Thursday, June 29, 2017


2001 World Title Series Absolute Class Tournament: First Round
October 20, 2001 in Tokyo, Japan
国立代々木競技場 Yoyogi National Gymnasium

GOING OUT OF BUSINESS WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT WE'VE GOT UNREAL NEW GRAPHICS AND ALSO SHELLED OUT FOR "PURPLE HAZE" AND WE ARE BACK ON WOWOW AFTER THAT BRIEF FIGHTING TV SAMURAI INTERLUDE AND KENICHI TAKAYANAGI IS HERE AND EVERYTHING and joining him as always is Gong Kakutogi's Hideyuki Kumakubo who, intriguingly, says rope escape a few times as they're running down the rules? Are they bringing those back after their considerable absence? I am intrigued! Surely they are raising their memory only to make clear our new era, free of them? As things unfold I will let you know if there are rope escapes, obviously. That we have entered the ABSOLUTE CLASS TOURNAMENT portion of late-stage RINGS is I am sure already very clear to you but let us clarify yet further with the aid of tournament brackets whilst we await the action here at the suspension-roofed 国立代々木競技場 Yoyogi National Gymnasium:

At first, glance, certainly, that looks like Fedor Emelianenko and a field of seven whom he will hit too hard and also græpple, and the WOWOW broadcast confirms this our deepest suspicion by showing Fedor immediately after revealing the brackets and reminding us that he is currently our RINGS Heavy-kyu champion. BREAKING NEWS THIS IS HUGE LOOK WHAT THEY CALL THE FIRST MATCH ON THE CARD:

A RETURN TO ASTRAL-STEP NAMING CONVENTIONS? It is more than I could ever have hoped for. The Universal Bout in question seems to be Gen Isono's decicsion win over Eriya Matsud, of which we are shown only a portion of the second round, and then actually Hirotaka Yokoi (a post-RINGS Tsuyoshi Kohsaka ally, in time)'s 3:14 hitting victory over Ken Orihashi is called a Universal Bout too! I can't believe our good fortune just generally but also very specifically right now. 

With matters universal now settled we turn instead to ABSOLUTE CLASS TOURNAMENT and in our first instance of this we are asked to enjoy the venerable Lee Hasdell's contest against Georgi Tonkov of RINGS Bulgaria, with whom such words as judo and sambo we associate (because they are said by Kenichi Takayanagi during Tonkov's entrance to soaring guitar heroism). Only now do I notice the extent to which Lee Hasdell resembles Vernon Wells (I have an autographed Vernon Wells baseball that I [and many others, do not mistake me] was presented with on-field on the final day of the 2003 baseball season for having attended all eighty-one home games that year [there was a rewards programme]; what I remember best from that day was the heat, and the sheer size of Carlos Delgado, my favourite baseball player [I wrote about him once]). True to the repeated words judo and sambo, Tonkov throws from a firm headlock in a manner we might well describe as kubi-nage (neck throw) or perhaps harai-goshi (sweeping hip) and attacks with the arm entanglement of kesa-garami from the scarf-hold of kesa-gatame. In time, Hasdell escapes and takes Tonkov's back, but is unable to do much from there, and they stand. Tonkov half-hits an uchi-mata makikomi! Like a wraparound uchi-mata! This Bulgarian whose name I do not recognize is doing great in his first mixed fight! Let me see . . . ah okay Georgi Tonkov placed fifth at the (then) recently-contested 2001 World Judo Championships at Olympiahalle München (that's in Germany), so that he would be throwing Lee Hasdell well should not stagger us like for example the punch that has just now staggered Georgi Tonkov, who is then finished by a flying knee. Lee Hasdell explains in the locker room that he practices that combination often, and also that, as a young boy, he was the high jump champion in his school, which accounts for just how flying his knee has just now been. That was all very interesting! It is a shame about the hitting, obviously.

Christopher Haseman, though never a small guy with super duper clear skin, gives up nearly twenty kilograms to Koba Tkeshelashvili or GROM KOBA as he is here known. Haseman, perhaps looking for every advantage he can get against his much larger foe, wings an arm over the top rope to avoid a takedown and also punches whilst doing that (that's a yellow card). Just this week I was tossed around as uke for the nikkyu test of a 110 kg student and I am 73 kg so I understand well the perils faced by Christopher Haseman and I am sure you will agree that these are not just analogous but in fact literally identical circumstances and conditions. Haseman kicks his partner in the groin for a second yellow card which is not a waza I even considered during the nikkyu test. Despite two yellow cards, the victory is rightly Haseman's, I guess, as he cracked GROM KOBA up pretty well from start to finish. 

In a non-tournament match (OFFICIAL BOUT reads the title card) we have "Kenichi Ogata (shoot boxer) (born 1975), Japanese kickboxer," not to be confused with "Kenichi Ogata (voice actor) (born 1942), Japanese voice actor," and he is certainly well known to the 国立代々木競技場 Yoyogi National Gymnasium crowd, who have brought streamers, which must be a thing in shoot boxing!

He is defeated by 裸絞 hadaka-jime naked strangle in a mere forty-three seconds by Curtis Brigham of Winnipeg, who is unknown to me, but who I am now learning lost a RINGS USA match to Naoyuki Kotani and was stopped by little (and yet huge) Sean Sherk one time over the course of what looks to have been an interesting career.  

