Monday, 17 September 2007

K-1 Hero's 2006 Volume One: Domination - DVD Review

Following my recent review of the K-1 Hero’s 2005 Volume One on DVD, the good people at MMA Universe have asked me to review another Hero’s release. So this time we’re going forward a year to Hero’s 2006 Volume 1: Domination, a two disc release which features the likes of Jerome Le Banner, Heath Herring, Caol Uno and many others from the Budokan Arena in Japan. As with the previous review, the commentators are Howard Hughes and Pierre Guillet.
After the traditional parade of fighters that begins every K-1 show, it’s on to the first fight, as Melvin Manhoef makes his Hero’s debut against Shungo Oyama. An excellent display of striking from the Dutchman here. A hard right cross opened up a cut above Oyama’s left eye, and after lengthy treatment from his corner, the Japanese fighter was allowed to continue. But Manhoef’s assault was relentless, and he soon opened up the cut again, and with blood pouring down Oyama’s face, the referee had no choice but to stop the fight in the first round. A very impressive display from Manhoef in a very good and explosive fight.
Next up, K-1 favourite Jerome Le Banner went up against American Jimmy Ambriz. The Frenchman again showed why he was so dominant in the stand-up game. The fight began with the stocky Ambriz getting the take-down, but as little happened afterwards, the referee stood the fighters up, which played right into the hands of Le Banner. A right cross sent Ambriz crashing to the mat, Le Banner scoring the win via knockout. Le Banner looked great in this one.
After these two quick fights, it was on to Kazuyuki Miyata against the Lithuanian Erika Petraitis. The third fight in a row that ended in the first round saw Miyata take Petraitis down early and dominate completely with the ground and pound, before getting the submission with the armbar. One couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Petraitis, who looked completely outclassed here by the Japanese star.
Then, Japanese favourite Caol Uno took on America’s Rich Clementi. Now, while I always like to see quick fights, it’s also good to see fights that are a bit more even and last longer than the first round. This was a very even contest, with both fighters showing their full arsenals of skills from grappling to submission attempts to striking as it went the full two round distance. It made for a very good contest, with impressive showings from both men, with Uno winning the fight by a unanimous judge’s decision, which I felt was a tad cruel on Clementi.
It was back to the big guys next as Gary Goodridge faced Heath Herring. Now, you may remember what I said in my last review about Goodridge, about how I had hardly seen him win despite the fact that the various commentators had built him up so much. Well, guess what happened here? With Herring unloading with a ton of punches in the first round from the guard position, the second round saw the Texas Crazy Horse adopt some negative tactics in the second by preferring to lay on his back. When the referee called him back up to his feet, Herring almost immediately connecting with a hard right to the side of Goodridge’s head, sending him crashing to the canvas, with Herring getting the KO victory. A fight that was a little disappointing because of Herring’s early tactics was redeemed a little by the explosive ending.
It’s an all-Japanese battle next as Tokimitsu Ishizawa, otherwise known as professional wrestler Kendo Ka Shin, faces Yoshihiro Akiyama. With the first round a little uninspiring, the second round had to be an improvement, with Akiyama controlling throughout, taking Ishizawa down and making him tap to a choke variation. This one lacked a little sparkle, and if I’m to be completely honest here, it’s not a fight I’d go out of my way to watch again.
South Korea v Japan next, with Kim Min Soo going up against Yoshihisa Yamamota. Now this was a lot better. The first round started off as a slug fest, before Soo took Yamamota down and controlled the back, looking like he was going for a rear naked choke. But the Japanese fighter recovered well, got a take down himself, and while trapping Soo’s right arm under his leg, unleashed with the ground and pound. It looked like the referee would stop the fight for a few seconds, but Soo recovered, even though he was a bloody mess, and the ref called for a time out so the cuts on both fighters could be checked out. The second round was just as action packed, and Soo was soon able to get the back of Yamamota again. Hooking his body with both legs, he synched in the rear naked choke for the submission victory. A great fight here, and I was impressed with the skills of both fighters here. Really enjoyable, and Soo deserved his victory.
Then it’s on to the ever colourful Genki Sudo as he takes on Ole Laursen. Once again Sudo puts on one of his theatrical entrances, the sort of thing that wouldn’t go amiss in the west end of London. The fact that the guy can do a full dance return before he fights says a lot about his fitness levels, and what was more Sudo decided to fight in his kung-fu outfit. This was certainly an interesting fight, and a good example of MMA at it’s best. Sudo’s showmanship was backed up by solid skills throughout the fight, and Laursen, making his MMA debut here, looked like he’d been in the game for years. An inadvertent low blow from the Dane was the only black mark on a great fight that went the two round distance, and with the judges unable to separate them, it went to an extra round, and this proved to be just as thrilling as the first two, with Sudo showing great skill, dominating the round, and winning the unanimous decision. This is one I’d definitely recommend to any MMA fan.
Finally, it’s Hideo Tokoro and Yoshinori Ikeda. This was one of those blink and you’ll miss them fights. Tokoro took Ikeda down straight away, passed guard, and synched in the triangle choke, with the referee stopping the bout when Ikeda passed out. The time - just forty-nine seconds, a great showing from Tokoro.
The extras come on disc two, and feature a bonus fight between Antonio McKee and Kiuma Kunioku, pre and post fight interviews, a press conference, and training sessions from the likes of Genki Sudo and Caol Uno.
In conclusion - another great release from the K1 gang here. With only one fight disappointing, Domination was a strong card and a good example of mixed martial arts action at it’s best, with Genki Sudo the stand-out fighter of the show. Once again commentators Hughes and Guillet did a good job of calling the action, certainly better than a certain Eurosport commentator whose name I won’t mention. This is definitely a show I’d watch again.
With thanks to MMA Universe for supplying a copy of this release. K1 Hero’s 2006 Volume 1: Domination can be purchased online by visiting the MMA Universe website at www.mmauniverse.com.