Author Topic: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA  (Read 22377 times)


  • Getbig IV
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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2020, 10:06:06 PM »
*Vol.10 Continued*

*In Other News*

In other news: The Gracies are at it again, this time with another hilarious puff piece, courtesy of the September 91 issue of Black Belt magazine:


  • Getbig IV
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  • Deshay with the gauge, Vanilla with the nine.
Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2020, 11:58:11 PM »
*Archives of this series can be found at *

Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol.11 "Seperation Anxiety"

Welcome back! As we continue to reflect in our state of house arrest  upon all things, trivial and otherwise, we shall take a moment to ponder  the road less traveled, and further our quest for the esoteric  knowledge of our predecessors. The date is 8-24-91 and we find ourselves  at the Shizuoka Sangyoukan Concert Hall, which is located within the  Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan (an area best known for being the home of  Mt. Fuji). This hall was a popular spot in the 80s as a layover for many  of the top concert acts of the day, hosting Hall and Oates, Toto, Bryan  Adams, and others until branching out in the 90s and opening its doors  to various pro wrestling events in addition to their usual fare.

We can only hope that it’s a step up from the bowling alley where we  last found Takada and Co. performing, but that remains to be seen. Right  away, this scribe is excited to see Makoto Ohe opening things up again,  this time testing his foot fighting prowess against yet another unknown  kickboxer, named Marb Winon (which as of press time, I’ve been unable  to procure any further information on). The last fighter we saw thrown  to Ohe was an explosive, but completely inexperienced, Taekwondo(?)  practitioner, and this time his opponent at least seems to have his  footwork in place, and seems to belay some boxing experience, even if he  comes across as a bit nervous.

Winon starts off by circling around Ohe, keeping his distance and trying  to occasionally sneak in a low kick or combination, but while he’s  doing this, Ohe keeps measuring his distance and times his counterstrike  as Winon would press his attack. Winon is getting a few shots in, but  is leaving his face unprotected during his attacks, and his taking the  worse of the exchanges. Round 1 ends with Ohe being up on points, and  his experience really showing compared to his opponent.

Round 2 starts with Winon becoming more aggressive, and engaging right  away, even going for a flying knee, and at one point landing a nasty  side kick against Ohe, but he lost his mojo about a min into the round  when Ohe got him up against the ropes and really shook his equilibrium  with some solid punches. Winon spent the rest of round 2 getting picked  apart with precise leg strikes form Ohe, and they seemed to sap whatever  confidence he had going into round 3, as he spent the rest of the round  being very conservative, which is exactly the wrong strategy against  someone who’s an experienced surgeon like Ohe. Winon’s best bet would  have been to simply blitzkrieg Ohe, and hope to catch him off guard, but  his timidity is only serving to have him picked apart here.

Still, he was able to survive round 3, and seemingly read my mind, as he  went into round 4 throwing a nice flurry of combinations, some of which  got through to Ohe, as straight boxing seems to be the biggest weakness  in his game, but it was for naught, as whatever he was able to land was  quickly negated by Ohe firing off brutal kicks for the rest of the  round. Winon was barely able to make it into round 5, being down on  points 24-40. Round 5 begins, and Winon was doing well whenever the  fight got into close range by being able to use his boxing, but whenever  Ohe backed up a little bit and gave himself some space, he would  brutalize Aguilar’s ribs with his kicks, and usually follow up with a  nice right, straight down the pipe. Much credit to Winon, who was able  to persevere and go the distance with Ohe.

This was a fun way to start the show, and Ohe is always entertaining,  but it would be nice to see them track down a more seasoned opponent for  him, for the future.

Next up is our Shoot-Style Prodigy, Kiyoshi Tamura vs the resident  workhorse, Yuko Miyato. Right away, we are off to a fast pace as Miyto  plunges into his bag of Tachi-Waza tricks, looking for a takedown, in  this case with a nice Kata Guruma (Fireman’s Carry), and O-Goshi  (Major hip throw), but Tamura is too slick on the ground and once the  fight travels there, he reverses his situation and secures a straight  armbar on Miyato, forcing a rope escape. Miyato defaults to a more  kickboxing based strategy, landing a few strikes, but there is no  containing Tamura in any position for more than a few seconds, and the  rest of the fight followed in a whirlwind of transitions, submission  attacks from every angle, and naked aggression. While this wasn’t  realistic in modern MMA terms, with the 23432 position changes, it was  exciting, and we are getting more and more glimpses of not only Tamura’s  genius, but how a new art is emerging from the pro wrestling zeitgeist,  as we are starting to see glimpses of what is possible when skilled  practitioners get together and pretend to fight, like they are really going to fight. Tamura  ends the fight with a rear naked choke, coming off a failed kneebar  attempt from Miyato. This was very entertaining, if a bit short, and  Miyato’s bread-and-butter Judo/Kickboxing style played well with  Tamura’s flash&fury.

