Warning for those of you waiting for tonight's HDNet replay -- spoilers ahead.
World Victory Road got underway with the opening round of its Featherweight Grand Prix a little earlier today at Sengoku ’Seventh Battle’ from the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.
If you missed any of the action you’ll be able to catch replays on HDNet tonight at 10:00pm ET or Saturday afternoon (March 21) at 4:00pm ET.
Starting off the event with a bang was Nick Denis up against Seiya Kawahara.
Both fighters came out looking for the knockout as expected. However Denis was able to get the upper hand with a nasty head kick to put down Kawahara who able to recover. But it would be short lived as he was knocked down again with a sharp right and Denis continued to dish out the punishment throwing some knees to the head and then demonstrating some vicious ground and pound which saw Kawahara’s corner throw in the towel.
Denis got a little emotional in his post-fight speech, stating one of his main goals he set out to conquer when he began as a mixed martial arts fighter was to one day fight in Japan. Now not only has he achieved that but with an emphatic performance to boot.
Ronnie Mann came out strong in his bout with Tetsuya Yamada, only to be taken down quickly thereafter and sweep back to mount. A compelling ground game would then take place seeing Yamada able to roll out and go straight to work looking for a heel hook.
Yamada showed shades of Ryo Chonan by attempting a flying leg scissor and once more going for a submission, this time a toe hold. Mann was able to stay out of danger yet again.
Conditioning seemed to play a factor for Yamada at the midway point of the fight, this being only his fourth professional fight and the first to make it out of the first round. The rest of the bout would see Mann shoot and score plenty of takedowns which saw him maintaining top position but with Yamada always trying to work submissions. The judges would see in favor of Mann who dictated most of the action.
A slugfest ensued in the Jung Chang Sung and Shintaro Ishiwatari bout. Sung looked a little sloppy though in his striking and Ishiwatari was getting the better of him for a while. Eventually both fighters wound up in the corner stalemating, forcing the referee to call them to the center of the ring and restart.
While Sung was following instructions and walking back to the center, Ishiwatari in confusion hit him in the cheek with a light shot which didn’t seem to phase Sung. It was quickly forgotten and they touched gloves out of respect. Then out of nowhere Sung exploded on Ishiwatari with a barrage of strikes and took his back to lock in a rear naked choke to get the win.
Masanori Kanehara was able to progress to the quarterfinals of the Featherweight Grand Prix by garnering a decision victory over Kim Jong Man. The fight went at a steady pace with Kanehara landing the more effective strikes. Late in the first round Kim rushed in but was ineffective and Kanehara would take advantage but was unable to finish off his opponent as the round drew to a close.
There was not a lot of engagement between the two again until the end of the second round, with Kim rushing in securing a guillotine only to see Kanehara get saved by the bell.
Just as the pace had seemingly started to pick up and quicken in the third with 30 seconds left on the clock, the bout was stopped and both fighters were warned for inactivity.
Marlon Sandro cemented his spot in the next round of the Tournament with effective wrestling to keep Matt Jaggers on his back -- though he was not doing much damage in doing so. Jaggers was able to get off the ground and get back up to his feet but only to be put in an arm triangle choke by Sandro for his efforts. Unable to escape and gasping for air he collapsed to the floor, forcing the referee to halt the bout.
The biggest surprise of the night came courtesy of Michihiro Omigawa who was not only able to upset L.C. Davis by winning but also controlled and dictated most of the action and gained a hard earned unanimous decision victory. Omigawa had some choice words after the fight for those who counted him out and expected him to lose.
Nam Phan got back to winning ways with a quick TKO destruction over Hideki Kadowaki.
It was an unsuccessful return to Japan for "The Colossus" James Thompson. His fight with Jim York wasn’t pretty to say the least and the debauchery ended with a one punch knockout from "Big" that left Thompson down on the mat.
Hatsu Hioki managed to outwork Featherweight prospect Chris Manuel and garner a impressive victory for himself by submitting the American Top Team jiu-jitsu coach.
Headliner Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal was taken to the distance for the first time in his short career courtesy of Ryo Kawamura, though he didn‘t put up too much of a fight.
In the opening stanza Kawamura was thrown around like a rag doll and would be the victim of some Rampage-esque slams. The bout continued to see Lawal dominate using his superior wrestling to maintain control.
Kawamura would go on to take a ton of punishment but somehow managed to survive the onslaught proving to be a tough competitor but in the process didn’t mount much offense which saw the judges name "King Mo" the victor.
Lawal would apologize for not being able to finish the fight and stated he was not at 100-percent fitness and promised a better outing next time. To make up for it would be some entertaining post fight antics when he would pick an audience member from the crowd to start off the King Mo chants and he also got the same reluctant referee from the last event in on the fun again to the audiences appreciation.
Here are the Sengoku 7 quick results:
Muhammed Lawal (4-0) defeated Ryo Kawamura (9-4-2) via unanimous decision
Jim York (10-2) defeated James Thompson (14-10) via knockout (punch) 4:33 - R1
Hatsu Hioki (18-3-2) defeated Chris Manuel (6-1-2) via submission (armbar) 4:12 - R1
Nam Phan (15-5) defeated Hideki Kadowaki (13-9-2) via TKO (strikes) 3:09 - R1
Michihiro Omigawa (5-7-1) defeated L.C. Davis (13-2) via unanimous decision
Marlon Sandro (13-0) defeated Matt Jaggers (9-5) via submission (arm triangle choke) 2:57-R2
Masanori Kanehara (12-5-5) defeated Kim Jong Man (3-6-3) via unanimous decision
Jung Chan Sung (3-0) defeated Shintaro Ishiwatari (6-2-3) via submission (rear naked choke) 4:29 - R1
Ronnie Mann (17-1-1) defeated Tetsuya Yamada (3-1) via unanimous decision
Nick Denis (7-0) defeated Seiya Kawahara (6-2) via TKO (strikes) 2:36 - R1
Don't forget to catch the Sengoku 7 replays on HDNet tonight at 10:00pm ET and Saturday afternoon (March 21) at 4:00pm ET.