First up on the main card was the welterweights Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim versus Siyar “The Great” Bahadurzada. This fight was all Stun Gun from the get go as he got Bahadurzada down early in each round and finished each round from the mount. I guess you can give credit to Siyar for not just giving up late in the fight when Kim had him in a deep arm triangle. Kim delivered a beating including posturing up from the mount and raining down double punches and elbows from the top. Kim took the unanimous decision 30-27 on all three judges score cards.
In a featherweight fight Rani Yahya spent much of the first two rounds like Kim did in his fight from a dominant top position. Yahya also like Kim had a deep arm triangle but being up against the fence really kept him from turning it and he would go on to let go and settle back into the guard of Mizuto Hirota. In the third round the clearly tired Yahya was nearly caught in triangle than arm bar submission but the smooth grappler was able to pop his way out of danger and survive till the end of the fight. Rani Yahya was awarded the unanimous decision by judges scores of 29-28×3.
In the “Thunder” versus “Lightning” fight Yushin “Thunder” Okami spent the first two rounds grinding away on Hector “Lightning” Lombard. Okami was able to utilize his reach advantage than get the take downs trying to wear down the muscular Lombard. After two clear rounds for Okami Lombard came out the aggressor winging big right and left over hand punches. Okami looked to be hurt and flopped to his back. Lombard quickly dove on top and tried to rain down the punches but Okami was able to tie him up and prevented him from landing anything that could have ended the fight. Lombard clearly won the last round but after the first two rounds he needed the stoppage. Thunder took this one by judges scores of 28-29, 29-28, 29-28 for split decision nod.
After more than a year since his last fight the middleweight winner from the very first Ultimate Fighter season Diego Sanchez stepped back into the octagon. After going 2-2 at welterweight the former light weight title challenger made his return the ranks of 155ers. The man to welcome him to Japan would be none other than home town fighter, Pride grand prix winner and former Pride champion ‘The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi. The man who now fights under the moniker “The Dream” had more of a nightmarish weekend as he was unable to make weight and had to give Gomi 20% of his purse. Than to make things worse Gomi landed the lead jab over and over again throughout the fight. Gomi also punished the body of Sanchez with thudding hooks. Gomi was the aggressor of this fight as he had Sanchez circling and back pedaling almost the whole fight. Once Gomi would back Sanchez into the cage he would wisely reset and get back to the center of the octagon to avoid being taken down by Sanchez. Sanchez was successful with his kicks to the body but not so much when he would go to the head or inside of the leg as he caught Gomi twice in the groin and was warned early in the second to change what he was doing or he was going to end up losing points. Sanchez was able to get a pair of take downs off the kicks of Gomi in the first than Gomi stuffed the rest of Sanchez’s attempts. Wow judges score the fight (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) to give the split decision nod to Diego “The Dream” Sanchez. That is surprising and most who are watching and on twitter see it the same way including UFC President Dana White who tweeted “How the fuck did Diego win that fight!? Crazy shit” Watch for yourself I would love to know how you saw it.
In the co-main event the heavyweights had their turn to entertain the fans. Former Pride competitor Mark “Super Samoan” Hunt who comes into the fight at 5’10” and 266lbs faces the 7’ “Skyscraper” that is Stefan Struve. The two heavies but on a very competitive fight as they showed all aspects of the mma game. Hunt looked good standing being able to get to the inside and land some punches on the much bigger man. Struve was able to stay in the fight because Hunt was more than willing to go into the guard of Struve and Struve was able to sweep Hunt a couple times, gain the mount and threaten submissions. By the third round both men looked exhausted. Struve was letting Hunt come in and tee off on him with leaping punches. Struve finally dropped his hands and Hunt landed a huge lunging (almost leaping to reach the chin) left hand that causes Dean to step in and save Stefan Struve and we see our first stoppage of the night since the opening fight on facebook. Hunt is credited with a technical knock out at 1:44 of round 3. Struve suffered a broken jaw from that last big hay maker.
Brian Stann stepped back up to light heavyweight for the night to face “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva in the building that captured many of his most memorable highlights and helped make him a legend in mixed martial arts. The two men come out right from the beginning and look to do nothing other than trade the biggest punches they can throw. Stann is able to drop Silva twice in the first couple minutes as they stand in front of each other but Silva is quickly back to his feet and telling Stann to bring it on. Silva breaks Stann’s nose across the bridge. With a minute left in the round they are winging punches again. This time Silva goes down pops back up and Stann is dropped now as Silva has his back against the cage. Silva goes down again after Stann connects. Silva once again is back up and as they clinch Stann falls on top of Silva as they go down to the mat and the round ends there with Stann gushing blood down on Silva. Round two was much more cautious as Stann was looking to land the straight punches and press the action while Silva wants to counter with the hooks. Silva does just that as he ducks lands the counter right than immediately follows it with a left hook to the chin and Stann is down. Silva pounces and Goodard is racing over to save Stann from any more punishment. Saitama Super Arena, the announcers and me at home go nuts as Silva jumps into the stands. What a fight especially that last minute of round one. Go back and watch it to see one of the greatest exchanges of all time. The Axe Murderer Wanderlei Silva gets the knock out victory at 4:08 of round 2.
Award winners and recipients of an extra $50K
FOTN Stann vs Silva
KOTN Silva and Hunt