Läs även Monty DiPietros story om galan.
Chalid Arrab Vs. Yukiya Naito
Vinnare: Chalid Arrab, Decision (Unanimous) 5:00 Rond 2
Shungo Oyama Vs. Valentijn Overeem
Vinnare: Shungo Oyama, Submission (Heel Hook) 1:28 Rond 1
Ian James Schaffa Vs. Kazuyuki Miyata
Vinnare: Ian James Schaffa, Decision (Split) 5:00 Rond 3
Joachim Hansen Vs. Caol Uno
Vinnare: Joachim Hansen, KO (Knee) 4:48 Rond 3
Genki Sudo Vs. Ramon Dekker
Vinnare: Genki Sudo, Submission (Heel Hook) 2:54 Rond 1
Gary Goodridge Vs. Alan Karaev
Vinnare: Gary Goodridge, Submission (Choke) 2:58 Rond 1
Ryoto Machida Vs. B.J. Penn
Vinnare: Ryoto Machida, Decision (Unanimous) 5:00 Rond 3
Sam Greco Vs. Heath Herring
Vinnare: Sam Greco, TKO (Injury) 2:24 Rond 1
Bob Sapp Vs. Min Soo Kim
Vinnare: Bob Sapp, KO (Punch) 1:12 Rond 1
Jerome LeBanner Vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Vinnare: Jerome LeBanner, KO (Knee) 2:24 Rond 1
LeBanner Brutalizes Akiyama at Hero’s
SAITAMA, March 26, 2005 — K-1 stars Jerome LeBanner and Bob Sapp were the big winners at the inaugural ”Hero’s,” a nine-bout mixed martial arts event held today at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
With K-1/FEG now focusing on their premier stand-up fighting formats — the World Grand Prix and World Max series — the organization participated in Hero’s in a supporting capacity. Hero’s is a co-production of the TBS broadcasting network and Big Mouth Productions in Japan, and is supervised by Akira Maeda, founder of the legendary ”Rings” fight production organization. Contested under a standard set of mixed martial arts rules, Hero’s bouts comprise three rounds of five minutes each. Scoring in Hero’s is based on a consideration of damage inflicted, control, aggressiveness, and weight differential.
In the first bout of the evening, Shungo Oyama of Japan worked an Achilles lock against Dutch fighter Valentijn Overeem to get the tapout and win scarcely a minute into the opening round.
The second match had Japanese fighter Kazuyuki Miyata take on Ian Schaffa of Australia. Schaffa spent much of the fight in guard, doing well in this position. There was a nice serving of stand-up and strike action through this dance, and here we saw superior knees and kicks from Schaffa. The Australian blocked the leg takedowns as the fight wore on, throwing in low kicks, knees and punches when Miyata tried to close the distance. A close fight — one judge liked Miyata but two gave the nod to Schaffa, who took the split decision with a smile.
Popular Shooto fighter Caol Uno of Japan stepped in against Norwegian Joachim Hansen in what proved an animated bout with many reversals. Hansen frequently was on his back flailing the bicycle kicks, but got into a promising rear mount on two occasions, Uno twisting free both times. Uno rained down a series of punches from a side mount position late in the first round.
In the second, the Japanese fighter quickly put Hansen on his back again, but was unable to pass, absorbing a couple of kicks to the chin for his attempts. After a long period on their feet, the Norwegian assumed a tidy rear mount and punished Uno with punches, bloodying his opponent’s nose. The third round saw a revitalized Uno show some prowess to get a rear mount of his own, but Hanson was always good with the legs to stay out of trouble.
After the pair had tumbled through a dozen positions, they found themselves standing with less than a minute remaining. And then, suddenly, came the decisive strike — Hanson walking in and bringing the knee up to catch Uno straight on the jaw. The Japanese fighter went down in a heap, and Hansen picked up the KO win.
After another of his flashy ring entrances — this one featuring a team of baton-waving cyber-cop dancers — Genki Sudo of Japan found himself facing the no-nonsense Dutch boxer-turned-kickboxer Ramon Dekker, a 35 year old veteran making his mixed martial arts debut here. Dekker wanted to slug it out, but Sudo got the takedown early on. From there the two did some rolling about, each working the other’s legs, and it was Sudo who was better, submitting Dekker with what he later described as his ”new type of heel lock.”