Tamura's wrath is complete...

Next up is a newcomer to our ranks, and we are introduced to Gary  Albright. Albright had gotten his start in the final days of Stu Hart’s  Stampede Wrestling, having received training from such famous hookers,  like Lou Thez, Billy Robinson, and Danny Hodge in the process. He had  even managed to win the tag team championship of that promotion, before  losing it to Chris Benoit and Biff Wellington (whom we know as  Wellington Wilkins Jr from the PWFG) right before the promotion folded.

Now he has migrated to the sea of shoot style, and right away we see our  zebra-clad warrior Yoji Anjo taunting him before the match, threating  him with vicious knees. The match starts with Albright trying to charge  Anjo into the corner of the ring, but Anjo is much quicker, and is able  to fire off a volley of kicks to ribs/midsection. Albright is eventually  able to catch Anjo and decides to toss him like a frisbee out of the  ring. Now we are starting to see the true spirit of this contest take  shape, the everlasting conflict between the Zebra and the Wildebeest.  Anjo would continue to use his speed and land kicks and palm strikes,  only to get pushed into the ropes, or suplexed onto the canvas, but once  the fight hit the canvas, Albright didn’t really seem to know what to  do, which left Anjo looking for submissions. Once back on the feet  Albright gave Anjo several powerful suplexes which led to a knockout  victory for Albright.

This was nothing more than pro wrestling showboating, an exercise put  forth to set Albright up as a suplexing monster, intent on slamming the  life out of the heroic Japanese natives, and honestly within the realm  of this promotion it worked. It was entertaining, and while Tom Burton  is more credible from a Vale Tudo/NHB standpoint, Albright has a lot  more entertainment finesse, and is a better fit for what this promotion  is trying to do. I do however question the long-term viability of  Albright, as I suspect that his ferocious monster shtick is likely to  have a limited shelf-life.
The Original Human-Suplex-Machine

Lastly, we have Nobuhiko Takada and Billy Scott vs Kazuo Yamazaki and  Tatsuo Nakano. I’m bewildered as to their insistence upon continually  giving us tag-matches for a main event, as it neither serves to bolster  the shoot-credibility (for can anything legitimate ever come from a tag  match?) nor does it really add anything within a pro wrestling  framework, as the UWFI doesn’t have a tag-division, or any titles at all  for that matter, so there aren’t really any stakes in a format like  this. It just serves to add some filler, but I would rather see 20 more  mins of Tamura cartwheeling over a lackey, than stuffing most of the  time allotted onto a team event. Still, any day to witness Yamazaki is a  good one, so there is that.

Billy Scott starts off against Nakano, and he is continuing to show  himself as a wise investment, as his suplexes, strikes, and wrestling  singlet all come across credibly. The match phases into Takada vs  Yamazaki, which is pleasant as these two have always had good chemistry  with each other (for example, their match at UWF Fighting Prospect - Tag  5 on 9-11-85 being one of the best shoot-style matches this scribe has  witnessed), and here he had more of the same, as whenever the two of  them were in the ring together it was total fire, and makes me wish that  they had structured the main events around Yamazaki chasing Takda as  the heir apparent to his throne, at least in the short term. It really  felt like the inclusions of Nakano and Scott were simply to pad things  out and include their other performers, and to be fair they all did a  good job making the match exciting, but really didn’t further the plot,  so to speak. The match ends at 28:09 with a Bob Backland inspired  chicken-wing submission from Yamazaki, which was rather odd.

Yamazaki...taking out the trash.

Here is the event in full:

 And if anyone wishes to see the bout between Yamazaki and Takada from 9-11-85 here it is:

 Final Thoughts: This was an entertaining, if flawed, card top to bottom.  We got another exciting kickboxing bout from Ohe, and Tamura continues  to deliver. Since they are choosing to be more tethered to the  pro-wrestling end of the spectrum, then they could stand to have a more  focused direction in some of the booking, as they feel a bit like a ship  without a rudder at the moment. Still, this is nitpicking as they  continue to deliver entertaining events if nothing else, which isn’t  something Maeda has managed to do yet.


  • Getbig IV
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  • Deshay with the gauge, Vanilla with the nine.
Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2020, 11:59:52 PM »
Let's check in with Mike Lorefice and see what he has to say...

