Wednesday, 30 July 2008

K-1 Dynamite 2006 - DVD Review

So what do you get when combine mixed martial arts fights with those fought under K-1 kickboxing rules? No, it’s not Pride/K-1 Shockwave 2002, it’s four years later than that, as we’re going to take a look at the DVD release of the K-1 Premium Dynamite 2006, featuring some of the greats of the MMA and K-1 worlds, such as Kazushi Sakuraba, Genki Sudo, Semmy Schilt, Musashi and a whole lot more.
After the always impressive parade of fighters, it’s on to the first fight, with the first four fights being fought under MMA rules, beginning with Shuichiro Katsumura facing Katsuhiko Nagata. The first round got off to a fast star, and Katsumura got off some good shots, but it was Nagata who scored the first knockdown with a hard shot that sent Katsumura reeling. There was a brief flirtation with ground work before both fighters returned to their feet, with some good shots from both fighters, before they returned to the ground where Nagata regained control. But with Katsumura offering nothing in defence, the referee stepped in to stop Nagata’s ground and pound, ending what was a very good fight, with both fighters looking good.
The action continues with the next fight, as Taiei Kin takes on Tokimitsu Ishizawa, otherwise known as Kendo Ka Shin to professional wrestling fans. The first round of this one was supposed to last ten minutes. It didn’t get anywhere near there. After the feeling out process finished, Kin connected with a left kick to the head. Ishizawa fell to the mat like the proverbial sack of spuds, probably out cold before he hit the mat. While I can’t really comment on Ishizawa’s performance, all I will say is that Kin’s kick was awesome, rivalling Cro Cop at his best.
Then it’s on to the first international fight, with Hideo Tokoro facing Royler Gracie. The first round was an interesting exercise in attack and defence. Tokoro looked excellent as he tried to work for control on the ground with Gracie in his guard, going for his favoured armbar submission, and almost getting it synched in on one occasion, while Gracie showed excellent defence against Tokoro’s almost constant submission attempts. The round ended with Tokoro reversing the roles, ending up in side control on top of Gracie.
Gracie was the first to score with the take down a minute into the second road, but after they returned to their feet and the referee warned them about their lack of action, Tokoro connected with a knee to the head that rocked Gracie, who was still stunned when Tokoro’s shoot was successful. But with very little work happening on the mat, the referee stood the fighters up, with Tokoro again looking impressive while Gracie seemed like a one trick pony with his constant side kick attempts aimed at his opponent’s knee. The round came to an end with Gracie attempt a take down from behind, with Tokoro again gaining control on the mat.
As the final round began, Gracie once again used his favoured kicking tactic. More brief ground work followed, before they again tied each other up in the corner. Tokoro showed some good work on the mat, quickly getting into Gracie’s guard before they quickly worked their way back to their feet. Then Tokoro again showed how good he was on the mat. Gracie took his back, but the Japanese star soon transitioned into Gracie’s guard before pulling the action back to the upright. The final stages of the fight saw Tokoro trying to set up for an arm submission, with Gracie countering by taking it down to the mat, and ending the round by going for a triangle choke as the final bell sounded. So with the fight going the distance, the judges gave their decision, awarding the fight to Tokoro. Both fighters looked good in this fight, but it was obvious who the better fighter was, with Tokoro deservedly getting the decision.
It’s a battle of the behemoths next, with former WWE star Giant Silva facing former sumo wrestler Akebono. I wasn’t expecting a long, drawn-out technical contest here, given the size of these two. I was right. A quick bit of slugging between the two before a clinch up against the ropes, before Silva took it down to the mat and locked in the kimura, with Akebono tapping moments later. I can’t say I was impressed with this one, as I’ve never really been a fan of matches between two monsters like these.
Then it’s on to K-1 rules, and first up it’s Nicholas Pettas taking on Badr Hari. Hari has this sort of mystique around him, and he’s a damn good fighter as well. In the first round Hari seemed in total control, and even though Pettas connected with a few good shots, he didn’t seem to know how to control Hari. There were also a few time-outs, as both fighters connected with low kicks, Pettas twice, Hari once.
A minute into the second round, and Hari connected with a stuff left arm shot, which resulted in a standing eight count for Pettas, and after a high kick to the same arm, the Dane pulled away, and the referee stopped the fight as Pettas’ corner threw the towel in, with Hari being declared the winner in what was an outstanding performance.
Next up, Randy Kim facing Musashi. The first round seemed to be the feeling out process. Musashi seemed to have the edge over Kim, but that was understandable, considering that this was the former shot putter’s K-1 debut.
Kim began the second round with all guns blazing, connecting with some good punches, but as the round went on his previous exertions had taken their toll on him as Musashi tried to exert some control. And this he did, especially after his overhand right stunned Kim a little, and by the end of the second he was clearly in control.
Round three, and Kim was looking exhausted. The Korean connected with a few wild blows, but a right from Musashi sent Kim down, with the referee stopping the fight immediately. Another example of just how good Musashi is.
K-1 legend Semmy Schilt is next, taking on the Australian Peter Graham. Round one saw Schilt assert control almost from the outset. Graham connected with a few good kicks to the legs, and later tried for his rolling thunder kick. It had literally no effect on Schilt, and by the end of the round Graham looked like he was coming back into the fight a little.
Round two started off as a more even contest between the two fighters, but as the round went on Schilt seemed to be throwing the more crisper punches, although Graham’s defence was somewhat stubborn.
Graham began the third round with all guns blazing, and connected with a good overhand right that seemed to stagger Schilt a little. Later on, a leg kick from Schilt sent Graham down to the mat, and as the round went on Schilt focused on the leg more and more as the fatigue began to show on Graham’s face.
