After a neat opening short film of tonight's fighters sprinting around various parts of Japan, the show kicks off with a lineup of tap dancers, dancing to Robbie Williams. While all this is going on, JMMA hero and MMA living legend Kazushi Sakuraba continues the theme, running on a treadmill in the background as our fighters are introduced.
1) Satoru Kitaoka vs. Will Brooks
Ref: Yuji Shimada
Brooks tests the waters with a few single punches and low kicks. It isn't long however until Kitaoka begins diving for legs and takedowns in earnest. He gets Brooks down, but the American is quick to scramble and attempt to reverse position. Kitaoka goes for a foot, but Brooks counters and sets himself back in guard. Brooks brings it back to the feet and stalks Kitaoka about to outside of the ring, landing jabs and right hands. Perhaps too many of these punches connect, dazing Kitaoka long enough for Brooks to get him in the waist lock and slam him on his head. Kitaoka shakes out the cobwebs and scrambles, again looking for a leg to attack. Brooks settles into Kitaoka's guard. The Japanese fighter begins looking for submission opportunities, only to begin eating punches from the American. They return briefly to the feet, where Kitaoka dives again to snatch a leg for the sub attempt--this time, it's a heel hook. Brooks breaks free and gets to side control, just before the bell rings.
A solid, solid round for the American, and a worrisome one for Kitaoka who historically tends not to get his finishes early, if at all.
Brooks, back in mount, again doesn't let Kitaoka get the fight down on his terms. Kitaoka starts crawling his legs up to look for a triangle first, then an upkick next. Brooks clears out and brings the fight back to the feet. Kitaoka misses wide with the spinning back fist, and in the ensuing confusion, goes for Brooks' leg once again. The American spins out, defending the heel hook accordingly. He drops the occasional punch across Kitaoka's face, but the former Sengoku LW champ is undeterred, resetting his grip on Brooks' foot. Brooks then realizes that he's in Japan and throws heel stomps at Kitaoka's face. Kitaoka hangs on, but looks away to minimize the damage. Be that as it may, Brooks has done damage as blood is coming from Kitaoka's face. Seeing his chance, Brooks sits up and bends forward, dropping punches. Kitaoka wilts under the fire and gives up his back. Brooks continues to drop bombs until referee Yuji Shimada has seen enough, calling the bout.
Will Brooks def Satoru Kitaoka -- TKO (Punches) R2 3:46
2) Marloes Coenen vs. Fiona Muxlow
Ref: Kenichi Serizawa
Coenen takes the center and starts off with a low kick. Muxlow returns in kind, but Coenen is able to catch a few before attempting counter punches. They trade shots like this for a bit until Coenen closes into clinch range and delivers some hard knees to her opponent's midsection. It doesn't take much until Muxlow goes to all fours, where she eats a few Coenen knees to the head now. Coenen hunts briefly for a guillotine, but gives up on it to drop hammer fists. Coenen shifts her grips, looking to sweep Muxlow. She gives it up when the armbar avails itself, but Muxlow hangs on. Coenen stays calm, resets, and eventually gets the full extension for the tapout.
Marloes Coenen def. Fiona Muxlow -- Submission (Armbar) R1 3:29
3) Hayato Sakurai vs. Phil Baroni
Ref: Moritaka Oshiro
Sakurai lands a stiff low kick before Baroni puts him up against the ropes in the clinch. Sakurai spins Baroni around, exchanging position, eating a few short punches to the head and knees to the legs. Mach fires off several knees of his own before being spun into the corner by Baroni. Both men seem content to fight in the clinch, but referee Moritaka Oshiro has different plans, splitting them up. Baroni lands a few wide punches before putting Mach back against the ropes. Mach puts in some token offense before being overwhelmed and tripped to the canvas. From guard, Baroni begins attacking the Japanese fighter's body with punches, biding his time until he can set up bigger punches to Sakura's head. Mach throws a few upkicks between Baroni's punches, but they primarily just graze the American. Meanwhile, Baroni continues to hunt for punches from above. Sakurai works some wrist control in between throwing punches from bottom. In the final 20 seconds, Baroni steps back, just out of range of Sakurai's up kicks. Sakurai charges Baroni with punches. The American blocks up against the ropes, and the bell rings soon after.
