K-1's second big event this year, the Japan MAX 70kg tournament, kicks off at 3:30 AM EST. I've decided to live blog it to help myself and anyone else watching to stay awake. Albert Kraus, Yuji Nashiro, Hiroki Nakajima, Takafumi Morita, Yuya Yamamoto, Shintaro Matsukura, Kenta and Yasuhiro Kido will all be looking to lock up their spot in this year's Final 16 and will need 3 wins in one night to do so. Go Yokoyama and YOSHI are facing off in the night's lone reserve bout while 2010 Japan MAX 70kg GP champion Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima takes on Kenmun, 2011 Japan MAX 63kg GP champion Yuta Kubo battles Andre Brul and the flashy Kizaemon Saiga takes on Valdrin Vatnikaj.
70kg Japan Tournament Finals:
I was AFK for the fight, but Yuji Nashiro is your unlikely tournament, winner.
63kg Super Fight: Yuta Kubo vs Andre Brul
Round 1: Kubo has a head kick blocked. Head kick almost scores. Kubo jabs and seems to be a lot faster than Bruhl. Knee from Kubo scores to the midsection and he’s keeping Bruhl at the end of his jab. Kubo throws body kicks while Bruhl’s output has been minimal. Body kick followed by a head kick that somewhat lands for Kubo. He’s setting up that question mark kick that he likes and he just missed a head kick. More body kicks and he gets Bruhl right in the liver and Bruhl is down. Kubo jumps on him and knees him, scoring another down. Bruhl is laboring and his mouthpiece comes out. The fight is started again and the round ends. 10-7 for Kubo. Great placement on the liver kick.
Round 2: Kubo comes out attacking the body again with body kicks and knees. Bruhl seems energized now and is actually throwing, but not landing. Kubo scores another down with a well placed kick and goes back to the body. Kubo almost scores with a high kick, but Bruhl evades and lands a knee of his own. Kubo continues to throw kicks to the body and just misses with the head kick again. Kubo keeps throwing kicks to the body and continues to land hard. Kubo continues to go the body and that’s how the round finishes. 10-8 for Kubo. Bruhl needs an improbable knockout.
Round 3: Kubo starts round 3 attacking the body with middle kicks again. Bruhl counters off a kick, but gets mostly glove and arm. Bruhl throws a head kick of his own, but it’s blocked. Kubo lands more middle kicks and a good knee. More body kicks coming from Kubo. Bruhl lands a left hook as he evades a Kubo kick, but it does little. Kubo continues to kick to the body. Kubo lands a left straight up the middle. Head kick lands, but not hard for Kubo. Bruhl is starting to walk him down, but there’s only 10 seconds left and that’s how the fight ends. Good showing from Kubo.
Yuta Kubo defeats Andre Bruhl via 3 round Unanimous Decision.
63kg Super Fight: Kizaemon Saiga vs Valdrin Vatnikaj
Round 1: Saiga starts off with some leg kicks. Vatnikaj tries his own and is out of range. Saiga misses a head kick. Head kick from Vatnikaj is blocked. Combination from Saiga finished off with another leg kick. High kicks from both fighters are blocked. Saiga lands a combination then a spinning back kick to the body. Saiga keeps him at distance and throws out a jab. Saiga tries a spinning back kick to the head, but Vatnikaj blocks it. Close round. Mostly uneventful with the exception of Saiga’s flashiness. Saiga gets 2 cards from the judges and a draw from the third.
Round 2: Vatnikaj misses with his hands and Saiga digs to the body. Both fighters hit each other with jabs. Vatnikaj is throwing more this round. Vatnikaj has found his range and lands a couple leg kicks. Saiga lands with a 3-punch combo. Saiga lands a few inside leg kicks, but takes a hard right from Vatnikaj in the process. Saiga lands a hard counter right and starts swarming on Vatnikaj now. Vatnikaj pushes out towards the center of the ring. Saiga has him on the ropes and is hitting him in the corner. Flying knee lets Vatnikaj off the hook and they’re back in the center. Saiga with a spinning heel kick and the round ends. Close again, but Saiga got the better of the exchanges. All 3 judges give the round to Saiga.
