December 31st, 2005
The finals of the Hero’s 154lbs Grand Prix took place at the Osaka Dome tonight. In the main event of a K-1 Premium 2005 Dynamite! card stacked with kickboxing and MMA fights Norifumi Yamamoto stopped Genki Sudo to win the tournament.

Yamamoto had won his quarter final and semi final matchups with second round stoppages. He put away Royler Gracie in the first round of the tournament and Caol Uno in the next.

Meanwhile Sudo reached the final on the back of two second round submission wins. He finished Hiroyuki Takaya with a triangle choke in his opening match and secured an armbar against Kazuyuki Miyata in the final four.

Clash of styles 

So the stage was set for a classic striker vs grappler encounter which was witnessed by over 50,000 fans on New Year’s Eve. Both men wore wrestling shoes but it was Sudo who started with the most intent, firing off a series of kicks.

Yamamoto’s approach was more patient with the southpaw crouching low and waiting for an opportunity to land the left hand. Enjoying a significant height advantage Sudo seemed content to keep the fight standing.

In fact it was Yamamoto who initiated the first bit of action on the ground, catching a kick and throwing a right hook which forced Sudo to throw himself on his back. The Shooto veteran had no desire to make it a grappling match and elected to allow his downed opponent to stand.

Devastating right

Yamamoto capitalized by landing a solid low kicks to the inside and outside of Sudo’s lead left leg. The 27 year old countered with a body kick of his own but it was caught by ‘Kid’.

Instead of countering with as strike Yamamoto lifted the leg and dumped his opponent on the floor. Sudo threw his legs up looking for a triangle choke but the referee saw it as a stalemate and stood them back up almost instantly.

With 30 seconds remaining in the round Yamamoto landed a devastating right hook which knocked Sudo down. He followed up with a vicious barrage of ground and pound leaving the referee no option but to call off the contest.

Sudo looked stunned as his opponent celebrated wildly in the ring. The finish came at the 4:39 mark and with his tenth straight win Yamamoto, who improves to 13-1, has surely established himself as the best 155lber on the planet.

Meanwhile Sudo drops to 14-4-1 and sees his six fight winning streak snapped. The tournament itself will live long in the memory with two of the best fighters in the division facing off in a dramatic final.

Best of the rest 

That wasn’t the only drama on the night. The heavyweight clash between Yoshihiro Nakao (4-0-0-1) and Heath Herring (25-11-0-1) ended prematurely when the Japanese fighter decided to give the American a kiss on the lips during an intense stare down.

Herring wasn’t impressed and responded with a right hook. Nakao was out cold and unable to fight, with the result eventually being declared a ‘no contest’.

The eagerly anticipated bout between Royce Gracie (13-1-3) and Hideo Tokoro (16-12-2) also ended in a draw. Nether man was able to find the finish and so under the rules which were agreed for this contest no winner was declared.

In heavyweight kickboxing action newly crowned K-1 World Grand Prix champion Semmy Schilt was matched with Ernest Hoost. ‘Mr Perfect’ turned 40 earlier this year and was looking to

K-1 Premium 2005 Dynamite!, Osaka, December 31st 2005
Norifumi Yamamoto def. Genki Sudo by TKO (Punches) at 4:39 of Round 1
Royce Gracie vs. Hideo Tokoro end in a Draw (No Judges) at 10:00 of Round 2
Bobby Ologun def. Chad Rowan by Decision (Unanimous) at 3:00 of Round 3
Katsuhiko Nagata def. Remigijus Morkevicius by Decision (unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 2
Yoshihiro Nakao vs. Heath Herring ended in a No Contest
Jerome Le Banner def. Alan Karaev by KO (Body Kick) at 1:14 of Round 1
Shungo Oyama def. Peter Aerts by Submission (Heel Hook) at 0:30 of Round 1
Kickboxing: Semmy Schilt def. Ernesto Hoost by TKO (Punches) 0:41 of Round 2
Kickboxing: Masato Kobayashi def. Akira Ohigashi by TKO at 1:58 of Round 2
Kickboxing: Akio Mori def. Bob Sapp by Decision (Unanimous) at 3:00 of Round 3
Kickboxing: Remy Bonjasky def. Sylvester Terkay by Decision (Split) at 3:00 of Round 3

This is part of our retrospective series looking at some classic shows and fights. For more information click here.