Baroni charges forward with punches before careening into the clinch. Sakurai manages a handful of knees to the body, and knees before tripping The New York Badass to the canvas. Mach proceeds from side control to full mount and lands several punches before Baroni recovers half guard. Mach passes back to side, but he can't keep Baroni pinned. Baroni gets to his feet, looks for a single leg, and is rebuffed. They separate, but it doesn't stay up for long. Baroni finally gets his takedown and again resets in Sakurai's guard to drop punches. The American continues to grind Sakurai down with punches while the Shooto vet appears happy to look for the few upkick attempts he can find. It suits Baroni and his corner to the ground as Enson Inoue can be heard in his corner, instructing Baroni to "stay in the guard! Stay in the guard!" Sakurai goes for a leg submission, but Baroni is savvy enough to see it coming, counter, and reset himself in guard for the final seconds of the round.
In what looks to be a repeat of the previous rounds, they lock up against the ropes. This doesn't last long however as when they separate, Baroni comes out swinging and Sakurai obliges him. Baroni lands big, wide haymakers, which Sakurai lands a few good knees to the body. The blows seem to wobble the Japanese fighter a bit, but he's far from out of the fight. Mach lands a few hard knees in the clinch, some of which connect to the top of Baroni's head. Despite finding success here, Sakurai can't seem to keep ahead as he's reversed and put on his back once again. Both men are quite fatigued at this point however, so there is little in the way of offense exchanged. Referee Oshiro stands both men up, and they resume standing toe to toe to land big punches. Baroni goes for a takedown and is rebuffed. Sakurai has the American up against the ropes now, landing two and three punches at a time. Baroni, between Mach's combinations, lands counter hooks. With about 20 seconds left in the fight, both fighters go for broke, throwing punches until the final bell.
After three rounds, judges Akira Shoji, Hikaru Adachi, and Kaoru Todori all have it for the winner by unanimous decision, Hayato "Mach" Sakurai.
Hayato Sakurai def. Phil Baroni -- Unanimous Decision R3 5:00
4) Melvin Manhoef vs. Denis Kang
Ref: Kenichi Serizawa
Both men dance tensely about the ring. Kang breaks the tension by firing first, landing a few punches. Manhoef retreats and Kang gives chase, apparently under the impression that he's drawn blood. They careen into the clinch, whereupon the Dutchman plants a solid knee to Kang's midsection. Immediately upon contact, Kang goes face first into the canvas. Manhoef drops two punches before referee Kenichi Serizawa dives in for the save at the 50 second mark.
Melvin Manhoef def. Denis Kang -- TKO (Knee and punches) R1 0:50
5) Bibiano Fernandes vs. Yoshiro Maeda
Ref: Yuji Shimada
Maeda starts off with a high kicks, but the former Dream chap blocks it. Not long after, Fernandes has the fight not only on the ground, but has also secured the WEC veteran's back. He only has one hook in however, allowing Maeda to scramble out. "Flash" lives up to his nickname and reasserts himself on Maeda's back. Maeda again scrambles and manages to at least get his way into Fernandes' guard. One problem, however, is that he's also put himself in perfect position for the armbar and/or triangle. Fernandes picks the triangle after all and pulls down on Maeda's head, sending him to sleep. Referee Yuji Shimada steps in to peel Fernandes from the limp Maeda, calling it at the 1:46 mark.
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Yoshiro Maeda -- Technical Submission (Triangle) R1 1:46
During the intermission, Kazushi Sakuraba introduces Glory Sports International's Pierre Andurand, who greets and thanks the Japanese fans. He expresses his and Glory's intent to revive Japan's kakutogi ("fight sport") industry. He gives Sakuraba the mic back, whereupon the MMA legend is sure to let the fans know where they can catch him next: pro-wrestling at the Tokyo Dome, next week. Still, he does express a wish to one day fight in the Saitama Super Arena again, for the fans.
6) Shinya Aoki vs. Antonio McKee
Ref: Kenichi Serizawa
They touch gloves. Aoki leads with a high kick, which McKee blocks. Aoki scores with a right hand however, right before he ties up with the UFC vet in the clinch. McKee is momentarily successful in keeping Aoki from advancing to his back in the clinch, but before long, the Tobikan Judan has McKee on the ground anyway. Aoki passes to north-south position and lobs several knees to McKee's head. McKee drives forward and puts Aoki on his back with the reversal. Aoki goes for the armbar, but McKee drives forward in defense. Aoki begins looking for an arm instead, and McKee, not liking this turn of events, stands. McKee lands a spinning back kick on the feet, but Aoki is unfazed. The former Dream champion engages McKee in the clinch again, searching either to take the back in the waist lock or get a takedown. Aoki gets a single in the corner, but McKee holds on tightly to Aoki's head, rendering the fight largely inert. The bell rings soon after.
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