Round 3: Saiga comes out with a leg kick and almost catches Vatnikaj coming in. Vatnikaj just misses with a left hook. Left hook right straight connects for Vatnikaj and he’s starting to be the aggressor down 2 points on 2 cards. Saiga sweeps him down with a leg kick and eats a couple punches. Saiga has him in the corner again, but doesn’t capitalize. Spinning back kick from Saiga. Vatnikaj is too relaxed and is letting Saiga bully him around the ring. He’s been on the ropes for most of the round. High kick from Saiga is blocked. Vatnikaj in the corner again looking to counter, but Saiga avoids his punches. Saiga tries another spinning heel kick. And another. Neither connect and they collide mid-air with flying kicks. Vatnikaj tries to land a big shot, but it’s too late. Saiga should win this.
Kizaemon Saiga defeats Valdrin Vatnikaj via 3 round Unanimous Decision.
70kg Tournament Semifinal #2: Yuya Yamamoto vs Kenta
"Put Your Ass in the Air" is definitely the song of the night.
Round 1: Kenta opens with a triple jab. Yuya misses a head kick. Kenta lands a left hook and a body kick. Kenta is looking more like he did in the Krush tournament than in the Kido fight. Kenta blocks another head kick. Kenta with a double jab that lands. Yuya with a 2 punch-leg kick combo. Kenta lands with a right and tries following it up, but misses with a few punches. Yuya hits him with a left hook coming in. Yuya landing well with the leg kicks again. Kenta just got buckled a bit by a leg kick. Yuya’s targeting the leg, but Kenta unloads on his head. Interestingly, all 3 judges score the round for Yuya. Odd.
Round 2: Kenta starts checking leg kicks AND LANDS A BIG HEAD KICK ON YUYA. Yuya’s back up and Kenta pounces, unloading on Yuya. Yuya’s in BIG trouble and clinches to save himself. Kenta with another head kick and he’s just relentless. Yuya lands a shot, but Kenta is landing more. Another head kick and more punches from Kenta, but YUya seems to be back. Leg kick sends Kenta to the ground and he’s kicked again while on the ground. No down called, but no card for Yuya, just a warning. This is a race between Yuya’s chin and Kenta’s leg. Yuya starts landing with his hands though, but Kenta gets the better of the exchange. Kenta is relentless. Spinning back fist lands and Kenta is pouring it on. Yuya stabilizes but Kenta isn’t letting up. Uppercuts land for Kenta. Yuya going back to the leg kicks and Kenta is in trouble. Yuya ends the round with more leg kicks. Great round. Kenta gets a 10-8 on all 3 scorecards.
Round 3: Kenta comes out swinging and Yuya goes after the leg. Yuya getting inside and kneeing the leg. Kenta starts landing to Yuya’s head again, but Yuya’s landing hard kicks now. Kenta with a hard left. Both guys are taking loads of punishment. Kenta keeps landing and all Yuya can do is kick his leg. High kick from Yuya is blocked. Yuya seems to have gotten lost offensively and hasn’t been targeting the leg as much or landing anywhere else. He goes back to the leg and rushes in. Kenta is in trouble, but he stays up. Kenta starts landing now. 10 seconds left and Kenta lands a high kick. Yuya tires to get him and the round ends with Kenta surviving. Insane fight.
All 3 judges see the fight as a draw. This is bad for Kenta.
Ext Round 1: Both men pick up where they left off, though the pace has lessened. Kenta lands hard with a counter right and is unleashing a barrage of punches on Yuya’s face, but Yuya is fine. Kenta continues to land despite his leg. Yuya is starting to pressure now, but Kenta keeps him away with his own punches. Yuya can’t land the leg kicks. Kenta almost goes down from a kick, but continues to throw at Yuya. Kenta lands a couple left hooks as Yuya chops away at his leg. Knees from Kenta as Yuya gets his leg again. Kenta is in trouble yet again as Yuya tries to lay it on and Kenta fights his way out. Head kick lands for Kenta and now punches are coming. As the round ends, they’re slugging it out with Kenta getting the better of it. The round ends and both man throw their hands in the air. Great fight and incredible heart from both guys. Kenta’s leg is destroyed and Yuya took so many good shots.
