After a relatively fruitless stint under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner, Ryo Chonan was out to make an emphatic statement in his return to his old battleground of DEEP, where he once held the promotion's middleweight title.
In the main event of DEEP 43 this weekend, Chonan locked horns with a fellow PRIDE/UFC veteran, Jutaro Nakao, and turned the bout into his homecoming party. Fighting in Japan for the first time in two years, Chonan methodically picked apart Nakao with a series of kicks to the leg and arm and ground and pound.
After three rounds, he emerged victorious via unanimous decision.
It was a refreshing victory after a bitter UFC run -- Chonan amassed a 1-3 record, winning a close split decision victory over Roan Carneiro, but falling short against Karo Parisyan, Brad Blackburn and TJ Grant.
In the same event, another UFC veteran, Dokonjonosuke Mishima, stumbled against a rising prospect, Takafumi Otsuka, losing his featherweight title in the process.
After a brief stint in UFC during which he dropped two consecutive bouts to Joe Stevenson and Kenny Florian, Mishima launched a new chapter in his career with a drop to the featherweight division. In fact, he defeated Masakazu Imanari to capture the promotion's featherweight title at DEEP 35.
However, Mishima suffered a knee injury shortly thereafter, forcing him out of Sengoku's featherweight grand prix and onto the sidelines for several months.
The long layoff appeared to affect Mishima at DEEP 43 against Otsuka, who leveraged his youth and superior wrestling to register a big upset. Otsuka -- who lost to Bibiano Fernandes in the first round of DREAM featherweight grand prix earlier this year -- defended Mishima's takedown attempts while scoring takedowns of his own and keeping busy with the top control.
In the end, he scored a unanimous decision victory and emerged as the new DEEP featherweight champion.
Elsewhere, leg lock specialist Masakazu Imanari defended his bantamweight title against Tomohiko Hori. Imanari successfully bounced back from an anemic performance against Bibiano Fernandes in the quarterfinal of DREAM featherweight grand prix.
Though he was unable to finish Hori with his patented leg locks, Imanari controlled the fight with takedowns, guard-pulling, stomps and submission attempts en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Other results (via Sherdog.com):
Bernard Ackah defeated Ryushi Yanagisawa -- TKO (head kick and punches) 0:07 R1
Toshiaki Kitada defeated Zach Makovsky -- Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 4:22 R1
Koichiro Matsumoto defeated Shunichi Shimizu -- Unanimous Decision
Hans Stringer defeated Yuji Sakuragi -- TKO (Punches) 2:11 R2
Won Sik Park defeated Yuichi Ikari -- Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 4:58 R1
Yoshitomo Watanabe defeated Pat Ayuyu -- TKO (Punches) 4:56 R2
Yuki Ito drew Sadao Kondo
Yasuhiro Kawasaki defeated Tomoya Kato -- Unanimous Decision
Masato Kataoka defeated Hideyuki Noro -- Submission (Armbar) 2:44 R1
Tatsuya Tsuchida defeated KZ KZ -- Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 3:11 R1