"Makoto Ohe vs Marv Winon: I'm always glad  to see these kickboxing shoots on the card, but this felt like a bully  beatdown where the timid picked on kid does his best to run around the  playground to avoid the inevitable confrontation, hoping the thug will  either get bored or recess will somehow just end. At first I thought  Winon was a karate stylist because his focus was on maintaining  distance, but the more he literally hit his back on the ropes trying to  maintain as much distance from Ohe as possible at all times, the more I  couldn't tell what he was beyond scared. For every 1 step Ohe moved  forward, Winon seemed to try to move 4 steps sideways. Ohe was thrown  off his game by an opponent who didn't want to engage, and seemed to  want to use the Thai clinch more simply to prevent Winon from endlessly  running, which did lead to a left high kick knockdown in the 4th.  Needless to say this wasn't going to be a fight where Ohe landed a lot  of extended combos, but understanding that, he focused on sniping Winon  with power shots, and was very accurate in doing so.

Kiyoshi Tamura vs Yuko Miyato 
 It's hard for me to imagine that anyone improved more in 1991 than  Kiyoshi Tamura, who, after missing virually all of 1990 with a fractured  orbital, is now both leaving everyone in the dust, while at the same  time pulling incredible matches out of them that are way beyond what his  opponents are doing with anyone else or the increase in quality the  other top workers can pull out of their opponents. Tamura is making  great leaps in his ground movement, developing a perpetual motion style  (which obviously is what you should be doing if you are actually trying  when the antiquated techniques of the opponents don't control your body,  much less lock you in place, but basic logical techniques rarely stop  pro wrestlers from lazy hokem) that makes everyone else seem like  dinosaurs. Miyato was a good performer in the U.W.F. where the standard  of mat wrestling was still more toward New Japan's idea of good enough,  but has looked rather dated so far in UWF-I until this match where  Tamura's insistence on moving hid the holes in Miyato's no control  ground game and really made him an effective performer once again.  Meanwhile, Tamura's defense is improving magnificently, as his style is  increasingly built around turning defense into offense. He's developing  his game based upon the premise that with his speed and technical  mastery, as long as he can play the motion (scramble) game, he'll win  the battle of adjustments. Miyato is one of the quicker guys in the  promotion, but it's immediately apparent that he's having trouble  keeping up with Tamura, who has made the adjustment to Miyato's attack  or counter as soon, if not before, he gets it off. Miyato would like to  slow things down a bit, but he doesn't have the wrestling or BJJ &  Tamura isn't just going to stay put. Whenever Miyato tries to go on the  offensive or change positions, Tamura uses his movement against him  & takes over. For instance, there's a beautiful spot where Miyato  tries to swing into an armbar from side mount, but Tamura uses a  backwards roll to get off the canvas, spinning into a standing position  but immediately dropping back down into an Achilles' tendon hold.  Another great counter saw Miyato slipping out the side of Tamura's  facelock & trying to work the arm, but Tamura pivoted off a  headstand to take Miyato's back. Every time you see a Tamura match, you  see these kind of things that no one else is doing, done so fast,  smooth, & effortlessly that they just seem second nature. Miyato  definitely has the striking advantage when he can keep it in standup,  and finally takes over with a middle kick knockdown followed by a  spinning heel kick knockdown. Miyato has a giant 13-6 advantage on the  scoreboard after a belly-to-belly suplex into a 1/2 crab forces a rope  break, which is something we are already seeing Tamura use less and less  of. This is beginning to look like the great Tamura vs. Anjo match  where the advantage shifts to the wily veteran Anjo the longer the match  goes, and the point system favors the guy who can score on his feet  because it's much easier to get a knockdown than 3 near submissions,  that's just so imbalanced. Tamura isn't slowing down this time though,  and does another crazy counter, now being ready & taking a  guillotine off a Miyato's second attempt at the fireman's carry. The  bout grows increasingly brutal after Miyato just cold cocks Tamura in  the face & tries for the ipponzeoi, but Tamura takes his back &  drops into a rear naked choke. One of the problems with the match is  Miyato doesn't have enough counters of his own to really chain the  escapes & submission attempts together, but finally he does deliver,  peeling the hooks off by attacking the top leg then spinning into a  kneebar only to have Tamura spin to his knees & aggressively slap  Miyato in the face until he releases then add in some stomps for good  measure. The impact & intensity of the striking is really growing by  the second, and while the match may be less believable at times because  of Tamura's flash, the fire & heat these guys are building up is at  least allowing the audience to buy into the fact that they don't like  each other & really want to win. Miyato is laying into Tamura with  some big body kicks down the stretch, but Tamura does his drop down/go  behind to drag Miyato down into another rear naked choke. Miyato attacks  the top leg again, but Tamura releases the choke & uses what's left  of his hooks to roll Miyato to his stomach. Miyato immediately  scrambles back to his feet before Tamura can flatten him out, but Tamura  pulls him down into the choke for the win before Miyato can get close  enough to grab the ropes. This is just Tamura's 11th match, and it's a  big win coming against a 6th year fighter who was 2-0 against him. While  10 minutes seems short for these guys, especially given it's a 3 match  plus a one sided shoot card with nothing else looking like it needs tons  of time, length is not really what you are looking for in a worked  shoot. In fact, being shorter probably made for a better match because  Tamura could just keep exploding the whole time & Miyato didn't seem  to be his usual 1 trick pony, being for once the favorite while also  forced to react to all the crazy stuff the kid was throwing at him. The  usual downfall of a Miyato match is it just drags on the mat, especially  when they start playing footsies, but this was all blazing fury. This  wasn't as epic as Tamura vs. Anjo, but it was better in many respects,  and almost every moment was interesting & exciting. It's been almost  29 years, but I was still constantly rewinding to see what Tamura was  managing to do & how he pulled it off, which is very abnormal for  me. Tamura was clearly a whole lot better than in the Anjo match even  though it's only been a month & a half. Though the "downfall" is  that Yuko isn't as good or well rounded as Anjo, Tamura got a ton out of  him. Tamura's stuff just feels way more modern than anything else we  are seeing, the maestro not only innovating in a breathtaking manner but  raising the level of his opponent so many notches it's hard to even  fathom them having a match with anyone else that remotely approaches  this. ****1/4