Yuya Yamamoto defeats Kenta via Ext. Round Decision. Yuya Yamamoto advances to the finals.
Terrible judging. Yuya was given round 1 despite very even output. Kenta also seemed to win rounds 3 and 4 which should have won him the fight in regular time and in the extension round. Questionable judging can be justified, but this is just absurd. Yuya got a big gift. Unfortunately, Kenta got robbed and won't be given the chance to win his second tournament this year.
70kg Tournament Semifinal #1: Yuji Nashiro vs Takafumi Morita
Round 1: Morita comes out with offensive pressure again. Nashiro lands a couple shots but Morita continues to walk him down. Nashiro with a good body shot. Morita’s high kick is blocked. Nashiro is landing pretty well and Morita’s offensive output isn’t what it was in the Nakajima fight. A push kick knocks Nashiro off balance and Morita seems to be finding his rhythm now. Morita shrugs off a high kick and lands a hard right, but Nashiro stabilizes. Morita misses a high kick and Nashiro throws him to the ground. Nashiro lands with back to back 1-2s. All 3 judges score it 10-10.
Round 2: Nashiro is on the front foot now and Morita is countering pretty well. Nashiro lands a right and is now landing in combination, but Morita fires back. Both fighters are exchanging single shots. Morita starts landing and has a head kick blocked. Nashiro catches Morita with a right cross and starts being the aggressor. Nashiro is starting to tire and Morita senses it. Morita has him on the ropes now with little coming back. A Morita head kick misses. Nashiro is trying to throw, but he’s visibly tired. Still, he manages to hit Morita. The round ends with a blocked Nashiro head kick. All 3 judges see round 2 for Nashiro.
Round 3: Nashiro head kick is blocked. Nashiro seems to have gotten a second wind. Morita keeps trying to score with the head kick, but is unsuccessful. Nashiro constantly going to the body with his hands. Morita is starting to like winded, now and has lost most of the pop on his shots while Nashiro gets stronger. Nashiro’s head kick almost lands. Morita is dead tired and can’t manage any offense. Again, his head kick misses. Flying knee for Morita almost lands and now he needs to pour it on. They both swing wildly and the round ends. Should be a win for Nashiro.
Yuji Nashiro defeats Takafumi Morita via 3 round Unanimous Decision. Yuji Nashiro advances to the finals.
63kg Super Fight: Kenmun vs Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima
Both fighters have dancing entrances and my worst nightmare has become real as Nagashima is dressed as a schoolgirl.
Round 1: Kenmun lands a head kick but Nagashima… catches it? Ok, Kenmun throws and hits Nagashima hard but Nagashima is able to land a counter and drop Kenmun. Now Nagashima jumps in and gets tagged and gets caught again with a head kick. Nagashima takes a low blow, but doesn’t get time to rest. Kenmun lands a couple shots again. Kenmun lands hard to Nagashima’s head, but Nagashima is fine. Kenmun is fighting with his hands down which isn’t too smart against Nagashima. The round ends with almost no action in the second half of the round after the first half was filled with action. Nagashima takes it 10-8 on the knockdown despite being tagged pretty hard on multiple occasions.
Round 2: The round starts and an encounter turns into a clinch. Nagashima slips when both fighters throw kicks and Kenmun jumps in, and kicks Nagashima on the ground. Nagashima is fine, but Kenmun gets a yellow card and a point deduction. Kenmun landing HARD on Nagashima who eats it. Now Kenmun is jawing at Nagashima. Telegraphed shots from both guys, but they’re landing. The action slows and they clinch several times. High kick somewhat lands from Kenmun and Nagashima throws him to the ground. Kenmun taunting Nagashima and jawing at him some more. The round ends with the two clinching. This is a weird fight. All 3 judges give the round to Nagashima with the point deduction. Kenmun needs a knockout.