We return to ABSOLUTE CLASS TOURNAMENT brackets for Fedor Emelianenko's match against Ryushi Yanagisawa and "Breathe" really did age much better than the other Prodigy singles, there's just no comparison, as is evidenced at least in part by how "[u]p until the 2012 PDC World Darts Championship, Dutch darts player Michael van Gerwen used the song as his walk-on theme.[6]" It was on the Big Shiny Tunes 2 compilation in Canada so its place in history could not be more assured. Fyodor, desu is Kenichi Takayanagi's call, and this is why he is the best in the business: he is unfailingly pleasant, and sometimes says names or waza I can make out and it makes me feel good when it happens. Ryushi Yanagisawa continues to be so much bigger than I expect him to be: here he's listed at 191cm/102.2kg, so that's nearly 6'3"/225lbs. Fedor is 182cm/102.9kg, so that's just a hair under 6' and 227lbs. So Yanagisawa is noticeably taller, and even though they weigh the same, he presents bigger in that he is leaner and more muscular whilst Fedor is characteristically squishy. Yanagisawa fires in a leg-kick that really catches Fedor and wobbles him, which the crowd understandably thrills to. It does not take long, though, for Fedor to heave Yanagisawa to the mat and move all over top of him with not just better speed than any other heavyweight but with much better speed than any heavyweight, like it`s not even close. He switches position with I guess the shoot heavyweight version of Kiyoshi Tamura's shoot-style middleweight speed, the speed that I would complain about in (otherwise utterly faultless) Tamura shoot-style matches but that Dave Meltzer would praise as like the whole point of Tamura shoot-style matches (I know others who feel this way as well and I do not mean to dismiss this view but merely note once more my [probably dumb] dissent from it). Fedor loses his top position when he attempts juji-gatame but every juji-gatame attempt is a worthy attempt and so nobody should ever fault anyone for it lest we discourage further juji-gatame. I am pretty sure Takayanagi and Kumakubo at one point discuss how Fedor's only loss came on a cut-stoppage against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, and they take pains to make clear that it was an accidento. As the second round begins, these same two are definitely talking about how knockdowns cost a certain number of pointo and rope breaks another, and this is still slightly baffling to me, unless these previously open and public scoring of pointo is now to be handled privately by the three judges as part of their decision(ing)? That's the best I can figure now in my poverty but I am almost certainly wrong about this. TREMENDOUS EXCHANGE late in the second round as Fedor attacks once more with juji-gatame only for Yanagisawa to turn hard-towards, slip by Fedor's legs, and attack with his own juji-gatame with seamless immediacy as though the living dream of shoot-style had never ended. Fedor slips even this, and ends up atop his foe as the round ends. THIS HAS BEEN GREAT. In the opening exchange of the third round, Fedor connects for the first time with the kind of punch that one has worried all along he might connect with, and Yanagisawa is remarkably still there. I mean he's on the mat with Fedor on top of him, and he's not really doing much of anything to change that, but it is enormously to his credit that he is still anywhere at all. Yanagisawa has done exceedingly well in this match despite losing all three rounds, and comes, well, I guess not close with an ashi-gatame leg-lock late in the third round but his attack is vigorous enough that Fedor has to take it totally seriously. A clear decision win for Fedor, but everybody did so well!

I have probably mentioned before an old friend who doesn't live in the city and who trains (constantly, devotedly) elsewhere but who comes by the club sometimes, and is just the most positive person to be around? He is a judo shodan (he really should present himself for nidan soon [he is not alone in this]) and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and he competes in these I guess one would say semi-pro græppling matches sometimes, and we won't see him for months and months and then he'll stroll in and just have this kind, brow-raised, open-faced air of delight about him an hour and a half while he employs exquisite waza ("I've got a detail for that one if you don't mind!") and makes everybody feel great about everything ("that's a great detail, I'm gonna use that so much, thanks!"), even the times that he buries you, and then at the end of the class when he is thanking you for like the eighth time he will be like everybody is getting so good, everybody is doing so well and that's how I feel about this last match except less intensely because I was not a part of this last match in the same that I am a part of a judo class with my students and friends. But I like having the feeling!

Okay so when Egidijus Valavicius knocks Yasuhito Namekawa down very early in their ABSOLUTE CLASS TOURNAMENT match, and Namekawa tries to convince Ryogaku Wada that he should be permitted to continue the match (he really shouldn't be), we are shown on-screen that Namekawa has lost a point, so I don't know what's going on with that at all, really. He takes Valavicius down, heroically, but it doesn't last, and Namekawa is struck down again and absolutely should not have been allowed to keep fighting, but he is, and then he is so swarmed with further strikes that he is sent reeling and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka in Namekawa's corner throws a red towel into the ring in surrender as he scrambles through the ropes to help. "No face punch, no face, no face" were Ryogaku Wada's ne-waza instructions earlier; would they had been carried over into tachi-waza (standing technique) as well. Wada has been, I think, an excellent referee throughout these many years of RINGS and this is the first time I can remember thinking he let a match get out of hand but that is very much what I think about this one. Namekawa seems pretty together and light-hearted about the whole thing when he faces the cameras in the locker room afterwards but this was a bad situation.

Our non-tournament Official Bout main event sees Hiromitsu Kanehara (RINGS Japan) against Kelly Jacobs (RINGS Australia), described for you by me (RINGS In The Living Room With a Baby Sleeping On Me). Kanehara is cornered by Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (a busy night for him!), Jacobs by Christopher Haseman (busier still!). As Kanehara takes Jacobs down with little trouble to open the first round it occurs to me HEY WHERE IS KIYOSHI TAMURA? He hasn't had a match since his tournament loss to Gustavo Machado (or "Ximu") in April, and I don't think he's been seen at all since; I don't even remember him cornering a U-FILE græppler or anything. Once we have access to the relevant Wrestling Observer Newsletters all will no doubt be clear, but I have just now checked ahead and it is a series wrap for Kiyoshi Tamura: he doesn't fight again in RINGS, and the next time he fights anywhere it is in PRIDE (like nine days after the final RINGS show) against Wanderlei Silva where, if I recall correctly, he lasted kind of a while which was actually worse because he just got hit more and longer. What are we to make of this? Was he injured for a while or something? Or did he see the way things were headed and bail? You will recall, perhaps, that Kiyoshi Tamura first appeared in RINGS not after the demise of UWFi, but wisely anticipating it. This is all mere speculation and I have no idea what is going on! I am starting to maybe get a handle on the points situation, though: I think maybe in non-tournament matches that are appearing under the title card OFFICIAL BOUT (or maybe in all of them I guess?), old shoot-style-era RINGS rules regarding rope escapes and lost points apply, because when Jacobs is caught in Kanehara's juji-gatame, he loses his first point with a rope escape, and when he grabs the rope again to avoid hadaka-jime, Kenichi Takayanagi declares it losto pointo ni; in the second round, when again juji-gatame'd, Jacobs must yield rather than seek the refuge of the holt-eves again because of how he is all out of points. I think I have it! Just in time for there to be like two more shows ever! Maybe they, like this one, will be totally good though? Join me, please, and we will see! Thank you once again for your time, and for your attention.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Battle Genesis Vol. VIII
September 21, 2001 in Tokyo, Japan
後楽園ホール Kōrakuen Hōru


