown attempts, giving Nakamura no space to breathe or maneuver.
So neutralized was the Yoshida Dojo product that he uncharacteristically and blatantly grabbed the ropes in the final moments of the bout to prevent himself from being slammed by “Hurricane.” Harris nonetheless got the slam, and Nakamura also earned himself uncharacteristic boos from his hometown crowd shortly after.
Outside of a round-two guillotine attempt, the former SRC champion was not able to threaten “Chiquerim” with many submissions. However, his constant takedown pressure and Freire's third-round yellow card for passivity swayed judges Akira Shoji and Gen Isono in his favor. Only judge Matt Hume sided with the Brazilian.
In the Dream 17 opening bout, Ikuhisa Minowa slayed yet another giant in Mongolia's Baru Harn, putting the hefty albeit unskilled heavyweight down on the canvas to finish him with a scarf hold armlock at 4:29 of the first period.view original article >>
Nate Diaz wants to earn "at least $20 million, $30 million" if he's to return to the Octagon for the third segment of his trilogy against UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, according to his box read news >>
Two impressive stoppage victories at UFC Fight Night 115 were worthy of $50,000 bonuses.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>
It appear Ben Askren's mixed martial arts career is nearly at an end. The reigning and defending ONE Championship welterweight champion will step back into the cage in November and then call it a car read news >>
It was almost exactly one year ago that Ilir Latifi last stepped into the Octagon but he didn't look like he missed a step as he picked up a big win at UFC 215 on Saturday night. Latifi faced off wit read news >>
Ultimate Fighting Championship announced the bonus winners from UFC 215: Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 following Saturday's event in Edmonton, Canada. Rafael dos Anjos, Henry Cejudo, Jeremy Stephens and Gil read news >>
Ovince Saint Preux thinks he’s taking a short-term loss to earn a short-term gain by rematching Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in Japan. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>
Claudia Gadelha says she preferred to be fighting someone coming off a win. But, set on fighting in Japan, she took what was available:Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>
Gregor Gillespie kept his career record perfect, but Jason Gonzalez didn’t make it easy.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>
Mike Perry won with a devastating knockout at UFC Fight Night 116 and pocketed an extra $50,000 for his effort.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>
It had been more than a year since Luke Rockhold had set foot in a UFC cage, but he left with a much-needed win.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>