Round 3: Kenmun throws a head kick that misses but the spin around knocks Nagashima down as he was throwing a kick. Kenmun hits Nagashima after he’s pushed down, again. No warning or card. Kenmun lunges in wildly and the two clinch. This is not a fight you should show if you’re trying to teach the proper way to throw any strike. Kenmun lands and they continue to clinch. Kenmun chants are coming loud from the crowd. The two are tired and throwing. The round ends. Horrible showing from Nagashima although he’s going to get the win. He’s a better pro wrestler than kickboxer right now.
Yuichiro Nagashima defeats Kenmun via 3 round Unanimous Decision.
70kg Tournament Quarterfinal #4: Kenta vs Yasuhiro Kido
Kenta walked out to a song which repeated the line "Put Your Ass in the Air". I'm hoping he makes it to the finals just so I can hear that two more times.
Round 1: Kido looks tense. Leg kicks from range are the first shots that land from both fighters. Kenta starts throwingwith his hands and Kido lands a head kick that could have been called a down, but was somewhat close. Kenta jumps in but misses. Kenta gets inside a push kick but does little with it. Kenta lands a right and Kido fires back with a leg kick. Kenta is looking to time Kido’s low kicks and jump in. Kido throws 3 hard kicks, but none land clean. They exchange insignificant blows and the round ends. 10-9 for Kido from all 3 judges.
Round 2: Kido trying to keep Kenta at range as both fighters throw kicks. Kenta is starting to get inside of Kido’s range and backs him into the corner, landing a couple good shots. Kenta tries to land a combination off of a caught kick, but misses. Little offensive action from both fighters as they’re both looking to counter. Kenta is the aggressor and Kido tries landing the head kick again, but fails. Kenta with a big left hook that drops Kido. Kido is fine, and tries to go after Kenta, but Kenta jumps on him and is landing to his head. 10-8 round for Kenta putting him up by a point on all 3 cards.
Round 3: Kenta comes out aggressive and throws a 3-punch combo to Kido’s head. Head clash and Kido’s cut above the left eye. It’s not bad, but if he advances it could be a problem. Kenta landing and Kido can’t seem to find the target. Kido tries again with the high kick but it’s blocked. Both fighters tag one another and now Kido is on the offensive. Kenta is landing but Kido is landing harder. Spinning back fist hurts Kenta and he’s wobbling a bit. Kido tags him again, but Kenta fires back. Kido is starting to tire but he hurts Kenta and now Kenta is landing. High kick from Kido just misses. Great third round that will probably go to Kido and give us an extension round.
Kenta defeats Yasuhiro Kido via 3 round Majority Decision.
Strange as the judges gave Kido round 1 in a closer round while he seemed to have won the 3rd. Kenta advances to take on Yuya Yamamoto in semifinal #2.
70kg Tournament Quarterfinal #3: Shintaro Matsukura vs Yuya Yamamoto
Round 1: Matsukura starts it off with a leg kick. Yuya jumps in with a left hook. Yuya lands a combination on the inside and pushes Matsukura into the corner. Yuya with a couple of body kicks and a head kick that’s blocked. Yuya landing leg kicks with authority. Yuya lands a hard right after a leg kick. Hard left hook to the body by Yuya. Yuya bullying Matsukura around the ring. Hard body shot-leg kick combo. Yuya landing in combination and Matsukura throwing single shots. 2 judges give it to Yuya, one judge has it as a draw.
Round 2: Matsukura comes out more aggressive and takes the center of the ring. Yuya starts walking him down again, but Matsukura holds his ground. Right hand lands for Yuya but now Matsukura is on the prowl and he lands hard. Matsukura backs off and Yuya is throwing kicks from range. Yuya lands with a hard combination and is now chopping at Matsukura’s legs. Hard body-head combination from Yuya. Hard right from Yuya. Matsukura lands a counter right then a quick combination but Yuya is back pressuring. These are some hard leg kicks landing from Yuya and Matsukura isn’t checking them. Matsukura lands a hard shot and Yuya wants more. Two judges have it 10-10 and the judge who had last round 10-10 has it 10-9 Yuya. Yuya up a point on all 3 cards.
