December 31st, 2008
Two professional wrestlers met in the main event of K-1 Dynamite 2008 tonight. Kiyoshi Tamura emerged victorious, claiming a decision win over compatriot Kazushi Sakuraba.
It was a night which saw many mixed martial artists compete under kickboxing rules while several K-1 fighters were involved in MMA fights. There were some unexpected outcomes with submission specialists scoring KOs and stand up fighters winning by submission.
This clash of styles was a theme of a card co-promoted by Dream and K-1. But the event was headlined by an MMA bout between two fighters from wrestling backgrounds.
The two had previously shared a ring together during their pro wrestling careers. At Pride 34 last year it was announced they would be facing each other but the promotion was acquired by the UFC before the fight could happen.
The eagerly anticipated middleweight matchup between the two 39 year olds was eventually put together by Dream. After a couple of low kicks from Tamura at the start of the fight Sakuraba dived for a single leg.
He spent the best part of two minutes trying to complete the takedown but it was Tamura who ended up in side control. Sakuraba soon established guard but in at this stage the former UFC Japan tournament winner was losing the wrestling contest.
Sakuraba looked dangerous on his back and was throwing his legs up, trying to secure an armbar or a guillotine. Sensing the danger, Tamura stood up only to find himself caught in a leg lock.
He was able to retain top position and as Sakuraba tried to crank on the leg Tamura pounded away at his face and body. The fighters were reset in the middle of the ring but the former Rings openweight champion remained on top.
With 30 seconds remaining in the round Sakuraba locked on an armbar but his opponent was saved by the bell. It meant Tamura had spent nearly 10 minutes in top position leaving him firmly in control of the fight.
The second round started just like the first with Tamura trying to land leg kicks from the southpaw stance and Sakuraba diving for a leg. Once again it was the former who found himself in top position.
The fighters were reset in the middle of the ring with Tamura in Sakuraba’s guard. With the second round scheduled for just five minutes it put the veteran southpaw firmly in the driving seat.
The referee opted for a change of approach and decided to stand them up and issue yellow cards, despite the second round being virtually a carbon copy of the first.
The standup actually benefited Tamura who attacked relentlessly with low kicks which seemed to hurt Sakuraba before dropping for a double leg takedown which he completed with ease.
With 90 seconds remaining in the round the referee stood them up again. Sakuraba shot for a single leg takedown and found himself in top position for the first time in the fight.
The fight finished with Sakuraba in side control but save for a brief onslaught of elbows at the bell he wasn’t able to do any damage. It left the judges with an easy decision and all three saw the fight in favour of Tamura.
Tamura improves to 34-14 and extends his winning streak to three after prevailing in this battle between middleweight veterans. Sakuraba drops to 24-11 and has now lost back to back fights under the Dream banner.
Best of the rest
In the co-main event Shinya Aoki (19-3) needed just 92 seconds to submit Eddie Alvarez (15-2). The inaugural WAMMA 155lbs title was on the line and the Japanese fighter finished the American with a first round heel hook.
Meanwhile Melvin Manhoef (23-5), who stopped Sakuraba earlier this year, scored another big win. He needed just 18 seconds to knock out K-1 veteran Mark Hunt (5-5).
Mirko Crocop (24-6) took on Korean giant Hong Man Choi (1-2). The Croatian took his time before eventually finishing the fight with low kicks at the 6:32 mark.
MMA fighters Gegard Mousasi and Tatsuya Kawajiri both prevailed in their kickboxing contests. They scored stoppage wins over Musashi and Kozo Takeda respectively.
In another kickboxing bout K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 finalist Badr Hadri was surprisingly stopped by Pride veteran Alistair Overeem. The Dutchman finished fight with a right hook after 2:07 of round 1.