Gary Albright vs Yoji Anjo
 Albright is the prototype '80's monster  gaijin that the little Japanese guys are all vying to upset. He screams  chip on his shoulder & bad attitude, one could picture him coming  out to W.A.S.P.'s "Mean Man" instead of the godawful generic written in  10 seconds AC/DC monotony he eventually adopted. The problem is it's the  '90's, and shoot wrestling is supposed to be the real deal, not the  worn out theatrical cartoon. While this match is entertaining, it's  basically an American wrestling match where they use some more  legitimate kickboxing, amateur wrestling, and a touch of sumo. Anjo  tries to stay on the outside & kick, but Albright would just eat  them all as if they were nothing until he pushed Anjo into the ropes  & grabbed him for the big ride. Albright was a good athlete for his  size in these days, and his suplexes were some of the most impressive  ever with a great combination of speed and impact, but this was the  typical short sighted UWF-I booking. Yes, this match does a great job of  getting Albright over in his debut, but the previous 4 shows were spent  trying to break Anjo out of the pack & into the #2 or 3 spot in the  promotion, yet here he literally couldn't muster a single shot that  even phased the mighty man for Pennsylvania by way of Karachi, Pakistan. 

Nobuhiko Takada/Billy Scott vs Kazuo Yamazaki/Tatsuo Nakano: UWF-I  is really running with the idea that the tag match is unique to them.  Basically this was a way to have Takada vs. Yamazaki without Yamazaki  having to do the job. All the heat was on this pairing, and these two  exchanged knockdowns a few times. Early on, Yamazaki struck first  landing a liver kick, but Takada came back countering a takedown attempt  with a palm. Later, Takada got the knockdown with a series of palms  followed by a high kick, but Yamazaki came back with a spinning high  kick to even the score at 12. Takada was again more effective here  because he basically just did kickboxing, and when Yamazaki went to the  mat with him, he knew how to avoid Takada's many weaknesses, though  Takada made sure to get his 1/2 crab in on Nakano. The problem with  doing one excessively long match after two short ones is it's hard to  match the level of urgency. Albright's match may have had its flaws, but  they did do a great job of getting over the idea that Anjo's life was  practically in danger if he couldn't keep the big guy off him, whereas  being 3 times as long, this was obviously a lot more up & down. This  match wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly memorable either. Yamazaki's  portions were good, particularly against Takada. Scott continued to show  potential, but just felt like an afterthought, and Nakano, while not  doing anything wrong per se, was totally forgettable.

 We haven't heard from Dave Meltzer in a while...What has he been having to say about any of this? 8-12-91 "
  Akira Maeda's Rings ran its second show on 8/1 in Osaka's Furitsu Gym  drawing 6,100 (building sells out at 7,000) with Maeda doing a job in  the main event losing to Dirk Leon-Vri via TKO in 8:01. Since Maeda has  such a small amount of potential foes to work with, it appears he  believes he has to do jobs on a regular basis to keep interest alive. A  few days before the match, Maeda sent telegrams to all the major  magazines that he had torn knee ligaments (no doubt a work sent to give a  prior excuse for him doing the job) in training for the match. Willie  Wilhelm (6-6, 300), former European champ in judo beat Peter Smit in the  semifinal. Wilhelm, whose match with Maeda drew 60,000 fans to the  Tokyo Dome in 1989, main events against Maeda on 9/3 in Sapporo.  Nobuhiko Takada's UWFI runs 9/26 in Sapporo while Yoshiaki Fujiwara's  PWF runs 8/23 in Sapporo, so all three UWF-style promotions are running  shows in the same city within a five-week period.

