Juntaro Ushiku defends featherweight title with split decision win over Daisuke Nakamura at Deep 102
Juntaro Ushiku came into the main event of Deep 102 with revenge on his mind and gutted out a decision victory over Daisuke Nakamura. He retains the featherweight title after the win at Korakuen Hal on Sunday night.
It was no secret that Nakamura was hunting for the knockout, he finished the champion in a non title fight at Deep 100 earlier this year. The 41-year-old former lightweight champ constantly pushed forward with his hands low trying to lure Ushiku in.
They trading kicks for the first few minutes of the opening round with Nakamura getting the best of the exchanges. He landed a beautiful head kick, right knee combo before they started to grapple.
Pushing the pace
When the fight hit the mat, Nakamura swept his opponent and had the armbar locked in. Ushiku was able to spin out and land on top to ride out the round with a few strikes inside the guard.
Nakamura again pushed the pace to start the second round. This time around he mixed in boxing combinations with his kicks. Despite this adjustment, Ushiku was able to use his wrestling to turn the tide.
After a failed initial attempt, Ushiku was able to clinch up and land the first of many takedowns. As Nakamura returned to his feet, the champion secured a tight body lock.
A few punches followed then Nakamura reversed the position and connected with some knees to the midsection. The referee separated them for inactivity and Ushiku battered the calf with kicks but he ended the round on his back.
Entering the final round there was nothing to choose between the two men. Ushiku dug deep and focused on controlling Nakamura for the rest of regulation.
He applied the pressure with constant level changes and clinch positions along the cage. The champion completed multiple takedowns throughout the round and Nakamura pulled guard in a last-ditch effort to turn the fight around.
Four out of the five judges scored the fight for Ushiku and the other had it for Nakamura with all five scorecards reading 29-2. The champion moves his record to 19-8-1 while the challenger losses for the first time since 2016 and drops to 30-20-1.
Joao Batista Yoshimura repeated history by knocking out Tatsuya Mizuno in the co-main event, but this time he had the Deep middleweight belt to show for it. The Brazilian had stopped the Japanese veteran in a non title fight at Deep 98 last year,
Yoshimura was patient in his approach allowing Mizuno to move around so he could collect data. The first round was competitive with the 40 year old light on his feet landing a mixture of strikes while his opponent kept to single power punches for the most part.
At the start of the second round, Yoshimura picked up the action and started headhunting. He landed a heavy right hand that had Mizuno on shaky ground.
A wild exchange ensued before Yoshimura flatlined his Japanese foe with a haymaker. The Brazilian moves up to -4 and wins the Deep middleweight title while Mizuno drops to 22-14-1 and loses his belt.
The interim lightweight championship clash between Juri Ohara and Ryoto Oki had all the makings of a classic until an ill-fated low blow ended the contest prematurely at the start of the final round.
Ohara began the match investing in the kicks, sometimes barely missing a fight-ending blow. Oki would rush in and connect with punches while his opponent would march forward. He would mix in kicks from distance.
The second round was more intense as Ohara was dropped by a solid left hook while moving to engage in the action. A crushing uppercut also landing flush and the 30 year old had no choice but to clinch up and slow the pace.
Oki stomped Ohara’s left foot multiple times while locked against the fence but once they separated a brawl broke out. A tornado of strikes from both fighter continued throughout the round.
Battered and bruised
Ohara connected with a straight right and collapsed his foe. He punched Oki repeatedly yet somehow the Krazy Bee fighter survived with an an iron chin and a sheer refusal to quit.
When the bell rang to end the second frame, both fighters were on wobbly legs from fatigue. Oki left side was battered and bruised.
Unfortunately the first strike thrown in the last round was a groin shot by Oki. Ohara was given a break to try and recover but he could not and the fight went to the scorecards.
The judges gave Ohara (29-18) the unanimous decision and the interim lightweight title while Oki (4-1) suffers the first setback of his career.