By Mario Cuzic
After a successful debut at a sold out Yoyogi gymnasium World Victory Road came to Ariake Colosseum for it’s second event. Although there were many great fighters and interesting match-ups the show lacked the big Japanese names like Yoshida and Gomi which were present at the first show. That may have resulted in the failure to sell out the slightly smaller Ariake Colosseum.
The first fight of the night saw Japanese fighter Kitaoka Satoru face hard hitting Aussie Ian Shafa in a lightweight bout. After a bit of a feeling out process Kitaoka took the fight to the ground. After a short battle for position Kitaoka managed to sink in a guillotine choke at the 50 second mark giving him the first round submission victory.
In the second bout Extreme Couture welterweight fighter Mike Pyle met fellow American Dan Hornbuckle. The two didn’t waste much time in getting in the clinch. Hornbuckle scored a nice takedown but wasn’t able to do much on the ground. The fighters got back to their feet and again ended up in the clinch. Hornbuckle seemed take Pyle down at will but after the third takedown he got caught in a perfectly executed triangle choke giving Mike Pyle the victory only 8 seconds before the end of the round. In the post fight interview Pyle told the media that the rules in Japan suited him much better than those in the United States.
In the third bout of the night lightweight Eiji Mitsuoka locked horns with Korean striker Lee Guang Hee in what some called “the road to Gomi”. The fight started slow with neither willing to engage. Mitsuoka went for a takedown but wasn’t able to put the Korean on his back. After a successful second attempt Mitsuoka was able to get into half mount, than full mount, giving him position to land some good punches. In an attempt to weather the storm Hee gave his back which resulted in a rear naked choke and a win for Eiji Mitsuoka.
In the next fight middleweights Yuki Sasaki and ATT fighter George Santiago faced off in the fourth bout of the night. The fight started with Santiago stalking Sasaki but not throwing much leather. The fight got to the ground on a kick caught by Sasaki. Santiago managed to get in Sasaki’s guard and worked some effective ground and pound. The two were stood up and Santiago went on a relentless attack, but ended up slipping while throwing a high kick shortly before the end of the round.
The second round started the same as the first with Santiago moving forward but not throwing many strikes. Santiago got the fight to the ground again and delivered some nice ground and pound as he did in the first. The fight was stood up again but this time a nice exchange put Santiago on the ground and Sasaki in good shape however, the round ended as Sasaki was working an arm bar. In the third round the two exchanged strikes until things went to the ground. Santiago was able to hook in a slick armbar from the bottom to give him the win.
He fifth fight saw some heavyweight action when Japanese wrestler Yoshihiro “Kiss” Nakao met hard punching “Big” Jim York. This was Nakao’s first fight since finishing Edson Drago in the first round in PRIDE 34. The first round was very uneventful and reminiscent of Nakao’s fight with Nakamura with both fighters unwilling to engage. Both men landed the odd punch or kick but nothing very exciting.
The second round was an entirely different matter. Nakao went for a takedown quickly and as York tried to get to his feet. He was greeted with a right hook that sent him crashing down to the canvas giving Nakao the victory in his Sengoku debut.
The next fight saw the long awaited return of UFC and PRIDE veteran Kevin “the monster” Randleman in a match against Pancrase puncher Ryo Kawamura. Randleman came in faking a takedown and rocked Kawamura with a left hook. Randleman got Kawamuras back. Kawamura made an attempt at an arm lock but received some punches for his trouble. After a slowdown in the action the two were put in the center of the ring. The round ended shortly after.
Randleman took the round but looked more fatigued than his Japanese opponent. In the second round it was Kawamura who was pushing the pace until Randleman scored a takedown which he didn’t capitalize on. “The Monster” missed another opportunity when Kawamura slipped after throwing a kick. The round ended with Kawamura moving forward.
In the third round it was Kawamura landing more strikes until Randleman was able to force Kawamura into the corner but couldn’t do more than hold him there while fighting an arm lock. Randleman finally got Kawamura on the ground pressed into the corner but again found himself fighting an arm lock. In the last minute Kawamura was on the offensive and finished the fight strong but it was Randleman who won the fight by decision, a questionable decision.
The next fight saw the Japanese debut of Roger Gracie against experienced veteran Yuki Kondo. Kondo was giving up a lot in size but was superior in mma experience.
Gracie was able to secure a takedown early in the round and quickly got into side position and then into mount. To avoid getting peppered with punches Kondo gave his back and ended up getting choked out in just over two and a half minutes giving Gracie a 2-0 mma record.
The main event saw two good friends and training partners mix it up when Josh Barnett, who was coming off a submission win vs Hidehiko Yoshisa, met fellow American grappler Jeff Monson. Barnett came out throwing leg kicks and jabs keeping Monson at bay. Barnett then landed a spinning back kick before going back to work with leg kicks at a safe distance. Barnett’s offense kept going unanswered until Monson landed a nice right hand before the end of the round.
The second round started with a spinning back kick that pushed Monson across the ring. Monson however was able to get the fight to the ground and control things from half mount. After a few knees to the body and punches to the head Barnett was able to get up and secure a takedown of his own. After landing a couple of knees Barnett got into Monsons guard. The fighters got to their feet where they exchanged punches. The round ended with Barnett scoring a takedown.
In the third round Barnett came out aggressive. Monson was unable to secure a takedown. The two traded knees in the clinch until the ref broke it up. Barnett was able to connect on a powerful knee that floored Monson and controlled him on the ground. Barnett latched on to Monson’s foot but time ran out before he could secure the submission. Barnett got the decision to become 2-0 in Sengoku and looked very impressive.
All in all it was a decent event with many fights finishing in the first. What the event did lack was the big Japanese names that packed the house for Sengoku I.