 UWFI drew a sellout 2,000 fans at the Hakata Star Lanes on 7/30 with  Yoji Anjyo & Jim Boss (indie worker from Tennessee) beating Takada  & Kiyoshi Tamura in 31:02 in the main event, plus Kazuo Yamazaki  beat Billy Scott (indie worker from Nashville area) with a facelock  submission and Shigeo Miyato beat Tatsuo Nakano.
 Maeda announced he would be running a show in December at the Ariake  Coliseum in Tokyo Bay which is the same building where he sold out all  12,000 seats the first few hours tickets went on sale in 1989 when he  was the hottest draw in wrestling.

Fujiwara's 7/26 show at NK Hall in the Tokyo Bay Area was said to be  very good, particularly Wayne Shamrock (Vince Tirelli) vs. Duane  Koslowski (only in his second pro match). Koslowski, who lives in  Minnesota and represented the U.S. in Greco-roman at the last Olympic  games, was said to have really learned the style while Shamrock is  generally considered the best at the style of the foreigners."

8-19-91: "Saw  the Akira Maeda vs. Dirk Leon-Vri match from the 8/1 Osaka show and the  televised version was awesome technically. Not the match, but the drama  built in before the match started. The work they did in getting Vri  over as a killer heel puts anything done in the U.S. to shame. Of course  it helps to look the part like Vri, with the Aryan face and sneer and a  body so filled with steroids that it isn't even funny and hand and foot  quickness that is just scary for someone so muscular. He looks like he  should be in one of those martial arts movies as a heel. What's the  achilles heel (no pun intended)? The match itself wasn't good at all. It  was nothing compared to their Tokyo match of a few months back. It was  evident Maeda's knee injury was a shoot because he really didn't do a  thing. Vri looked great for about three minutes, and then he blew up  like nobody's business and it was pretty pathetic the last five minutes  before Maeda was KO'd. But the aura built into both the television and  the live show created dramatic heat on the level of the Hulk  Hogan-Ultimate Warrior match of 1990."

 *In Other News*

Police Officers within Los Angeles County recently agreed to stop  Nanchaku use in response to a lawsuit by six members of the pro-life  group Operation Rescue. The LAPD agreed to cease use of all Nanchaku  weapons at anti-abortion protests, as part of a settlement towards a  lawsuit with the organization. Although possession of Nanchaku by  ordinary citizens is unlawful in the State of California, police  organizations in the state often use this ancient weapon as a  restraint/compliance tool. The settlement only forbids the LAPD from  using these weapons against plaintiffs in the lawsuit, and they are  still free to use them against members of other groups at other  protests. The LAPD first started using Nanchaku in 1989 and have since  received over 30 lawsuits against the city, claiming medical damages,  some purporting to have suffered broken bones and nerve damage.

Akira Maeda was originally supposed to fight Dutch fighter Frank “Freak”  Hamaker at the 8-1-91 event in Osaka, but had to rebook with Dick Virj,  due to Hamaker getting reconstructive surgery on his knee.

It’s been confirmed that Bob Backland has agreed to face off against  Nobuhiko Takada at next months UWFI show on 9-26-91, and possibly in  November as well.

Rings is having to move its next card from 9-4-91 to 9-14-91, as Akira  Maeda’s knee is still in bad shape, and he won’t be able to perform in  time.                


  • Getbig IV
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  • Deshay with the gauge, Vanilla with the nine.
Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2020, 07:16:09 AM »
*Archives of this series can be found at *

Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol.12 "The Way of Kamui"

 When we last saw Akira Maeda, he was belaying his (shoot) knee injury  into a piece of (worked) fiction, as he glorified Caucasian poster boy, and Double Dragon  avatar, Dick Vrij, with what can only be ostensibly referred to as a  “squash match.”  Now with only a little over a month of recovery time,  he must return to perhaps face his greatest challenge yet, a man with a  long and storied Judo pedigree, in Dutch fighter Willie Wilhelm.

The date is 9-14-91 and we are returning to the Sapporo Nakajima Center,  which upon our last visit we were able to be part of the ascension of  Ken “Wayne” Shamrock, as he bested Masakatsu Funaki in an electric  evening. We can only hope for another glimpse of magic that this  location may provide, as when we last witnessed Maeda, and his band of  hired mercenaries, we were left with a very lackluster experience, that  we hope is to never be repeated.

