Daiju Takase, who holds a submission win over UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, won a hard fought decision over Brandon "BK" Kesler in the main event of DARE Championship's DARE 1/12 event at the Club Insomnia Bangkok.
The Japanese MMA legend was returning to action after an absence of almost two years. He was up against a local favorite in Kesler, an American who is based in Bangkok and is a very familiar face to MMA fans in Thailand.
In the end it was the much more experienced Takase who prevailed and advanced to the quarter finals of the DARE Championship's Middleweight Tournament, bringing him one step closer to claiming his part of the $1,000,000 Dollar Grand Bonus for the first group of Champions in DARE.
It was the biggest fight of BK’s life but he did not let the occasion get to him, starting slowly before exploding into action with a superman punch. Takase was equally patient and an uneventful first round probably went the Americans way courtesy of an eye catching takedown.
Kesler was also able to get the Japanese veteran to the floor in the second round but this time Takase showed off his submission skills, using a Kimura attempt to sweep and move into mount. It was a maneuver he also used to good effect in the third round which along with a solid hook landed at the start of the round, probably propelled him to a closely contested decision win.
Given the gulf in experience BK can be proud of himself for having gone the distance and after the fight Takase paid tribute to his opponent, "He was tough, I wanted to submit him but he was very strong. I have been out of action for a long time so it is good to get back in the cage and to win a fight. I am looking forward to fighting again for DARE and also want the people who have been flooded in Thailand to know that Japanese people are thinking of you and that we are all together."
All the profits from DARE Championship 1/12, the third event to be put on by Thailand’s only MMA promotion, will be donated to helping victims of the flooding which struck large areas of Thailand towards the end of 2011.
All the DARE 1/12 fights are available online at www.darelive.tv and www.gfl.tv.
RONIN vs MAD DOG
Earlier in the night two seasoned warriors went head to head when Bangkok based American Shane "RONIN" Wiggand collided with Finish fighter Marko "MAD DOG" Huusansaari from Pattaya in what turned out to be the fight of the night.
The American started the stronger, dominating the stand up exchanges until Mad Dog caught a kick and took the fight to the ground. He was able to take Ronin’s back but unable to sink in the choke and once the fighters returned to their feet he continued to take punishment.
The doctor had a good look at Mad Dog Huusansaari between rounds but deemed him eligible to continue and he demonstrated an iron chin as Wiggand continued to press forwards, utilizing his jab to good effect. To his credit the Finnish fighter survived long enough to hear the bell at the end of the third round but it was a dominant performance from Wiggand who immediately announced his retirement from competitive fighting.
LATINO vs JON NUTT
DARE Championships like to do things a little bit differently and they sprung a surprise when MC / commentator Jon Nutt announced that he would be taking part in an unscheduled contest with Brazilian Muay Thai Champion Marcelo "LATINO" Tenorio (Muay Thai record of 50-1 where 40 of the wins coming via KO).
The crowd were expecting to see Takase fight Kesler in the main event of the night when the charismatic commentator suddenly declared that he was going backstage to get his hands wrapped and would be back in ten minutes to fight.
Both men had already been weighed and completed all the pre fight medicals but no-one knew that this catch weight contest had been added to the card to replace the bout between Arnaud "THE GAME" Lepont and Krysztof "HAJA" Hajtalowicz which had been cancelled due to injury.
After a dramatic entrance which got the crowd on his side Nutt went to work with some solid combinations, landing a few punches and kicks before taking the fight to the floor. Despite being at a significant size disadvantage Tenorio was able to tie him up and neutralize him so effectively that the fight was stood up despite the smaller fighter being mounted at the time.
It was a dominant round for Nutt but it clearly took its toll on someone who is an MC and commentator rather than a full time fighter. He was able to come out for the second round but only just and, after just a few seconds of frantic action, he was forced to tap due to sheer exhaustion.
Also on the seven fight card was an eagerly anticipated contest between Japanese American Major "MAJOR" Overall and Malaysian AJ "PYRO" Vaa. Both fighters looked in fantastic shape for this featherweight match up which had been expected to be one of the closest fights of the night but in the end it took Overall less than a minute to land a clean combination and finish his stunned opponent off with a rear naked choke.
Jussi Saloranta, a founder of DARE Championship paid tribute to Nutt for stepping up at such short notice and putting on a show for the fans, "We promised our fans seven fights so when HAJA got injured and we couldn’t find a replacement we didn’t want to let them down. Fortunately Jon Nutt, our MC and commentator stepped up at two days notice to take a really tough fight against a Brazilian Muay Thai champion and even though he lost he put on a great show for the fans, which is what DARE is all about."
PLEASE FIND THE OFFICIAL RECORDS OF DARE 1/12 - FIGHT THE FLOODS
ROCK – Ammar Rock Tchalabi VS CAPO – Andrea Signorini.
Winner: ROCK via Verbal Submission - 1:34 seconds/ Round 1
THE BEAST - Mangthus Rewtawee - vs. LANNA WARRIOR - Tanaphong Khunhankaew
Winner: LANNA WARRIOR via KO - 3.32 seconds/ Round 1
RONIN – Shane Wiggand vs MAD DOG – Marko Huusansaari.
30/27, 29/28, 30/27
Winner: RONIN via UNANIMOUS DECISION
MAJOR – Major Overall vs PYRO – AJ Vaa.
Winner: MAJOR via Submission REAR NAKED CHOKE - 1.38 seconds/ Round 1
EZ2DJ – Teerapak Saetae vs TDR – Tondamrong Panjabutra.
Winner: TDR via TKO (Ref. Stoppage) 2.38 seconds/ Round 2
LATINO - Marcelo Tenorio vs JON NUTT - Jonathan Nutt
Winner: LATINO via Verbal Submission 34 seconds/ Round 2
BK – Brandon Kesler vs TAKASE – Daiju Takase
29/28, 29/28, 29/28
Winner: TAKASE via UNANIMOUS DECISION
ALL PHOTOS BY LUKE CHAYA