Round 3: Matsukura yells in his corner, frustrated. Yuya landing hard leg kicks again. Yuya dancing around. Matsukura is looking for his spots, but Yuya is being patient. Matsukura has to go on the offensive. Matsukura jumps in but all of his shots are blocked. High kick from Matsukura blocked. Yuya on his bike while Matsukura looks to score. He throws the jumping knee that dropped Yuya in Krush, but Yuya eats in and smiles. Matsukura attacking now, but not well enough. Yuya has him in the corner and lands a hard right. Matsukura misses Yuya as the round ends. Yuya imposed his will in rounds 1 and 2 and will likely go on to the semis because of it. Matsukura just didn’t do enough.
Yuya Yamamoto defeats Shintaro Matsukura via 3 round Unanimous Decision.
Yuya did what he needed to do and is on to the semifinals for it and he took minimal damage.
70kg Tournament Quarterfinal #2: Takafumi Morita vs Hiroki Nakajima
Round 1: Morita comes out with a teep kick and attacks Nakajima. He clips Nakajima with a left and keeps the pressure on. Nakajima lands a right. Morita is putting the pressure on and that’s a great way to fight Nakajima. Morita landing more with his hands and kicks. Nakajima landing leg kicks but Morita landing to the head. A knee catches Nakajima and Nakajima dumps him. Morita landing to the head but his head kick is blocked. Morita is smother Nakajima with offense. Morita landing constantly and Hiroki pushes him off. Morita with a knee in close that almost lands. He hasn’t let up yet and Nakajima has done nothing. One judge gives the round to Morita and the other two give a draw. Kind of questionable, Morita was all over Nakajima.
Round 2: Nakajima comes out trying to be the aggressor, but Morita is relentless. Nakajima lands a counter 1-2 and backs off Morita. Morita lands a hard right and is putting the pressure back on. Nakajima landing to the body but Morita lands a knee. Morita lands a left hook to the head. Nakajima pushes him in the corner to get some offense of his own but is unsuccessful. Morita continues to smother him with offense and Nakajima is struggling to throw shots. Morita lands another knee. Right from Morita on the inside. Morita landing more shots to the head and Nakajima has 0 defense for it. The round ends and it’s somewhat of an ugly fight, but Morita is executing the perfect gameplan. 10-10 from two judges again and 10-9 from one. Morita is up a point on 2 cards.
Round 3: Nakajima comes out aggressive and Morita throws 3 straight head kicks that get blocked. Morita lands a good knee to the body as Nakajima pressures. Nakajima throws him down and lands a knee as he’s on the ground. No warning, Morita is fine. Nakajima throwing more this round, but Morita is still trying to blanket him. Morita lands a hard right as Nakajima has his hands down. Morita still constantly pressuring. Both fighters look tired, but Nakajima more so. Both fighters clinching in the middle of the ring. Morita continues to throw and a hard body shot from Nakajima, something he’s been doing well. The round ends and it will likely be another 10-10 which should give Morita the majority decision.
Takafumi Morita defeats Hiroki Nakajima via 3 round Decision(didn't hear whether Morita got 2 cards or 3).
And we have another upset, though this one was more probable. Morita executed a great gameplan for Nakajima and it paid off. Takafumi Morita vs Yuji Nashiro in semifinal #1. Didn't think I'd be saying that.
70kg Tournament Quarterfinal #1: Albert Kraus vs Yuji Nashiro
Round 1: Nashiro comes out moving and Kraus lands a jab. Nashiro with a head kick that Kraus blocks. Kraus is stalking Nashiro as he moves around the ring. Kraus lands a right hand and Nashiro is back on the move. Kraus lands a double jab then another hard right. Another right lands for Kraus. Head kick from Nashiro blocked. Nashiro throws a combination that Kraus blocks and Kraus lands again. Nashiro lands a right that hurts Kraus and Kraus covers up as Nashiro pounces! Kraus has regrouped but Nashiro keeps landing and Kraus makes it out of the round. Wow. 10-9 Nashiro from all 3 judges.
