by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
American Top Team fighter Jorge Santiago kept his post-UFC streak intact on Sunday in Saitama, Japan, where he captured the first Sengoku middleweight championship with a win over No. 5 ranked middleweight Kazuo Misaki.
It was a tough back and forth battle over the opening four rounds of the bout, but in the championship round, it was Santiago that would find a way to claim victory. After feeling the brunt of Misaki’s kicks for most of the fight, Santiago got the fight to the mat in the fifth round, and worked his way to mount. Misaki gave up his back and that was all the ATT fighter needed to lock on a rear naked choke. Misaki could not escape; the referee stopping the fight after the Japanese fighter went to sleep.
Santiago is now 9-0 since a 1-2 trio of fights saw him exit the UFC’s Octagon. That nine-fight streak includes winning two bouts in one night on two different occasions. Besides defeating Misaki for the Sengoku title, Santiago’s resume during that time includes wins over Jeremy Horn, Trevor Prangley, Siyar Bahadurzada, and Kazuhiro Nakamura, amongst others.
While Santiago’s star continues to shine brighter and brighter, former No. 1 ranked lightweight Takanori Gomi’s star continues to fade. Even though Sergey Golyaev defeated him in November, Gomi was given a reprieve by World Victory Road and placed in Sunday’s Sengoku lightweight title bout with Satoru Kitaoka. By contrast, Kitaoka earned his place in the bout by winning two fights in one night on that same November fight card. He continued his winning ways on Sunday.
Following an opening minute of little action, Kitaoka shot in on Gomi. A brief scramble ensued and Gomi picked Kitaoka up and slammed him down, causing both fighters to hit the mat with Gomi’s arm tied up by Kitaoka. Gomi attempted to get to Kitaoka’s back, but Kitaoka switched to an Achilles lock. Gomi defended, and even waved off the referee at one point, but Kitaoka switched up his hold and arched his back, causing Gomi to tap out.
The fight marks Kitaoka’s fifth straight victory – earning him the first Sengoku lightweight championship – following a strong 2008 that saw him go 4-1 on the year.
EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva made his promotional debut on Sunday despite remaining under suspension by the California State Athletic Commission for a positive test result for the anabolic steroid boldenone. The commission has no authority over fights in Japan.
Silva was successful in his bout with Yoshihiro “Kiss” Nakao, though it was rather anticlimactic. The two had barely gotten started, Silva using his superior size to his advantage in a couple of brief exchanges, before Nakao limped away from Silva and fell to the mat, the referee halting the fight. There was no clear indicator as to the cause of Nakao’s injury, as he didn’t appear to take any punishment to the leg that collapsed and he clutched while on his back on the mat.
Team Quest fighter Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal kept his impressive streak intact. Following a September professional debut, Lawal is now 3-0 in MMA, all three victories under the Sengoku banner. He ended a six-fight winning streak for Yukiya Naito – a fighter with more than 20 bouts to his credit – with an opening round TKO at Sengoku 7.
Sengoku Lightweight Championship:
-Satoru Kitaoka def. Takanori Gomi by Submission (Achilles Lock) at 1:41, R1
Sengoku Middleweight Championship:
-Jorge Santiago def. Kazuo Misaki by Submissions (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:26, R5
-Sanae Kikuta def. Hidehiko Yoshida by Split Decision, R3
-Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal def. Yukiya Naito by TKO (Strikes) at 3:54, R1
-Antonio Silva def. Yoshihiro Nakao by TKO (Leg Injury) at 1:42, R1
-Eiji Mitsuoka def. Sergey Golyaev by Submission (Armbar) at 4:22, R1
-Choi Mu Bae def. Dave Herman by TKO (Strikes) at 2:22, R2
-Maximo Blanco def. Seigo Inoue by KO (Stomp) at 0:38, R1
-Hidetada Irie def. Minoru Kato by TKO (Strikes) at 4:21, R2