WITH ONLY FOUR SHOWS REMAINING IN THE RINGSBOX THAT IS ITSELF A GIFT HOW BLESSED MUST WE COUNT OURSELVES TO DISCOVER AMONGST THIS SLIM NUMBER OF THE YET-UNWATCHED A 後楽園ホール KŌRAKUEN HŌRU WHICH IS TO SAY THE PUREMOST OF ALL JAPANESE PROFESSIONAL GRÆPPLINGS AND 格闘技 KAKUTOGI and, what's more, to find one so very strange in its graphics? This BATTLE GENESIS Vol. VIII, though it be colour-commented (I have never thought much of "commentated") upon by both Gong Kakutogi's Hideyuki Kumakubo (and RINGS Japan's Hiromitsu Kanehara), sees WOWOW Exicte Match's Kenichi Takayanagi nowhere near its humble yet thrilling ringside area, look: 

He's just not there! That is because this is not a WOWOW presentation but instead one of FIGHTING TV SAMURAI! which, though dedicated to the fighting arts, and able, is unquestionably no WOWOW in terms of taste level (what is [nothing {could ever be}]). Is this merely how this lone, low-key 後楽園ホール Kōrakuen Hōru is to be broadcast? Or is this a grim forerunner? Has the WOWOW television deal, so vital to this Fighting Network from its 1991 outset, soured beyond resweetening? You will recall, perhaps, just before we outpaced the Wrestling Observer Newsletter online archives (updated weekly, and yet not weekly enough [what could that mean]), Dave Meltzer noted that WOWOW was cutting back slightly. Has it cut back completely? What a shame that would be: as both Fighting Network RINGS and WOWOW celebrate their respective tenth anniversaries (I saw a vignette about the WOWOW tenth) that all would crumble like the crumbly parts of the Colosseum depicted in the FIGHTING TV SAMURAI! opening graphic captured above which whirls into view almost exactly like the Virtua Fighter 4: Evo/Virtua Fighter 5 stage of the same broad nature (this is weird because in just the last few days I have been thinking I should hook up my PS3 for the first time in probably four years and play some VF5 maybe [I use Goh because like me he does judo but he is good at it and so this for me is escapism]; I have of course played VF4: EVO on PS2 more recently than that because of how it is the best and how I like things that are that way). Between this Kenichi Takayanagi-free, non-WOWOW broadcast, and the grim fact of only three shows left in the RINGSbox after this, I worry. How do you think Akira Maeda feels about it?

It is hard to get a read on him here, isn't it. I don't know why this occurs to me now for the first time, maybe because I am thinking of the end a little (the RINGSend), and maybe because of the Colosseum graphic calling to mind the brief K-1 Romanex era, but I guess it totally makes sense that Maeda would, in time, head-up HERO*S given that K-1's Kazuyoshi Ishii worked for Maeda in RINGS from 1991 pretty much right up until the start of K-1, right? Also, still with the Colosseum graphic, I am thinking about how for a while in PRIDE it said Virtua Fighter 4 on the mat, and also that Virtua Fighter's international judo assassin Goh very much anticipates John Wick, and, now that I check dates, Bary Eisler's John Rain, too (I have probably mentioned those novels in these pages before, and while I read them all whilst sleep-deprived and so cannot really remember enough about them to know if they were any good, I do remember that I read a bunch of them, which surely counts for something).  

SO ANYWAY it is pretty dark to be unWOWOWed if even temporarily (wait, have we entered . . . have we entered NONON?) but the FIGHTING TV SAMURAI graphics, it must be said, are certainly going for it, and look pretty great if paused at the height of their art:

And a dimly lit 後楽園ホール Kōrakuen Hōru still looks like a dimly lit 後楽園ホール Kōrakuen Hōru, so I think we're going to be okay (for now):

HIDEO TOKORO WHAT ON EARTH I had no idea Hideo Tokoro of all people had ever RINGSed but I am delighted to learn that I have been an ignorant mess (now enlightened). Hideo Tokoro is a tiny little fellow with like a million fights, and he wins about half of them, and he continues to have them (in RIZIN [where else]) despite being literally older than me (so dark), and he enjoyed a fair bit of fame (or maybe he didn't enjoy it, maybe it was a curse to him) at the height of the Japanese network-television kakutogi boom where HERO*S played up a fighting janitor gimmick, not in the sense of the super friendly janitor at our gym ("ayyyy budday") who asks questions about judo and likes to talk about how he did Kyokushin in Québec years ago (what's up, Pierre, this blog post is for you pal [a terrible gift, I owe you more than this; forgive me]), but in that he was a professional fighter who still worked as a janitor because he was a tiny broke everyman. In his long (and darkly ongoing) career, he has lost to Kiyoshi Tamura (perhaps we will revisit this in detail at a later date) and Kron Gracie (dreamy son of Rickson), beaten Rumina Sato and Royler Gracie, and fought Royce Gracie to a draw (Royce had like forty pounds on little Tokoro, couldn't finish, and didn't win the decision because he insisted on no judges, quality work Royce [will he demand no judges in his $1.15 million fraud case where he {allegedly} and his wife the doctor {allegedly} claimed low-income benefits whilst {allegedly} hiding money in off-shore accounts {allegedly}? or in his divorce case where he demands spousal support and that his wife pay all his attorney's fees because I guess maybe {this is mere speculation on my part} all the {alleged} off-shore money they {allegedly} paid no tax on was maybe just hers or maybe he has forgotten how to get it or something? Who can say. Also never forget he tested for higher levels of Nandrolone than the lab's equipment could reliably register after he fought Kazushi Sakuraba THE WONDERFUL KAZUSHI SAKURABA, and then, in the course of denying everything, alleged a vast conspiracy and also demonstrably lied about his weight which is possibly even lower please never forget these things I beg you]). 

