Kenta Takizawa survived three rounds with Masakazu Imanari and secured a split decision win at Rizin 29. Survival was the name of the game for the 26 year old who was terrified of being caught in one of his opponent’s trademark leg locks.

Even Imanari admitted that his opponent deserved to win by unanimous decision. But it was not a vintage performance from Takizawa who admits he was very wary of the veteran’s submission skills,

“It went as planned, I knew he was hurt but I was scared of his leg locks.”

Kenta Takizawa punches Masakazu Imanari

Badly hurt

Takizawa had Imanari badly hurt in the open round, afterwards his opponent admitted that he was on the verge of being finished. But instead of moving in for the kill he elected to keep his distance, giving the veteran time to recover.

Takizawa admits this was all part of the low risk strategy which he had decided to employ for this fight,

“The plan was to throw from a distance and to counter when he closes distance. Even if I got a knockdown I didn’t want to take the risk of getting caught while following up. I wanted to add up damage with single strikes so I waited for him to get back up.”

Masakazu Imanari leg locks Kenta Takizawa

Legendary leg locks

At one stage Imanari appeared to have secured one of his legendary leg locks. A frantic scramble ensued but Takizawa was eventually able to escape.

The Pancrase veteran admits he was panicking for a few seconds,

“I became frantic when he got a hold of me. I was stuck in the corner and couldn’t go forward. I was able to rotate horizontally and get out of it.”

Kenta Takizawa kicks Masakazu Imanari

Exciting performance

Beating Imanari in a slightly boring manner guarantees Takizawa a spot in the quarter finals and a fight at Rizin 30 on September 19th. Losing an entertaining fight would have guaranteed him absolutely nothing so while the Reversal Gym representative isn’t proud of the performance he is happy with the result.

Takizawa did what he needed to to in order to win. But he promises to put in a more fan friendly performance in the quarter finals,

“This is the only way I could beat Imanari. I need to put on an exciting performance for my next one and show the fans what they want to see.”