Round four, and Graham looked exhausted as he got off his stool. Schilt seemed able to tee off at will, connecting with single shots and combinations. The Australian was able to get in a few good shots, but as the clock ticked down Graham began to look like an exhausted and beaten man, and a second rolling thunder kick had no effect, because Schilt saw it coming from a mile away.
The fifth and final round, and Graham, knowing he had a lot of work to do if he wanted to win the fight, got in some good licks, but the problem was that Schilt was getting in more, and unlike Graham was still looking as fresh as a daisy. Graham took his final throw of the dice with a third rolling thunder kick, which again had no effect. So with the fight going the five round distance, it went to the judges decision, with Schilt winning the unanimous decision. A very good performance from Schilt here, but credit to Graham also, who did well considering he took the fight on just three days notice. It makes you wonder what could have happened if Graham had had more time to prepare.
It’s back to the MMA action for the next few fights, with Jackson Page taking on the always watchable Genki Sudo, he of the incredible ring entrances. They really have to be seen to be believed. But back to the matter at hand. Round one began with Sudo trying to out-psyche Jackson with his posturing, but it was the American who scored with the first take down. Page tried to work the ground and pound, but Sudo almost locked in a triangle on a few occasions. Sudo defended well against Page’s blows, and then, at the fourth time of asking, Sudo locked in the triangle choke, with Page tapping within seconds. As always, an excellent performance from Sudo here - both in and out of the ring.
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto is next, taking on Istvan Majoros. The first round here began somewhat slowly, with Majoros, making his MMA debut, going for the shoot, only for Yamamoto to defend. The Japanese fighter showed excellent defence against Majoros, as well as superior striking ability, connecting with two good knees, and a knee to the rib cage from a muay thai clinch which winded Majoros and left him on the mat unable to defend himself. With the referee realising that the Hungarian Olympian was in trouble, he called an immediate stop to the fight. Good performance from the Kid here, although Majoros looked like he was in over his head here.
It’s the turn of the other big guy next, the giant Korean Hong-Man Choi, facing off against Bobby Olugun. Now, if you thought Genki Sudo’s entrances are great, you should see Choi’s. It’s another one of those that has to be seen to be believed, and Olugun’s entrance was almost as good. But getting back to the matter at hand…..This David v Goliath battle lasted a matter of seconds. Olugun tried to start the fight quickly with a jumping kick, but it didn’t connect at all, and the Nigerian landed on the mat. Bad move. Choi dragged him by the leg to the middle of the ring and unleashed with the ground and pound, with the referee stopping the fight within seconds. It’s hard to tell just how good Choi’s performance was considering it didn’t last that long, but the look on his face after the fight made it obvious that he wanted it to go a lot longer. But perhaps the most interesting statistic about this one is that the ring entrances lasted a lot longer than the fight itself!
Back to K-1 rules, with Satoru Suzuki facing Masato. Round one began with the usual feeling out process, but didn’t last long as both fighters exchanged kick and punch combinations. Around the ninety second mark a high kick from Suzuki rocked Masato, who recovered quickly and soon got back into the fight, and although both fighters did some good work, it was Suzuki who looked the better fighter.
Round two began with Masato connecting with a series of kicks to Suzuki’s left leg, which clearly hurt him as he began to favour the leg heavily. Suzuki became a one legged man as he continued his assault on the injured limb, scoring with a knockdown. The bad leg was clearly taking it’s toll on Suzuki, so much so that further attacks resulted in two further knockdowns, and with K-1 using the three knockdowns in a round rule, that meant victory for Masato, putting in a good performance after a somewhat poor first round.
Main event time, MMA action, with the legendary Kazushi Sakuraba facing Yoshihiro Akiyama. The first round, scheduled for ten minutes, featured a long feeling out period, with both fighters exchanging kicks, until Sakuraba connected with an inadvertent low blow on Akiyama. After Akiyama was given time to recover, the fight re-started, and the exchange of kicks continued. Then, after Sakuraba missed with a takedown attempt, he went into the corner doing the time-out signal, with the fight continuing. Akiyama began to unload on Sakuraba, and with the legend falling to the mat, Akiyama unleashed the ground and pound, opening up a cut above Sakuraba’s right ear. Sakuraba’s only defence against this assault seemed to be grabbing Akiyama’s right arm, and as Akiyama continued with the ground and pound, the referee called a halt to the fight around the five and half minute mark. However, Sakuraba, despite having a heavily swollen right eye, wasn’t happy, and from what I understand, the end of the fight wasn’t the end of things, and it turned into quite a controversial incident. But if you want to find out about that, you’ll have to Google it and find out what happened.
Disc 2 of this collection, as is the custom with K-1 releases, is where you’ll find the extras, including training sessions, show trailers, footage from the after show party, and a Countdown to Dynamite USA segment.
In conclusion - seeing as how the powers that be at Eurosport are still denying us K-1 and MMA action (unless you’ve got access to their hi-definition service), these DVD releases are a more than adequate way to satisfy your hunger for K-1 action. Apart from a couple of dud fights, Dynamite 2006 is a great event, and one that I enjoyed immensely, although I’m a little disappointed that there wasn’t any extra coverage of the aftermath of the Sakuraba/Akiyama fight. The back cover labels it as one of the most controversial fights in MMA history, but you don’t really get what happened just by watching the fight itself. It would have been nice if they had told us just why the fight was so controversial on this DVD, rather than expecting us to find out on the internet.
K-1 Premium Dynamite 2006 is available to buy online by visiting www.mmaunverse.com.