Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG) held its latest event, K-1 World MAX Final 8, from the Nippon Budokan Arena in Tokyo, Japan, yesterday (July 13).
For fans in North America it will air via tape delay Friday July 17 at 10 p.m. ET on HDNet.
The focal point of the evening was another mixed martial arts vs. K-1 fight with DREAM lightweight standout Tatsuya Kawajiri going up against former two-time K-1 Max World champion Masato. It seems as if FEG is trying to brew up a rivalry between both sports to drum up fan interest.
Perhaps it's working.
The back and forth battles, which have mainly seen MMA stars of DREAM head over to K-1 to try their hands at the striking-only sport, have not only being entertaining, but has seen a fair share of the mixed martial artist stand their ground and do quite well.
However, just not this time around.
Kawajiri was simply outclassed in his bout with K-1 legend Masato. It’s hard to fault him though -- his primary base is wrestling and it’s safe to say he was out of his element in a stand up only fight against someone the caliber of the Masato.
"Crusher" didn’t have much to offer, appearing to be desperately looking for a big power shot to surprise Masato with but to no avail. Masato was too elusive and countered well, tooling Kawajiri late into the first round and eventually landing a right hook that brought his opponent to his knees. Crusher was able to recover and get back to his feet.
The second round saw more of the same with Kawajiri not being able to do much apart from try and fail to land powerful hooks. Masato had an answer for them every time, and half way through the round, managed to rock Kawajiri with a flurry of punches. He finished with an uppercut and a knee that completely overwhelmed Kawajiri, who tried to fire back but while doing so flopped into the canvas in pure exhaustion.
Also in action was mixed martial arts featherweight superstar Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, facing off against young Korean import Jae hee Cheon.
He would end up suffering a similar fate to Kawajiri if not worse. He was a tad over eager to engage, which he wound up paying dearly for, eating a vicious left hook early into the opening stanza that saw Yamamoto brutally knocked out just 80 seconds into the bout.
Another setback for "Kid" who was just upset by Greco-Roman wrestling stud Joe Warren at DREAM 9 in May. The relatively inexperienced wrestling convert earned a decision over the highly regarded Yamamoto to make a name for himself, advancing deeper into the DREAM featherweight tournament in the process.
The event of course played host to the K-1 MAX (154 lbs) World Championship Tournament quarterfinals.
K-1 MAX Japan Tournament runner-up Yuya Yamamoto managed to garner a decision victory over Gago Drago in his preliminary bout.
He earned himself a spot in the final four with that win and will now face off against Italian bruiser Giorgio Petrosyan, who was also in action at the event outscoring the first ever K-1 Max champion Albert Kraus on the judges scorecards to claim victory.
While last year’s runner up in the tournament, 22-year-old prospect Artur Kyshenko, had a closely contested battle with Dutch blitzkrieg Andy Souwer, the bout went the distance and needed an extra round before the judges could come up with their conclusion.
Though in the end it would be Souwer who got his hand raised, getting the victory and a little bit of redemption. As both combatants previously faced off in last years semifinals though that time it would be Kyshenko who was the victor in another close battle.
Souwer now evens the scores and in doing so advances to the semifinals of this years tournament where he’ll meet former two-time champion Buakaw Por. Pramuk scored a unanimous decision win over K-1 MAX Scandinavia 2006 tournament champion Nieky Holzken to earn his spot in the semifinals.
Here are the official results for K-1 World MAX Final 8:
K-1 World MAX 2009 quarterfinals:
Yuya Yamamoto (7-5) defeated Gago Drago (6-6) via unanimous decision
Giorgio Petrosyan (2-0) defeated Albert Kraus (24-11-1) via unanimous decision
Andy Souwer (19-3) defeated Artur Kyshenko (11-3) via unanimous decision
Buakaw Por. Pramuk (25-4) defeated Nieky Holzken (1-2) via unanimous decision
K-1 World MAX 2009 reserve fights:
Yoshihiro Sato (14-9) defeated Joeri Mes (1-2) via unanimous decision
Yasuhiro Kido (9-4) defeated Leroy Kaestner (0-2) via unanimous decision
Masato (35-4-1) defeated Tatsuya Kawajiri (1-1) by KO (1:43-R2)
Jae Hee Chon (1-1) defeated Norifumi Yamamoto (1-3) by KO (1:20-R1)
Hiroya (13-1) defeated Kiki Lopez (0-1) via unanimous decision
Dzhabar Askerov (1-1) defeated Hinata Watanabe (1-2) via unanimous decision
Kazuhisa Watanabe (2-0) defeated Atsushi Yamamoto (0-1) by KO (2:40-R1)
Go Yokoyama (1-0) defeated Jae Gil Noh (4-4) by KO (2:01-R3)