We start off with an interview with Maeda inside the arena, well before  the show’s opening time, as he pensively talks about his match with  Wilhelm,  while footage of competitors warming up is interspersed  throughout, and we are then taken backstage as a surprisingly threadbare  group of performers/hands prepare for the nights proceedings in a  cramped area. Suddenly, we are exposed to the strange juxtaposition of  it all, as Maeda has managed to leverage his name and star power to  create a façade of having an extensive organization, and a grandiose  sport-in-the-making, only to reveal that underneath the surface is a  mere skeleton crew.

Still, despite what appears to be Maeda completely winging this whole  thing as he goes along, is the potential for greatness, and this scribe  is hopeful that we will see some shoot glory before this is all over  with.

The Eyes of Maeda are upon you...

The show opens with the usual pageantry, and I was wholly expecting  nothing eventful to come forth, when I was pleasantly surprised to see  something of great historical import take place. The head of Sediokaikan  karate, Kazuyoshi Ishii, and his top pupil Masaaki Satake, have come to  the ring in order to honor Maeda, both with flowers, and flowery  speeches, in an effort to show the solidarity between the essences of  Rings and karate.

This is actually an oft under-examined connection, that we at Kakutogi  HQ hope to explore further in the days to come, as Rings was very  influential upon Ishii, and in turn K1, and without Maeda’s tutelage,  Sediokaikan, may have never morphed into the kickboxing juggernaut that  it became (even surpassing the popularity of Baseball in Japan at one  point) which would have left a giant hole in the MMA continuum as we  know it today.

We are now tasked with examining the first contest of the evening, a  rematch that absolutely no one was asking for, a WATER BOUT between  Mitsuya Nagai and Herman Renting. Truly things have already started at a  low ebb, as this is the exact same pairing seen a month ago at the Aqua  Heat event, and while I found it to be a moderately entertaining  excursion, it wasn’t exactly something that demanded a revisiting.

This match started off in the vein of an  open-handed-kickboxing-sparring-session kind of vibe, but thankfully it  didn’t stay there long, as we got to see plenty of fine judo from  Renting throughout, including a nice ashi-dori-ouchi-gari  (leg-pick-inside-trip), and there was a nice sequence from Nagai that  saw him charging toward Renting with a flying knee, only to miss, and  then rebound with a kneebar attempt., that forced a rope escape. When  the ref stood them back up afterwards, Nagai executed the very first  somersault kick in the kakutogi spectrum, which resulted in a knockdown,  and was pleasant for all to behold.

The fight did not last much longer though, as the wrath of Renting was  complete, and he turned a headlock takedown, into a neck-crank for the  submission win. I was pleasantly surprised by all of this. While it  wouldn’t be confused for match of the year by anyone, it did feel like  they were starting to find a groove for this style, and by adding some  more variety in the grappling and striking exchanges, it led to the  match having more drama and a better flow, when compared to their first  bout from a month prior.

The Reverse Enziguri Somersault Kick!

