December 31st, 2009
Three of Japan’s biggest promotions joined forces for the traditional New Year’s Eve event tonight. Dynamite 2009 was co-promoted by Dream, Sengoku and K-1 and drew a crowd of 45,606 to the Saitama Super Arena.
The event was headlined by the final of the Dream super hulk tournament. Ikuhisa Minowa, the smallest fighter in the competition, had booked his spot by submitting two genuine giants in Bob Sapp and Hong Man Choi.
He faced off against Rameau Sokoudjou, who had stopped Jan Nortje in the opening round and the reinstated Sapp in the semi final. The Cameroonian outweighed the hometown hero by 19lbs and came into the fight as a strong favourite.
Sokoudjou came into the contest with his right knee heavily strapped. There was no action whatsoever for the first 90 seconds until Minowa caught a low kick and they clinched against the ropes.
Minowa pulled guard but couldn’t keep Sokodjou on the ground. The Cameroonian attacked with leg kicks again only for the 33 year old to catch a kick and try for a leg lock.
Sokoudjou was standing while Minowa held onto the leg and he punished the Japanese fighter with some solid downward punches. But the Pancrase and Pride veteran was clinging on to the heavily bandaged limb.
Sokodjou got back to his feet as Minowa tried to sink in a double leg takedown. But he ended up on the bottom and was rewarded with some hard knees to the head when he tried to get back up.
Minowa was knocked down and Sokodjou swiftly took his back and tried for a rear naked choke. The opening round was shorter than normal, at just five minutes, but the Cameroonian clearly got the better of it.
Saved by the bell
The second stanza started slowly but when Minowa attempted a takedown he once again ended up on his back. Sokojdou was in half guard and looked very comfortable but seemed to be conserving his energy.
Sokodjou knew if he could control the remainder of the round it would give him a virtually unassailable lead on the scorecards. But with seconds remaining in the round Minowa locked in a kneebar, only to see his opponent saved by the bell.
It meant the final round was going to be decisive on the scorecards and both men appeared reluctant to gamble, with the referee issuing both a yellow card for inactivity. The action did not intensify with the fighters content to bide their time.
Another yellow card was issued to both fighters and the stand off continued. Sokodjou finally decided to attempt a strike, a spinning back kick which did no real damage.
Sudden and surprising
Minowa finally spring into life and the finish came from nowhere. The Japanese fighter attempted a flurry of strikes and a left hook connected clean, with Sokodjou crumpling to the canvass.
The fight might have been lacking in action but the finish was as sudden as it was surprising, with the submission specialist taking out the knockout artist with a single punch.
With the win Minowa becomes the Dream super hulk Grand Prix champion. His record improves to 45-30-8 while Sokodjou drops to 7-6.
Best of the rest
In kickboxing action Masato beat Andy Souwer by unanimous decision in a battle between two former K-1 Max champions. There was also a decision win for Ray Sefo against Yosuke Nishijima in a heavyweight bout.
Shinya Aoki (23-4) caused controversy after breaking the arm of Mizuto Hirota (12-4) in a lightweight grudge match. The latter refused to tap to a first round hammerlock and the former showed no sympathy, taunting his crippled opponent after the fight.
While Aoki is the rising star in the lightweight division two seasoned veterans faced off in a welterweight fight. Akihiro Gono (31-15) emerged victorious, submitting Hayato Sakurai (35-10) with a second round armbar.
Gegard Mousasi (28-2) was forced to withdraw from the super hulk Grand Prix due to injury. But the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and Dream middleweight champion needed less than two minutes to finish K-1 veteran Gary Goodridge (23-20) tonight.
This is part of our retrospective series looking at some classic shows and fights.