Brawler Garry Goodridge of Trinidad and Tobago and Russian arm-wrestling champion Alan Karaev tangled in the fifth fight. Karaev got on top from the start, and seemed intent on simply smothering his opponent. But a better Goodridge soon reversed, and brought the guillotine choke down to force a submission.
BJ Penn of the United States has smarts, strength and skill; and here he met the Brazilian Lyoto in a battle of two of the world’s leading 26 year-old mixed martial arts fighters. From the start Penn wanted the takedown, but Lyoto wouldn’t let it happen, and so the first round was fought mostly with the fists flying or in the clinch. It was past the midway point in the round when the pair finally went to the mat, where Lyoto was good on the guard to stymie his opponent and work a stalemate. Through the second the fighters were almost always on their feet, Lyoto using his reach to keep the distance and avoid takedowns. There was less action here, for too long the fighters remained locked in the clinch. Lyoto had the best of the few strikes, most of these coming in a flurry with just seconds remaining. In the third it was more of the same, at one point Penn lay on his back, inviting the Brazilian to get down and mix it up. Lyoto jumped and stomped, but would not grapple. An interesting choice of strategy, which frustrated Penn and resulted in a close fight, judges giving the decision to Lyoto by the narrowest of margins.
American Heath Herring and K-1 veteran Sam Greco of Australia locked horns in the next bout. Herring got the takedown and went to a side mount to start the fight, firing in punches toward Greco’s head — but with the Australian’s blocking sound, a break was called and the fight resumed from a standing position. Here, Herring threw a low kick that missed, lost his balance and fall backward to the canvas. Seizing the opportunity, Greco stepped in with a soccer kick to the back of Herring’s head, and this made partial contact. Quickly, the referee jumped between the fighters to stop the bout, giving Greco the victory.
The penultimate fight pitted big bad Bob Sapp of the United States against Min Soo Kim of Korea, who won a silver medal in Judo at the Atlanta Olympics. Sapp outweighs Kim by some 45kg (100lbs) and stands 14cm (5 1/2″) taller, but this did not intimidate the Korean, who came in with his fists flying, pummeling Sapp before the two went to the clinch. During the exchange, a cut opened under Sapp’s left eye, and this prompted a doctor’s check. At the resumption after clearing, Sapp charged forward in characteristic style, meeting Kim center ring and planting a straight right punch on his jaw. Kim went down awkwardly, and even as Sapp poised to inflict more punishment on his vulnerable opponent, the referee stepped in and stopped the fight, giving the win to the Beast.
”It is my first fight of 2005,” said Sapp afterwards. ”We have been working on techniques, and what you saw here today was the creation of the new Beast, a Beast who is going to keep on getting stronger and stronger, better and better!”
The main event saw judo stylist Yoshihiro Akiyama of Japan take on French K-1 superstar Jerome LeBanner. There was a great deal of anticipation surrounding this matchup, LeBanner’s first true test on the mat.
(Last New Year’s Eve, LeBanner fought a special rules bout against Bob Sapp in which the pair alternated rounds of stand-up and mixed martial arts rules, the bout ending in a draw. And in a standard mixed martial arts bout on the same night, Akiyama had little difficulty submitting South African boxer Francois Botha with an armbar.)
Here, it was LeBanner’s size and power versus Akiyama’s hands-on fighting skills. From the first bell, the two went right to the clinch, LeBanner trying to put the knees up, Akiyama trying to twist a takedown. When the pair ended up on the mat, LeBanner looking good in guard, and although Akiyama slipped to a side mount he was never able to ruffle the French fighter. On their feet again, LeBanner threw a couple of low kicks before using both hands to push Akiyama backward. With his opponent off-balance, LeBanner stepped in and swiftly brought the left knee up, making full contact with his opponent’s face. The blow stretched Akiyama, who went down cold — and LeBanner had the KO victory.
”I am very happy with the win” said LeBanner afterwards. ”I trained hard and I was confident, so there was no problem!”
In an undercard fight, Chalid ”Die Faust” of Germany beat Yukiya Naito of Japan by majority decision.
Hero’s attracted a crowd of 12,754 to the Saitama Super arena and was same-day broadcast on the TBS network.