Now we have our FIRE BOUT with perennial cheatyface Willie Peeters,  and Dutch wrestling legend Bert Kops Jr. Kops is perhaps best known to  modern MMA fans as one of the mentors to former Bellator middleweight  champion, Gegard Mousasi, but he has been wrestling since the age of 6,  and is active to this day in the MMA and wrestling scene within the  Netherlands.
 The last time we saw Peeters, was when he was acting like a big fat  jerk, at the very first Rings event, in which he “worked” a match in  only the loosest of definitions, as he wouldn’t pull his punches while  engaging his opponent, but saw it in his heart to allow a bit of  cooperation in the grappling sequences (kindly offering Marcel Haarmans  an opportunity to work for a Boston Crab, or two.)
 This could prove to be remarkably interesting given Kops’s wrestling  pedigree, and the unpredictability of Peeters, so I am anticipating this  contest. The fight starts and right away it seems that Peeters is being  a bit more behaved than his last outing, working with his opponent,  although he is still a bit spazzy, and his body shots are probably too  stiff, for a work. Both fighters trade throws, strikes, and submissions,  all the while, Peeters manages to come off like a cartoon character.
 Kops starts throwing some surprisingly decent worked kicks at Peeters,  at an appropriate genteel speed, and then shoots in on Peeters to  execute a backdrop slam. Peeters responds by charging forward and  clocking Kops in the jaw, in a seemingly (shoot) jerk move, as it  appears to be way too stiff. The rest of the fight saw Kops use several  throws, including some beautiful examples of Koshi Guruma (Hip  Wheel, or Headlock Throw in BJJ parlance) and some rather contrived gut  wrench suplexes. Watching Kops try and execute solid fakery, with an  opponent that only seems to want to cooperate when he feels like it, led  to an entertaining match, for all the wrong reasons.
 Next up is the UNIVERSE bout with Dick Vrij and Tom Van Maurik. Maurik  was one of the more interesting components of the last Rings event, with  his unusually stiff body shots that he dished out to Chris Dolman, so  I’m intrigued to see how this plays out with aspiring Bond-Villain Vrij.  What is not interesting, is that this contest has been formatted to be  seven 3min rounds, presumably to keep Vrij from gassing.
 Things are not looking better once the fight begins, as apparently  someone had a talking to Maurik, and his stiffness is nowhere to be  found here. Instead we have some exceptionally soft, and fake looking,  quasi kickboxing. This is an odd move, as much of this audience would  surely be kickboxing savvy, and by presenting a very striking orientated  match that lacks any semblance of stiffness, seems questionable all the  way around. 
 The action picked up a little bit by the middle of round 2, and we saw a  little bit of grappling, as Vrij attempted a pitiful rear naked choke,  which prompted a rope escape from Maurik. Round 2 probably gave us the  only (shoot) action that we are likely to see tonight, when Vrij ruffled  the curly locks of Van Maurik’s hair, as they were both clenched up in  the corner.
 The intensity continued to escalate by round 3, and both competitors  became more lively, but at no point was this ever credible, or even much  more than marginally entertaining for that matter. The Japanese crowd  was rightly indifferent to most of this, and its inclusion is puzzling.  At least the UWFI has the good sense to stick real kickboxing bouts at  the beginning of their cards, and this whole affair makes me wish that  Maeda had done the same, or at least asked his buddy Ishii to loan him a  couple of up and coming Sediokaikan karatekas, to provide us with a  knockdown bout.
 Simply put, this was crap, and is amazing to watch knowing that this  will eventually become the most important MMA promotion in the late 90s.  The match ends with Van Maurik submitting to an ankle lock, and we are  thankfully moving on to the EARTH BOUT.
 As much as I hopeful for the acidic notes of earthen soil, to cleanse my  palette with a crisp and refreshing cascade of citrus flavor, it most  likely that this next fight will be chalky, and will coat our tongues  with a most unpleasant aftertaste. Wilhelm gave us the worst match of  the last Rings undertaking, and I can’t reasonably expect Maeda to pull  something great out of him, but I can hope, can’t I?
 If nothing else, Maeda continues to be incredibly over, as the crowd  simply cannot wait to start chanting his name amidst a sea of strobe  light effects. Wilhelm is donning his judo gi with all the pride that  Holland can muster, while Maeda is sporting a heavily taped knee.
 Sadly, any hopes that this clash would save the evening are quickly  dashed, as Wilhelm once again shows that he has no business trying to  throw fake kicks, as they look really fake, and Maeda isn’t  helping matters with his slow-motion German suplex into an armbar, which  forces a rope escape. Wilhelm gets back up and hits some knees from the  clinch, and a tasty Hari-Goshi throw, and tries to work in an  armbar of his own, which scares the crowd, as their hero is now in  danger. If nothing else, the crowd is into this, so at least that lends a  welcome energy to this affair.
 After his throw, Wilhelm tries to engage Maeda in some ne waza, but  apparently is not versed in proper leg lock etiquette, and Maeda catches  him in a heel-hook that prompts another rope escape. A short time after  they get up, Wilhelm taunts Maeda to kick him in his portly belly, to  which Maeda dutifully obliges, and Maeda is taken down by a  Fujiwara/Straight armbar, for his trouble.  Maeda then picks up the  aggression and fires off several kicks to Wilhelm, but his leg is  captured, and he is put in the most fearsome submission from the  Northeastern seaboard, the Boston crab.
 All of Sopporo must have breathed a sigh of relief, as Maeda fought hard  to get to the ropes and escape his impending doom, but no such mercies  will be extended to us, the viewers of this tripe. The rest of the match  shows Maeda repeatedly kicking Wilhelm for his insolence, and dragging  him into the center of the ring to execute a heel hook, that took about  as much time as it would to read through the Wall Street Journal.
 Ok, it greatly saddens this scribe to say this, but this was mostly  atrocious The first match showed us a glimpse of moving in the right  direction, as at least Nagai and Renting were able to work out more of a  drama, and flow to their fakery, even if it felt more manufactured than  something coming out of the PWFG, but there really isn’t anything else  here that would suggest surviving another year, let alone becoming the  prestigious promotion that it did. Also, outside of a couple of nice  throws, Wilhelm looks atrocious, and it’s amazing that some are just not  cut out for working matches. Dolman, despite moving like dried paint,  was a strong judoka, but he always carried himself credibly and gave off  the impression that he was the real deal.
 Still, if nothing else, Maeda has the right idea, by giving it a  grandiose format, and an international flavor, hopefully it’s just a  matter of time, before the talent meets the vision.          

