by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
In one of the most anticipated fights of the year, defending
154-pound Grand Prix Champion Gesias Calvancante faced off against #6-ranked
lightweight Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro in the first semi-final of the tournament.
It took just 35 seconds for “JZ” to stop the highly regarded Ribeiro and move
on to the finals in impressive fashion.
Calvancante missed with a right hook early on and the two
Brazilians clinched against the ropes. Gesias threw his opponent to the mat
and followed up with strong ground and pound. Ribeiro was stunned by a right
hand, unable to fully recover from the many subsequent strikes. Calvancante
threw over twenty unanswered punches before the referee stopped the fight.
Chute Boxe’s Andre Amade took on UFC and Hero’s veteran Caol
Uno in the other semi-final of the evening. “Dida” hurt Uno with a right hook
early and followed up with a flying knee that dropped his Japanese opponent.
Caol got back to his feet as Amade began to unleash punishing strikes, forcing
Uno to make many failed takedown attempts. In a questionable move by the
referee, the fight was temporarily stopped to allow a doctor to check on the
blood from Uno’s mouth although it was apparent he was still a bit stunned from
the recent exchange. After a brief rest, the remainder of the round saw Uno
being the aggressor and backing up Amade to the ropes.
Round two started a bit more tentative early on with both
fighters content on circling the ring. Uno was able to gain the advantage
halfway through the round, engaging in top position after a scramble. Amade
managed to get back to his feet with under a minute remaining. Dida finished
the fight strong, landing harder and more effective strikes.
After two rounds, the judges awarded the Chute Boxe fighter
with a unanimous decision and the tournament conclusion was set.
In the tournament finals, the two Brazilians shared an
intense and close stare-down, leaving Calvancante with a grin on his face as he
walked back to his corner. Both fighters circled early and traded punches. A
right hook by Dida stunned Calvancante for a brief moment, bringing the
defending champion to his knee. After a few more exchanges, Gesias secured a
double leg takedown just over a minute into the round.
The Chute Boxe fighter did well from his guard and avoided
taking a lot of damage as JZ postured up for punches and threw the occasional
shoulder strike. With less than a minute left in the first round, Calvancante
attained full mount and transitioned into an armbar, forcing his opponent to
Gesias Calvancante is now the two-time K-1 Hero’s 154-pound
Grand Prix Champion and his stock will certainly soar.
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto made his awaited return to Hero’s,
this time at his natural weight class of 145 pounds. Yamamoto’s opponent,
Bibiano Fernandes, turned out to be a tougher challenge than most expected and
was aggressive from his guard with multiple submission attempts. Unfortunately
for Fernandes, he was unable to effectively stand and trade with his opponent
and settled on pulling guard during many of the exchanges.
Kid earned a unanimous decision after three rounds in a
fight that saw him on his back a few times. Afterwards, Yamamoto apologized to
the crowd for not finishing the fight by knockout.
Katsuyori Shibata survived a stumble while walking into the
ring, but was unable to defeat former Pride star Kazushi Sakuraba. After
circling each other for a moment, Sakuraba secured a single leg takedown.
Shibata immediately peppered his opponent with rabid punches his back. The “Gracie
Hunter” later transitioned into side mount, biding his time while occasionally
slapping and punching Shibata. Sakuraba attempted an armbar with less than
five minutes left in the round and Shibata bravely defended the hold with his
legs. The Japanese pro wrestler eventually succumbed to the submission about a
Afterwards, the Japanese legend called out Rickson Gracie
who was in attendance.
After making an unsuccessful move from Cage Rage to Pride,
Zelg Galesic hoped to rebound with a victory in Hero’s against Yoon Dong Sik.
The Korean Judoka clinched early, eventually taking Galesic down and landing
into side mount. Sik transitioned into a full mount and began to land some
punches. As Galesic tried to sweep his opponent from the bottom, Sik secured a
textbook armbar forcing the Croatian to tap.
Galesic has now suffered back-to-back submission losses to
two gold medal Judokas.
Melvin Manhoef extended his winning streak to two since
losing to Yoon Dong Sik at K-1’s U.S. debut back in June. The Dutch striker
stopped Chute Boxe’s Fabio Silva with strikes just one minute into the first
round. Manhoef dropped Silva with a left-right combination and followed up
with more than ten unanswered hammer fists. The referee was forced to halt the
Sergei Kharitonov avenged his previous loss to Alistair
Overeem with a knockout victory. Sporting a new shaved haircut, Overeem took
the fight to the Russian, throwing looping hooks and knees. The “Demolition
Man” made many attempts to take Kharitonov down, but was unsuccessful. As the
round progressed, Sergei landed straight punches and uppercuts with more
regularity. Kharitonov hit Overeem with a right hook with under a minute to go
in the round that had him reeling across the ring. Another right hook put the
Dutch striker through the ropes, bringing a prompt end to the fight.
Sporting his trademark mullet, fan favorite Ikuhisa Minowa
defeated Kevin Casey via strikes in the second round. Plodding at a dull pace,
the first round saw Minowa get outgrappled by Casey. “Minowaman” dropped Casey
with a right hook during an exchange in the final round and followed with many
unanswered strikes, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
Kazuyuki Miyata rebounded from his loss to Vitor “Shaolin”
Ribeiro with a submission victory over Harvey Harra in the evening’s tournament
reserve match. Harra charged out to engage Miyata early, missing with a kick.
The Japanese wrestler immediately took Harra down with a double leg and transitioned
into side mount. Miyata secured an armbar shortly after.
In preliminary action, Takenori Sato defeated Kenji Nagai
via armbar and Tashiro Nishiuchi earned a unanimous decision over Wataru
Takahashi. Team Sakurabatake and U-File split their victories.