Once again we’re going to take a trip into the world of K-1, and their Hero’s mixed martial arts arm, with a look at 2005 Volume Three: Tournament Semi-Final, courtesy of the good people at www.mmauniverse.com, and featuring stars such as Royler Gracie, Carl Uno, Genki Sudo and many more. Our hosts for the evening are Howard Hughes and Pierre Guillet.
After the lavish opening ceremony, it’s on to the first fight, action in the heavyweight division as Japan’s Yoshihiro Nakao faces off against New Zealand’s Faii Falamoe, making his MMA debut here. A quick start to the show saw Nakao taking Falamoe down early, and synching in an arm bar just a few moments later, having already delivered some stiff punches to the New Zealander. When Falamoe didn’t tap to the arm bar, even though his arm was now fully extended, the referee stepped in to stop the fight, awarding the contest to Nakao. Falamoe looked totally out of his depth here, unable to defend himself against anything, which made for a slightly disappointing fight.
Then it’s on to the lightweight tournament quarter final, an all Japanese battle, with Genki Sudo against Kazuyuki Miyata. A highly technical encounter here. The fight began with Sudo showing his usual theatrics, but this meant nothing to Miyata, as he controlled the entire third round, and the majority of the second, right up until the final moment, when Sudo locked in a quick arm bar, with Miyata tapping seconds later. This certainly wasn’t Sudo’s best performance, but kudos must go to Miyata here.
Next up, Japan’s Hiroyuki Takaya taking on Lithuania’s Remigijus Morkevicius in the second quarter final. This fight was a great example of how a fighter can’t enter an MMA bout with just one skill. Upright, Morkevicius looked great, able to rack off a few good combinations that rattled Takaya, but once they were on the ground, he looked like a beach whale, unable to defend against anything Takaya threw at him, unable to defend himself against the barrage of punches Takaya was aiming at him, and towards the end of the second round, the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight, awarding the victory to Takaya. The Japanese star looked great in this one, but it’s a shame the Lithuanian couldn’t offer much more.
The third quarter final sees Japan’s Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto against Brazilian Royler Gracie. While the first round was pretty dull, with both fighters indulging in the feeling out process, the second was explosive, and less than a minute into the round, an overhand right from Yamamoto sent Gracie sprawling to the mat, the Kid getting the immediate knockout victory, and although the manner of his victory was impressive, the poor first round kind of let things down a little.
The fourth and final quarter final is an all Japanese affair, with Caol Uno taking on Hideo Tokoro. This fight was everything the third quarter final wasn’t. Explosive throughout, with great transitions, tons of submission attempts, and outstanding action both on the ground and upright. Uno, as always, was impressive, as was Tokoro, who was able to match Uno step for step, move for move, and with neither man able to dispatch the other during the first two rounds, the judges awarded the decision to Uno, although Tokoro could have easily won this one.
It’s on to non tournament action, another all Japanese fight between Akira Kikuchi and Kiuma Kunioku in the welterweight division. This certainly was an interesting fight, with Kunioku’s ground and pound against Kikuchi’s submission attempts, with the action so close that the judges couldn’t separate them after the two normal rounds, which meant that the extra round was called for. This was when the fatigue factor came into play, and it showed in the somewhat slower pace of the round. A very intriguing fight between two evenly matched fighters, with Kikuchi finally getting the unanimous judge’s decision.
Then it’s Japan’s Shungo Oyama against New Zealand’s Sam Greco in the heavyweight division. It was obvious from the start what the tactics of the two fighters were, with Oyama wanting to take things to the ground, and the larger Greco wanting to stay upright, and it was Greco’s tactics that worked to perfection. He stared off strongly with some good combinations, but when Oyama managed to take him to the mat, he did nothing, and all Greco had to do was to hold his opponent there long enough for the referee to stand them up again. This he did, and Greco soon went back to work, connecting with a barrage of punches that sent Oyama sprawling to the mat. The referee didn’t even bother with a ten count as he awarded the knock out victory to Greco. A great performance from the Kiwi here. He executed every part of his game plan perfectly.
Back in the tournament, it’s semi-final time as Genki Sudo takes on Hiroyuku Takaya. The first round of this one was slightly disappointing. Sudo connected with a couple of good shots, and Takaya defended the takedown attempts well, but that was about it. The second round was far better, fought at a faster pace, with Sudo showing some great skill in taking Takaya’s back and applying the triangle choke for the submission victory, allowing him to advance to the tournament final at the next show. A little disappointing, but the fatigue that was overcoming the fighters probably paid a part in this.
The second semi sees Norifumi Yamamoto against Caol Uno. This one was fought mainly in the stand up position, which was surprising given the ground skills of Uno. A good fight, but one that was, like the previous semi-final, a little disappointing. The second round saw Yamamoto connect with a hard right that opened up a cut above Uno’s left eye. The fight was stopped twice as doctors checked the cut and tried to stop the bleeding. It was after the second attempt that they allowed Uno to continue, but after Yamamoto centred his attack on the cut, the referee stopped the fight as the blood began to pour down Uno’s face once again. Yamamoto had secured a place in the final against Sudo on the next show.
Disc two is where you’ll find all the extras, including two extra fights - Hermes Franca v Kotetsu Boku and Atsushi Yamamoto v Katsuya Toida, as well as training footage, press conferences and pre-fight interviews, as well as the thirty minute pre-show show.
In conclusion - although there was some good action on this show, overall I found it a little disappointing. Some of the fights promised much but ultimately failed to deliver. Compared to the other K-1 Hero’s DVD’s I’ve reviewed, this certainly isn’t the best. Production wise, it certainly can’t be faulted, as once again commentators Hughes and Guillet did a good job, showing their expertise without going over the top as they called the action.
So is this release a good buy? If you’re a Hero’s devotee, you probably will end up buying this. But if you’re looking to sample the Hero’s product for the first time, I’ve look for one of their other releases, then come back for this one.
With thanks to the bods at MMA Universe for supplying a copy of this release. To purchase a copy of this or any other K-1 Hero’s release, visit www.mmauniverse.com. They sponsor my website, so they must be good!