HIDEO TOKORO THEN and his opponent this day is Naoyuki Kotani (RODEO STYLE), who we saw win twice at BATTLE GENESIS Vol. VI, first over Kiyohito Sugata by hitting, and secondly over Tashiro Nishiuchi by the nobler method of ude-hishigi-juji-gatame. Kotani, like Tokoro, goes on to fight an awful lot, but I think he is now finally retired after three fights in the UFC (the last was in 2015, so we [he] are [is] maybe safe now). Kotani enters to Rammstein's "Du hast" and then, I think, probably gets the best of the waza-rich first round. I don't know if this really has anything to say to us about anything but the edges of the canvas still say WOWOW so there is hope. In the second round, Tokoro comes reasonably close to a hiza-juji knee-bar finish but Kotani escapes and then hits him in the face which is not a valid waza here. I am having a quick look at Tokoro's early-career record (consulting his wikipedia page, which draws heavily on my own book, so this is at least a little absurd to do) and I see that he comes into this match having had seven matches (three wins, four losses) in a number of one-night tournaments (or maybe the were several-night, but he had more than one match per show, I mean to say) for Titan Fighting Championship, which I don't think I have ever heard of before. Tokoro spends an awful lot of time on his back! That's not how I think of him necessarily but it is possible and even likely that I am remembering him wrong. He has a lot of nifty little entries into ashi-kansetsu-waza (leg bone-locking techniques broadly) so the match stays interesting throughout even though it is fairly one-sided as regards position. In end, Naoyuki Kotani takes the decision (one judge had it as a draw) and "Du hast" resounds once more and it seems weird to me we are far enough along (in time) for "Du hast" to even be and yet I just checked and it had in fact existed for four years already. Great opener! Before moving on we should note that the tag-team shoot-græppz match in which Tokoro partnered with Kazushi Sakuraba and drew against Kiyoshi Tamura and Wanderlei Silva in RIZIN was excellent and it figured into my 2016 Wrestling Obvserver Newsletter year-end awards ballot but it did not even receive an honourable mention; I think maybe we should discuss that match in depth, too (in due time). 

In another battle of genuinely tiny people we have Takumi Yano and Goro Kobayashi and I am pretty sure the non-Kenichi Takayanagi on commentary says one of them is a judo sandan? Yano, an odd little fellow with strange kicks and who turns his back in weird ways, fights in socks with little toes in them so it's probably not him but what do I know. Also Kobayashi has pretty aggressive takedowns. But who knows! Yano jumps on Kobayashi's back and puts him very much out with 裸絞 hadaka-jime and then immediately begins 活法 kappō, "resuscitation techniques." As a wikipedian (or wikipedians) note, "A tradition in some Judo schools involves teaching kappo to all new shodan (black belts). This instruction is followed by a session where each of the shodan choke someone, are choked themselves, and resuscitate someone using kappo." That has never been the practice anywhere I have been but anyone who has græppled for any appreciable length of time has almost certainly been on one end of kappo or the other at some point. Also there is also a method for the groin.

Here is (future) Wajyutsu Keisyukai Brightness founder Hidetaka Monma in his first match of professional fighting (I assume he is being paid?) against Hiroyuki Ito who I am learning just now through ineffectual google searching shares his name with someone who worked on a number of Final Fantasy games (I only ever played the first one, and not much). Ito is cornered in part by Hiromitsu Kanehara and so I am inclined towards him. Before the bell even sounds, Ito rushes across the ring and is immediately taken down and the referee is like "gentlemen, please" and they are returned to their corners and the bell is properly rung and the contest is truly joined.  Monma is much more aggressive in his submission attempts but Ito is wily so we have a very even contest; I am torn a little with regard to the commentary in that I think it is a little bit too yelly and yet the things being yelled are often the names of waza I recognize and so on the whole I guess I would say it's pretty good but I would also say that I miss Kenichi Takayanagi. Monma wins the split decision (in the sense that one judge thought it was a draw) in this spirited bout of nearly-all-græppling. I think it is an appropriate result!

Future-Tsuyoshi-Kohsaka-pal Hirotaka Yokoi, garbed in Tamura-esque brilliant red, defeats Masaya Kojima by the very straight arm-lock of 腕挫腕固 ude-hishigi-ude-gatame (arm crushing arm hold; it's not the most descriptive description) in 2:12 not because Kojima tapped, I don't think, so much as because the referee was pretty sure the arm was broken so he reached down to see about it and it kind of flopped and so that is IPPON. Interestingly (to me), Yokoi took himself out of mune-gatame/side-control and back into niju-garami/half-guard to apply the hold.

GENKI SUDO! THIS IS EVEN MORE SURPRISING TO ME THAN HIDEO TOKORO! We have encountered the great poet-souled Genki Sudo once before in these pages (Colosseum 2000), but I definitely had no idea he had ever properly RINGSed. He is a seemingly lovely man who dances like a robot and who has a pop group now (I think he is still doing that) and is apparently enormously skilled in calligraphy and he is of the view that We Are All One:

His entrances were usually elaborate and often really good once things really networked-off for him a few years later; there is a compilation of them at this link. Here he arrives strapped into a smoke machine:

As pleased as I am to see Genki Sudo, this entrance feels totally out of place in RINGS, as does Brian Lo-A-Njoe's where he comes in in a ski mask with his hands chained. I loved this stuff in PRIDE and K-1 but the RINGS ethos is different and the tone struck here is not decorous with it. Sudo finishes an omote-sankaku-jime triangle choke that he was nearly slammed out of in a delightful little sprint of a match (2:17) but I am telling you these entrances were incorrect in this context. (Genki Sudo does this entrance and three shows later they're out of business am I wrong [yes].)

It occurs to me that Genki Sudo was never in a Fire Pro game, I don't think.

Yasuhito Namekawa is again hard for me to recognize with his blonde hair but he looks good, I am not suggesting he change it. His opponent is Dexter Casey, who enters to "Get Ur Freak On" whilst on commentary nearly every martial art gets listed, which suggests Casey is either a lifer or a dilettante, depending on how you look at it. He flexes his pecs an awful lot, this Dexter Casey, in what I am pretty sure is a visual allusion to the work of Dick Vrij. Namekawa is described here as a gurappurā which we can confirm from through all we know of him from before and also through his 1:44 win by juji-gatame, that finest waza, which is loudly announced by its fullest and truest name, 腕挫十字固 ude-hishigi-juji-gatame, before Namekawa breathlessly addresses the crowd. They love it! 

A nice little show! With some nice surprises! And also some things that totally look like the end! Let's meet again soon to further encounter this strange looming doom! Until then I thank you once more for your time and for your attention to these matters.