Round 2: Nashiro comes out with a knee and Kraus is back to stalking Nashiro who’s throwing a lot more now. Kraus lands a hard right and Nashiro is pressing now. Kraus backs him off with a combo. Kraus lands a right and a high kick, but Nashiro shrugs it off. Kraus lands the right twice but Nashiro seems unphased. Nashiro lands a counter right. Kraus looks to get inside but is shoved away whenever he does. Kraus lands to the body and Nashiro launches a flying round kick and the round ends. 10-10 round from all 3 judges. Nashiro up 20-19.
Round 3: Kraus stalking and Nashiro lands a counter right that snaps Kraus’ head back. Nashiro now the aggressor but Kraus starts to land and that stops. Kraus landing with rights as Nashiro tries to throw back. Both fighters exchange single shots. Kraus lands a hard right then a short left. Kraus landing more often on Nashiro. Nashiro starts landing and shakes Kraus a little, but Kraus answers with two hard uppercuts. Kraus throwing combos and they’re landing on Nashiro’s face. Nashiro is taking it all and doesn’t seem to care. Head kick AND KRAUS IS DOWN. Nashiro celebrating already. The round ends and Yuji Nashiro has just upset Albert Kraus. Wow. I’m absolutely speechless.
Yuji Nashiro defeats Albert Kraus via 3 round Unanimous Decision.
With Kraus out, each of the 7 remaining fighters has a legitimate chance to win this tournament. Insane.
Tournament Reserve Fight: Takeshi "Go" Yokoyama vs YOSHI
Yokoyama in the blue corner with silver trunks, YOSHI in the red corner with black trunks.
Round 1: Both fighters tentative. Yoshi throws a combo but doesn’t land. Yokoyama lands some leg kicks. Yokoyama landing occasionally with leg kicks. Yoshi jumps in and Yokoyama responds with a body kick. 3 straight kicks from Yokoyama and a right from Yoshi that lands. Yokoyama throwing kicks to the body and head now. Yokoyama continues to throw kicks and Yoshi doesn’t do much. Round ends with virtually nothing done from either fighter. 10-9 for Yokoyama for all 3 judges.
Round 2: Crowd gets behind Yoshi and both fighters still tentative. Yoshi jumps in with a flying knee but nothing comes of it. Yokoyama still throwing occasional kicks. Yoshi lands a right counter off of a Yokoyama kick and it’s the most significant blow landed in the fight so far. Yokoyama throws up a high kick that grazes Yoshi. Yokoyama continues to throw kicks from distance. They exchange leg kicks and still not much happening. The round ends and again, nothing really happened. 10-10 round from 2 judges, one gives it to Yokoyama. 20-19(x2) and 20-18 through 2.
Round 3: Yokoyama throwing from range again. Yokoyama lands a leg kick and body kick and he’s throwing more frequently now. Yokoyama lands a high kick but it doesn’t do much. Yokoyama is stalking Yoshi down now. Body kick from Yokoyama lands and a high kick from Yoshi misses. Body kick from Yokoyama. High kick partially lands from Yokoyama. Yoshi jumps in with a right and lands and Yokoyama answers with a body kick. Yokoyama throws a spinning heel kick at the end of the round. 10-9 Yokoyama for me giving him the fight 2 rounds to none. Poor showing from Yoshi. Just a little bit of pressure could’ve cracked Yokoyama.
Go Yokoyama defeats YOSHI via 3 round Unanimous Decision.
After an opening ceremony and two childrens fights, we're back with tournament action.Opening Fight #3: Naoki vs Takayoshi Kitayama
Kitayama in the blue corner with blue trunks, Naoki in the red corner with pink trunks.
Round 1: Leg kick from Naoki is the first strike landed. Kitayama lands a right and both fighters land leg kicks. Inside thigh kick lands twice for Naoki. High kick partially blocked by Kitayama but it still landed more than it should’ve. Right cross lands from Naoki. Naoki lands part of a combination. Kitayama comes in with a right and lands. Kitayama landing with the hands more. Kitayama swarms at the end of the round, but doesn’t land anything. 10-10 round.