Monday, June 26, 2017


10th Anniversary World Title Series III
August 11, 2001 in Tokyo, Japan
Ariake Coliseum drawing 4,000


Of middleweights we have Christopher Haseman, Gustavo Ximu (né Machado), Jeremy Horn, and Ricardo Arona who choose this to day give their enemy glory or else win it for themselves; of heavyweights, Mikhail Ilioukhine, Bobby Hoffman, Fedor Emelianenko, and "Renato" Babalu "Sobral". It is wrong of me to have said "enemy," really, because that's not what these people are, but I felt Homeric for a minute and yielded to it, forgive me. Kenichi Takayanagi, bardic as ever (I assume) welcomes Gong Kakutogi's Hideyuki Kumakubo as is his way and custom and we are with no delay ready for Christopher Haseman and Gustavo Machado! Machado is, as you will perhaps recall, the vanquisher of Kiyoshi Tamura, handsomest of shoot-style græpplers and indeed maybe men. AND WE ARE TRIMMING TIME ALREADY and that makes sense, there are a lot of matches to get through in this two-hour broadcast WOWINDOW and if any of them go long at all, as this one seems inclined to, we would be right up against it, wouldn't we. From what we're shown, there is not much to choose between these two, and one supposes that the parts we are not shown contain one guy just totally styling on the other (although who can say). After two rounds, a third is deemed necessary, and in it Gustavo Machado is deemed to have græppled (and in some instances hit) sufficiently to advance to the middleweight tournament final. Godo job Ximu! And good job Christopher Haseman, as it looked like he tried really hard too.

Ricardo Arona and Jeremy Horn, haven't they matched previously in these very RINGS? Yes okay I have checked and Arona won by decision (his 得意技 tokuiwaza or preferred technique or hey look at this that I found "1. signature move [assoc. with a martial artist, wrestler, etc.]; finishing move" yessss) almost exactly a year ago! Like within just a couple of weeks! Which I probably watched like six days ago and so this is not really a particularly strong feat of memory. We are shown really very little of this Ricardo Arona decision win but what we are shown is certainly consistent with Ricardo Arona decision wins we have seen at other times and in other contexts so I do not doubt the wisdom of this judgment in the least. 

Mikhail Ilioukhine's hair is much shorter as he appears before us in 有明コロシアム Ariake Koroshiamu and it suits him, a nice clean look. The other day my foremost græpplepal arrived at judo with a look so fresh and so clean that a part of me briefly longed for the lightness of the all-over number one, where you just put the guard on your clippers and do your entire head and face (excluding eyebrows, which should remain lush at all times). This was my approach for I guess five years or so? I have opted in recent years instead to have unreasonably long hair (don't worry, I am also balding) and a big dumb beard, and neither of those things gets in the way at judo as much as you would probably think (have I tapped to a rolling beardlock or beardugatame? of course I have but it is infrequent), and I do not wish to forsake either, but for that one moment I was like yes; yes. I have long thought that it would be a great pleasure to shave off a full head of hair every morning but when you think of the protein demands such a growth-feat would require it all falls apart even in the realms of fantasy. I think what happens in this bout that we are shown exceedingly little of is that it is ruled a draw after two rounds, but Mikhail Ilioukhine decides he is unable to continue, and so the winner is Bobby Hoffman, who will criminally hurt a defenseless person soon. I would like to show you Mikhail Ilioukhine's trunks, and just his whole situation, before we move on:

In our next heavy-kyu bout we have Fedor Emelianenko (182 cm 102.9 kg) vs. Babalu (185 cm 104.3kg). Babalu is bigger than Fedor! Although I have definitely seen this match before I did not remember that aspect of it at all and it is quite surprising to me. They clinch in the corner and exchange knees before Fedor pushes off and throws terrrrrrrrifying punches as Hideyuki Kumakubo says sambo, judo. As though to prove that point, Fedor plants Babalu on the mat with a low and elegant 小外掛 kosoto-gake and then hits him very hard to the legs and body (poor Babalu). I am writing this part of this post post the night after Fedor lost to Matt Mitrione, just as we all expected he would, and I didn't even stay up for it (one of my friends at judo did, and his feed cut out right before the match! he got it back but he missed what he had been watching all evening for! Ah, the perils of the stream, as Melville probably wrote in one part). I saw a clip of the finish on twitter, and it was stupid, who cares. I saw too that the great young wrestling prospect Aaron Pico lost in twenty seconds or thereabouts, and it was stupider still (not that he lost [who among us], but that he is doing this at all instead of just wrestling and maybe making an Olympic team). You are supposed to come to this nonsense after you have gone as far as you are able to go in a legitimate sport, like how Fedor hit his ceiling as a -100 kg player on the Russian national judo team without serious prospects for major international success and now here he is wrenching Babalu, who finished sixth at Pan Ams in freestyle but that was as far as it was going, to the mat and then spins out of an ashi-gatame (leg-hold) and this is the way these things are meant to unfold. But who cares. Everything is gross. 

That was a nice first round though! I think it was pretty clearly Fedor's, but Babalu did well, too. In the opening moments of the second, Fedor lands a hard low kick that takes Babalu off his feet, and then the ground hitting resumes in earnest until Fedor is briefly menaced by an ashi-dori-garami figure-four ankle lock that he is compelled to step out of and away from. They stand, and Babalu half-lands a spinning back-fist, but Fedor shrugs it off and drags him to the mat with another kosoto-gake but really a very different kind of kosoto-gake although both were plainly "minor outer hooks." That technique can range from a tidy little trip to something deeply and profoundly Mongolian like this one Amartuvshin Dashdavaa hit in combination with ouchi-gari (major inner reap) on Bekir Ozlu (TUR) at Grand Prix Tbilisi 2016:

Speaking of ouchi-gari, the first element of that renraku-waza (literally "connection technique"), that's what Fedor has just now used to put Babalu down again. It is perhaps worth noting that Fedor is wearing those low-rise three-stripe black trunks that are the ones your probably thought he was wearing before I even mentioned it. As the bell sounds to end the second round, and Fedor walks to his corner to meet with Volk Han's craggy warmth, the 有明コロシアム Ariake Koroshiamu crowd gives a hearty cheer for this weirdly fluid heavy-kyu fighter who does everything a little differently than everybody else who has done any of this before. There is a nearly feline looseness to his movements that draws you in even if you are (rightly) a little repulsed by what the end results of those movements are for the people who are in there but not him.  

VOLK HAN VS. YOSHIAKI FUJIWARA DO I WAKE OR DO I DREAM there is no way this can possibly be a shoot though, right? How old is Fujiwara here, anyway: okay he is fifty-two. He looks alright for fifty-two! But I mean come on. Ah, so Kenichi Takayanagi and Hideyuki Kumakubo say the words sparring and tech-a-nique a number of times so they are plainly presenting this as an exhibition . . . and it is totally worked as shoot-style! Welcome back, shoot-style! It is a genuine pleasure to see you again!  Volk Han even goes for the standing gyaku-ude-garami arm-entanglement that he always worries me with, but as a concession to both Fujiwara's frailty and my own he goes much lighter with it here than had been his custom in the high-days of it. The leg-locking here, my word, it grows ornate! It seems like the Yoshisaki Fujiwara/Shinya Aoki shoot-style match from earlier this year in the Inoki Genome Federation (without question the premier genome federation of our time) has been removed from youtube, but it remains very much available at this Russian site if you have not yet seen it or if you would like to again. Waki-gatame/Fujiwara armbars are threatened, the match ends in a draw, and Volk Han hoists Fujiwara aloft as the crowd loves everything:

And then Fujiwara picks up Han! This is all just so great. "Ride of the Valkyries" plays because Fujiwara's taste levels have always been high.

In another non-tournament match, Kindai University (近畿大学 Kinki daigaku) man of judo Hirotaka Yokoi defeats Ricardo Fyeet, who does not fight well but who is a character, by juji-gatame in but 2:34. You might well remember Yokoi from PRIDE, where he lost all four of his matches, but look who they were against: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Heath Herring, Mario Sperry, and Quinton Jackson. So that's okay, he shouldn't worry about that. He should take comfort, instead, in his hadaka-jime win over Bulldozer George at UFO: Legend. Or maybe from his second win over Ricardo Fyeet six years after this one! Isn't that weird? Next, the enigmatic Bazigit "Volk" Atajev, who will in time claim +90kg gold at the 2013 World Wushu Championships (as we have discussed), knocks out Aaron Brink in 1:09, and then we are ready for the middleweight finals! They (it) are (is) between Ricardo Arona and Gustavo Machado, commonly called Ximu, and so perhaps some measure of consolation is to be found for the losses of Hiromitsu Kanehara (to Arona) and Kiyoshi Tamura (to Machado)? No, probably not. WEIRD FINISH in only 1:29: Arona was clobbering Ximu pretty soundly in the corner, Ximu was knocked down, and as the referee, the one with the ill flat-top . . .

. . . came around to see what was up or maybe to stop the fight, Arona punched Ximu him fully and completely and illegally in the face whilst he was seated (on his very bottom) and the fight was waved off. I am not sure if Machado's corner are mostly arguing that their fellow was fine (if so, I disagree), or that the final strike was illegal (for sure), but the referee (whose name I really should know by this point but still don't, forgive me) stands by his decision, and explains it at length in Japanese (obviously) to the crowd, which is of little utility to the Portuguese-speaking athletes and so confusion reigns, but not quite disorder, as it is clear enough that RICARDO ARONA IS OUR RINGS MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION LET'S HAVE ONE LAST LOOK AT THE BRACKETS (from

 A few months ago we ran an eight-person in-club tournament (with an Instructor Superfight as an added draw [to the other people in the gym who stopped by to watch {the Instructor Superfight drew no further people}]), and I ran it so that after the first round it pretty much became two four-person tournaments with a placement match for third in each bracket, so we had a true first-through-eighth and everybody got three matches and there were some instant classics and fun was had by all and we had a lot to talk about when we went out for end-of-semester sushi at the sushi restaurant that I am not wild about but all the students seem to like because the prices are good and they bring you extra rolls sometime (there is definitely a place for that). Unlike our present RINGS situation our tournament was openweight, and it worked out fine because neither the smallest person nor the biggest person in our club were there that night so there were no egregious mismatches in that sense and it occurs to me that they should probably be in a buddy comedy together as one is literally twice the size of the other (maybe slightly more than that actually) and they both have græppzskillz and are very likable, this could be a hit. It turns out there is no RINGS Heavy-kyu final as Bobby Hoffman forfeits for reasons a doctor explains but which will remains a mystery to us until the Observer archive catches up (I do not mean to hurry it) and so our RINGS HEAVY-KYU CHAMPION IS FEDOR EMELIANENKO LET'S LOOK AT THE BRACKETS AND ALSO A PICTURE OF FEDOR WITH VOLK HAN IN HIS CORNER:

I should note that everyone has been saying heavy-kyu throughout, and there is an "Absolute Class" tournament coming up, so I think in this instance (which has given us so much and for which we are grateful) is in slight error. It is also perhaps worth nothing, I think, that when Fedor and Arona stand together as newly crowned champions, you can't at all tell which one is the middleweight and which one is the heavyweight. 

YOU WOULD THINK THE SHOW WOULD BE OVER NOW WOULDN'T YOU but instead it sees Tsuyoshi Kohsaka face a the non-Zaza Grom known to some as Grom Koba (and to others as Koba Tkeshelashvili), whose previous mixed fight saw him defeat Yasuhito Namekawa (always feisty!) by hadaka-jime. I am not sure why Hideyuki Kumakubo says "Renzo Gracie" a couple times but he does, and Kenichi Takayanagi seems to receive it as a normal thing to be talking about. Koba takes Kohsaka down with very little trouble and from this I deduce that he is a fine wrestler; he punches Kohsaka in the face whilst on the ground and is reminded that that is inappropriate and he is contrite. The TK Guard is once again called upon to guard TK and it does so ably. When they stand again, Koba drops low for the two-handed reap of morote-gari and Kohsaka sprawls a little and then knocks him very much out with a knee at 2:17 that was riiiiiight on the line of kneeing a fellow who was on the ground but Koba is in no position to complain, and Volk Han, in his corner, is just like hey real good job buddy in TK's direction so I guess it is settled?

Our main event is between Matt Hughes and Hiromitsu Kanehara, which seems like a pretty good idea! If you are wondering about weights, since Matt Hughes if of course best known for his exploits at 170lbs, whereas Kanehara has fought people up to and including Cro Cop, Hughes comes in at 86.5 kg and Kanehara at 89.3, so that's 191 lbs  to 197. They are totally the same size, and I am sure Matt Hughes will be fine. This match, like several other earlier ones, is clipped for time, but through two rounds what we mostly see is Matt Hughes doing very well positionally whilst Kanehara half-menaces with a handful of submissions. One such submission attempt is a gyaku-ude-garami reverse arm entanglement, but Hughes gets out of it okay: 