Round 2: Naoki comes out aggressive and lands a combination. Kitayama with a hard body kick. Kitayama landing the jab. Naoki’s lack of head movement is really hurting him. Naoki pressures and lands, but Kitayama circles and now they’re clinching on the ropes. Naoki is landing well with the left and his pressure is rendering Kitayama’s jab usesless. The two exchange in the corner and Naoki is landing against the ropes. A hard right lands and Naoki swarms. Kitayama takes about 8 undefended punches but gets away while Naoki pressures. Kitayama survives the round but probably loses it in the process. Naoki 10-9.
Round 3: Crowd cheering for Kitayama and it’s seemed to energize him a bit. Kitayama now the aggressor and not much landing from either fighter. Naoki landing at will with the right hand and landing big. Kitayama giving up on defense and Naoki drops him. Kitayama gets back up, but had to rush. Naoki laying it on him again and drops him with a big left hook. Kitayama’s back up but Naoki jumps on him again and finishes him off. Naoki wins via 3rd round TKO.
Opening Fight #2: Yuya vs Akihiro Kimura
Kimura in the blue corner, Yuya in the red corner with Jienotsu-esque hair. They train together, so the pink hair follows.
Round 1: Right hand from Yuya as the two exchange leg kicks. Fast pace opening up, mostly leg kicks back and forth. Kimura lands a right straight. Yuya lands a right, both fighters throwing wildly in the corner. Yuya really does resemble Nagashima even in fighting style. Fighters exchange leg kicks with occasional punches. Yuya lands a 1-2 and a relentless combo in the corner and the ref jumps in for a standing 8 count. Kimura with a flying knee attempt but misses. Yuya landing with the hands even more. Almost knocks Kimura down. Kimura is just taking all this punishment. Now Kimura landing with his hands. Yuya lands a few small punches. Kimura lands a big telegraphed right hand and seconds later the round ends. 10-8 Yuya for the knockdown.
Round 2: This round starts where the first left off with both fighters throwing hands and leg kicks. Kimura landing with his hands. Both fighters look somewhat tired. Both fighters exchanging blows with not much being done by either fighter. Kimura keeps throwing out leg kicks. Kimura looks more tired than Yuya, but it’s not much of a discrepancy. Yuya lets off a combo but doesn’t hit much. Not much action with both fighters tired. 10-10.
Round 3: And this is picking up where round 2 left off with clinching. Ref breaks and warns the fighters. Yuya landing with his hands again while Kimura throws leg kicks and inaccurately throws his hands. Kimura and Yuya landing but Kimura gets the better of it. Yuya is a bit lost with Kimura landing. Knee from Yuya lands. Kimura landing in the corner. Both fighters land with rights, but Yuya lands harder and Kimura is down. The ref calls it before the count is up. Yuya defeats Akihiro Kimura via 3rd round TKO.
Opening Fight #1: Yuya Kai vs Taito:
Kai is in the blue corner with black trunks, Taito in the red corner with white trunks. Two unknowns in an opening fight is almost always fun, let's hope this one is.
Round 1: Taito snapping off leg kicks. Kai with a body kick and Taito with another leg kick. Taito with a combination and an errant kick that lands low. Kai gets a minute to shake it off and the fight’s back on. Another leg kick from Taito. Nice 3 punch combo from Taito. Kai throws out a teep and a couple body kicks. Taito avoiding Kai’s hands. Left hook from Taito lands hard. Another leg kick for Taito. Kai’s landing kicks but without much force. Combo and leg kick land from Kai. 10-9 Taito.
Round 2: Taito comes out with combos and a head kick. Kai pressuring him into the corner, but Taito lands two straight combos. Flying knee and he’s all over Kai. Another combination lands from Taito and Kai throws out a head kick that misses. Taito landing another combo. Combination finished with a leg kick for Taito. More combos from Taito and Kai has no answer. Woah, Kai out of nowhere with a knockdown. Taito struggling to get up. He’s wobbly and Kai swarms. Right straight lands and Taito goes down and the fight is called. Kai with a good comeback after being dominated for almost two rounds. Yuya Kai defeats Taito via 2nd round TKO.
Aaaaaaaaand we're live. Tanikawa and Yoshihiro Sato are a part of tonight's broadcast. Sadly, Masato is not on tonight's commentating team.