Kanehara pops right back up like nothing happened, don't worry, and actually ends up with his first really good position of the match when he takes Hughes' back in the ensuing scramble. You would think that huge slam would be the most remarkable part of this bout but no, that comes when Hughes is betwixt Kanehara's legs and Jeremy Horn in Hughes' corner advises him to "use [his] lats and elbows to keep those legs down low." He's right, of course, about keeping the legs low (Jeremy Horn unfailingly knows what's up in these matters and only a fool would doubt him) but I have never heard anyone invoke lat-use to keep your partner's legs low and I love it. I am a little surprised at first that there is a third round until I remember that this is not a tournament match so it's not the two-rounds-then-maybe-another format OH HEY NEAT so Hiromitsu Kanehara just rolled through with a sumi/hikikomi gaeshi from a a gyaku-ude-garami grip just like Mashaiko Kimura that's right

And he maintains the grip to attack with juji-gatame! And he comes pretty close for a little bit! And then even as Hughes manages to get out of trouble in terms of position, Kanehara keeps the grip pretty well ahhhh hadaka-jime? No, okay, Kanehara looked like he was in position to choke him for a moment there. That was all really great! A little while later Hughes gets a couple nice slams but Kanehara ends up on top, which i had not expected to ever see. Hughes ends the round and also therefore the match tapping away with punches from the top. One judge scores the match a draw, and two score it for Hughes. Really good match! Kanehara came closest to finishing, but Hughes did very well in terms of control and also had nice slams so this seems just. Hughes exchanges kindnesses with Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, whom he seems to know, in Kanehara's corner. Hughes is pleased with his win, Kanehara is inherently merry, and so that's that! I really enjoyed this show! 

ARONA IS OUR MIDDLE-KYU CHAMPION, FEDOR IS OUR HEAVY-KYU CHAMPION, THE RINGSBOX IS OUR TEXT, THIS TKSCISSORS RINGSBLOG OUR PLACE OF REFLECTION UPON IT, LET US CONVENE HERE AGAIN AS SOON AS WE ARE ABLE which I hope to be tomorrow, who can say, as I thank you once more and in an all sincerity for your time and for your attention to these matters. 


Saturday, June 24, 2017


10th Anniversary World Title Series 2nd
June 15, 2001 in Yokohama, Japan
Bunka Gym drawing 3,500

THE DOLPHINS FROLIC WHILST MELLOW GUITAR IS COAXED WITH HUMBLE ELEGANCE AS WE READY OURSELVES FOR RINGS 10th ANNIVERSARY WORLD TITLE SERIES 2nd and I must confess again that I employ non-idiomatic "2nd" rather than "II" here because of the strange fealty I have sworn in my heart to steps astral. We open with sombre footage of Kiyoshi Tamura following his profoundly unstirring loss to Gustavo Ximo (né Machado) before looking into the training of the remaining Japanese hopes in the two eight-man tournaments being contested (I am really very sure about this now) for the RINGS middleweight and heavyweight championships. I am pretty excited about this show, which is true of all of the shows, but especially true of this one as its two final bouts are said to be Ricardo Arona vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara and "Renato" Babalu "Sobral" vs. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, whose tracking is off to sikk effect:

WOWOW Excite Match's Kenichi Takayanagi welcomes us to 横浜文化体育館 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan/Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, which hosted the volleyball events at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games and is only a five-minute walk from Kannai station (or so I have read), and introduces us yet again to his broadcast partner Hideyuki Kumakubo of Gong Kakutogi, a publication which I hope will one day appear in a near-complete google-books archive as Black Belt magazine does currently but I don't know if that is at all possible in any way. I wonder if maybe this show did not run all that long, because of how we are getting a full parade of fighters in this our two-hour WOWOW window (WOWindow [WINDOWINDOW])? We also get announcements of upcoming shows (the few that remain! this is sad!) including the 8/11 one which, if my dumb ears do not mistake me, will feature no less noble a contest than Volk Han vs. YOSHIAKI FUJIWARA, who has not been seen amongst these RINGS since his 11/22/96 (I remembered the year but had to look up the month and day) loss to Akira Maeda in a bout whose finish was cut off of our copy but which was revealed to us when, in the run-up to Akira Maeda's sort-of-retirement match against Yoshihisa Yamamoto, WOWOW ran the finish of every Maeda RINGS match from 1991 right through the then-present (they did not include the Dolman match that was part of the April 1995 thirteen-promotion Weekly Pro Wrestling magazine Bridge Of Dreams ~ Dome Spring Full Bloom Tokyo Dome show but television rights are complicated I guess). So that's something to look forward to for sure! The crowd buzzes at the announcement, which speaks volumes of its taste-level in aggregate.     

Our opening match is non-tournament, but were it tournament, it would be the heavyweight one, because both RINGS Russia's Bazigit "Volk" Atajev and RINGS Australia's Maynard Marcum are really very big. In but 1:08, Atajev knocks Marcum out in the worst and most dangerous way we have seen anyone knocked out in a full decade of this Fighting Network: Marcum was just running right at him, and Atajev landed a left exactly to the very jaw of his very face and it was a full-on, total-lack-of-personhood-collapse to the mat upon which his face fully bounced. He is helped to his feet but is absolutely unable to walk or stand as he asks with great earnestness what happened. If we were not prepared to end hitting before this match (we were), we should resolve to follow that path now. It's just bad to hit! Atajev is an interesting figure in that he had a 16-1 record with some good wins and with his only loss coming late in the second round to Alistair Overeem in PRIDE (there is no shame in this), but then that was it for him, he seemed to have retired in 2006 only to reemerge and win +90kg gold at the 2013 World Wushu Championships at Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium. What a story! 

In the first round of our second bout, Masutatsu Yano comes about as close to strangling Yasuhito Namekawa with the naked strangle of 裸絞 hadaka-jime as anyone has ever come to strangling anyone with anything without actually strangling them. It was so close! And then Namekawa catches Yano with the mae-hadaka-jime or front-naked-strangle or front-choke (or guillotine) mere seconds into the next round, like twenty-two of them. He rushes over to kneel before Akira Maeda in tribute but then is either super emotional or really hurt because he is back on the mat in seeming agony and I can't understand it. Neither can Kenichi Takayanagi nor Hideyuki Kumakubo, who make inquisitive sounds like that fish in Wind Waker. Maybe he just got up weird and hurt his knee? These things can happen. Oh okay it's his hand that is severely taped in the locker room afterwards, so maybe he has broken it? That's too bad, if so. It was a very good little match. 

In what is definitely (I think) a middleweight tournament bout, the consistently-better-than-you-might-think Christopher Haseman is in with "Alexander Cacareco" which is again how they are billing Alexandre Ferreira, Brazilian jiujiteiro and four-time ADCC medalist who lost an opening-round WORLD MEGA-BATTLE OPEN TOURNAMENT KING OF KINGS 2000 match to affable pal Hiromitsu Kanehara by sumi-gaeshi into gyaku-ude-garami just like Masahiko Kimura demonstrates here in our favourite gif:

So let's see! This could be good! Ferreira attempts a low, tackling morote-gari two-hand reap but Haseman sprawls atop him until he decides to grab a mae-hadaka-jime front choke, at which point he goes to his back for a little, but then he's right back up top. Haseman looks very lean and strong and I think his back has mostly cleared up. Ferreira grabs a gyaku-ude-garami from below but he doesn't have either leg under control and will have to watch out for this Masahiko Kimura waza gif:

I have no idea how often I have posted those over the course of our eight months of this but I bet it's lots! And especially lately. But it keeps coming up! Ferreira narrowly avoids this grim (I guess it's not really that grim) fate but a moment later is front-choked from tate-shiho-gatame. I know that there is all kinds of objective evidence that Alexandre Ferreira is an excellent græppler and a fine mixed-fighter but he has not done especially well in either of his RINGS matches so far; I think it is fair to him to say that.

Boris Jeliazkov of RINGS Bulgaria enters to high-level trance as his contest against Mikhail Ilioukhine draws ever nearer. Ilioukhine opens with a kani-basami crab-scissor into a hiza-juji knee-bar which is an exquisite way to have started. Jeliazkov is wily, though, and not only escapes but ends up nicely on top. and passes to a fine kesa-gatame scarf hold. Oh no okay he has been totally countered and now Ilioukhine is right up top in tate-shiho-gatame. Until he rolls under for gyaku-ude-garami! But Jeliazkov escapes with a cræftig knee to the wrist. This match is awesome. I expected good things from these two good guys but my expectations have been surpassed by a lot in these first, I guess, four minutes? They just keep going! It's all reversals! So good; so good. Ilioukhine finally gets a juji-gatame to really take at 2:06 of the second round. I loved it! And so Ilioukhine advances in this heavyweight tournament. 

This next image might not look like much, but we are told that it is Maeda Dojo . . .

. . . which changes things, right? Inside we find Tsuyoshi Kohsaka getting stretched out as we revisit (in highlight-and-voice-over form) Kohsaka's recent spirited bout (he knows no other kind) against UFC Heavy-kyu Champion Randy Couture. Babalu, Kohsaka's opponent in this our present heavyweight title tournament, is also coming off a loss (Valentijn Overeem by ashi-gatame of some kind), we are reminded. They are both fine athletes and competitors and will want to do their best! I like both of these guys a lot, as longtime (or even pretty recent readers) may recall. TK (clap clap) TK (clap clap) along with kohsakAAAAAAA are the crowd's thoughts so far. Babalu probably lands the first round's biggest strike, a knee to TK's large head, and when they are on the ground, he is the more on top of the two, but not a lot happening down there: Kohsaka hunts for things, chiefly an arm drag (ah, but to what? there are so many possibilities!), but Babablu is steady and sturdy on his knees and there is not much to be had. Babalu helps Kohsaka to his feet as the bell sounds, because he is a sportsman when he is not holding chokes extra long against people whose company he does not enjoy. Babalu takes Kohsaka down early in the second and assumes the north/south, head-and-neck pin of kami-shiho-gatame UNTIL Kohsaka TK Scissors his way back to the hikikomi or guard position; it is magnificent. Babalu gets the same pin again only to be similarly scissored, and this is stating the obvious but TK is a pretty big guy to be hitting this dexterous technique so consistently against high-level competition. It really is a marvel! Aside from these lovely escapes, there's not much happening on the mat and so the fighters are asked to stand. Kohsaka attempts a kani-basami crab scissors (it is all scissors all the time from this guy right now) but gets squished from it; he tries a rolling hiza-juji knee-bar too, but is squished once more. Maeda has it a draw, but the other two have it for Babalu, who is really very surprised at this: 

Babalu fought cautiously but well, and although Kohsaka by far demonstrated the more compelling waza, Babalu exercised a stout control that must be rewarded. I would have preferred to see a third round but that is selfishness. Babalu advances to face Fedor! Which is, I am pretty sure, the first early-Fedor match I ever saw and so it holds a semi-special place in my dumb græppz-heart.

Our main event returns us to the middleweight title tournament and sees Ricardo Arona who I can't imagine has ever really been anybody's favourite (excluding family/training partners; I mean no real disrespect, just the playful sporting kind) face Hiromitsu Kanehara, rightly loved by all forever. Obviously Ricardo Arona is better than Hiromitsu Kanehara--obviously--but Kanehara totally has a way of sticking around, and so I am intrigued. Arona continues to be remarkably lean and muscular and to not compete anywhere where anyone tests for anything; who can say what we might make of this. That Arona wrangles Kanehara to the ground and assumes a solid top-position cannot be doubted, but that Arona actually swings through and attempts a series of ashi-gatame (leg holds) is uncharacteristic. As Kanehara stands, he punches to Arona's, like, upper chest, and Arona, understandably, tucks his chin with a punch coming towards that general area, and the punch grazes his jaw. I am not sure if this is a yellow card but Arona takes his time getting back into things (as is his right). Some wild, unschooled punching (even to me, and I know nothing) follows with neither fellow really getting much done with it, and we are thankfully back on the mat soon. Kanehara hits a lovely hikikomi-gaeshi(pulling reversal)-style sweep just as Arona tries to hop up and over the legs:

Kanehara looks for a leg-lock from there but finds none. This has been a good round! I guess it's probably Arona's but Kanehara is definitely hanging around and sneaking neat things in, as is his custom. Kanehara slips out of a pretty tight mae-hadaka-jime front choke early on in the second round but as he stands up and away he is severely hiza-juji knee-barred to such an extent that he is electing to not exactly stand up right now as Ricardo Arona seeks a blessing from Mario Sperry. 

SOMETHING OF A DARK NIGHT THEN for the good people of 横浜文化体育館 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan as their beloved Tsuyoshi Kohsaka and Hiromitsu Kanehara fall from their respective title tournaments one after the other, leaving not a single RINGS Japan representative in either bracket. You know who is not really all that down about it though? The irrepressible Hiromitsu Kanehara!

I mean he doesn't seem thrilled, but he's still discernibly merry. 

As we too shall be when next we meet to further discuss RINGS! Let's say tomorrow? As ever and always I thank you for your attention and for your time.