Here is the event in full:


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2020, 07:17:14 AM »
Vol.11 Continued

    What are Mike Lorefice's thoughts? Let's see:

Mitsuta Nagai vs Herman Renting: "While our  second helping of Nagai vs. Renting isn't exactly producing the ecstasy  of dining on honey dew and drinking the milk of paradise, it's a much  more sufficient banquet than their initial brew.

In fact, outside of Kiyoshi Tamura, these two are battling each other  for the biggest improvement from one match to another we've seen so far,  with the edge going to Renting. They really figured out how to blend  their styles, and now had a clear course of action with Renting either  being proactive & initiating the clinch or urging Nagai to kick so  he could get the take down by grabbing him. Renting did a lot once he  got the fight to the ground, showing a variety of submission attempts,  but Nagai's ground game was solid as well, and he was able to both apply  submission pressure from the bottom and get back to his feet.

The urgency was high here, and they did a nice job of keeping the match  moving by continuing to find different transitions & counters to the  same basic sequence where Renting would get a takedown off a Greco body  lock. Renting's striking was solid as well, but he wasn't going to duke  it out with a stronger striker when he could put him on his back &  get the first crack at finishing him.

They kicked it into high gear after Renting got a down with a soccer  kick, with Nagai charging the length of the ring at Renting, which was  such a theatrical departure from the otherwise fairly UWF credible  action even though he missed the flying knee that had preceeded that it  kind of worked in showing he was fired up & didn't care about the  risk.

Nagai then managed to do an even more spectacular version of the leg  catch enzuigiri spot where he instead flipped forward for a knockdown.

Renting's takedown game eventually ruled the day though when he changed  things up, rolling Nagai down in an arm in guillotine then releasing  & reapplying the guillotine from side mount for the win, which the  billed as a "reverse full nelson hold". ***"

 Willie Peeters vs Bert Kops Jr:
 In the spirit of Keith Jardine's great nickname "The Dean of Mean", I  propose Willie as "The Peet of Cheat". There was a classic Peeters  moment when he didn't go with Kops head & arm throw, and soccer ball  kicked Kops rather than letting him back up.

That being said, he's one of my favorite fighters on these early RINGS  because he's such an unpredictable wildman. Willie landed several of his  signature hard closed fist punches to the body today, but Kops seemed  to be on the same wavelength, or at least know what to expect from  Peeters, and was actually responsible for escalating, if not starting,  the violence right at the outset.

Kops was very active & aggressive, enjoying displaying his power  with a variety of rotational deadlift throws. There was a nice spot  where he hit a rather low impact suisha otoshi only to have Peeters pop  up & drop him with a running uppercut. This wasn't the most  realistic match, but Kops showed a ton of potential as suplex machines  who were credible strikes were in short supply in these days. He was  probably more suited to UWF-I, but he seemed too good an athlete not to  have made an impact somewhere.

One of the great things about this match is Kops doesn't take Peeters  crap. He comes right back dropping Peeters with a knee, and then when  he's supposed to be disengaging, he gives the downed Peeters a little  kick. Kops isn't trying to hurt Peeters, but keeping him in check by  letting him know that he could, and would consider it.

These two seem to be vying for who can be the bigger subtle heel at this  point, as Peeters responds by threatening to cheap shot Kops on the  rope break. Unfortunately, Kops seemingly tore his left knee midway  through the match, and though he tried to proceed as normal, eventually  the kneecap seemed to be moving around on him, and it appeared that  they'd have to stop the match. Kops wasn't trying to quit though, he  just had them spray it numb so he could finish as planned.

The injury probably knocked 1/2* off the match, as it continued beyond  the point where Kops was particularly productive, with Peeters  eventually KO'ing him with a knee. Still, this is the best RINGS match  we've seen thusfar. ***1/4

 Dick Vrij vs Tom Van Maurik:
 One would expect the universe to have more to offer than this. I'd say  these two were hitting like Miss Universe, but that would surely be  sexist.

These two could definitely have beaten Frank Trigg to the monicker  "Twinkle Toes" if they wanted to own up to these shenanigans. There was a  particularly funny sequence where Van Maurik scored the first knockdown  overwhelming Vrij with a series of close range shots that barely  connected, so Vrij threw his mouthpiece out, which I suppose made sense  given his teeth were in no danger if that was as hard as Van Maurik was  willing to hit.

The match was nonetheless fairly even, but then Vrij got 3 knockdowns in  the 4th. Vrij tried to finish with a clinch knee, but they did this  really silly, contrived spot where Van Maurik urgently drove forward for  the takedown to avoid, and they spilled to the floor with Vrij getting  the better of it, so he was able to do something of a diving knee off  the apron.

Vrij finally caught Van Maurik with a nice right head kick, probably  accidentally because Van Maurik's head was lower than he expected going  down fast from a weak left high kick.

Surprisingly in this kickboxing match, the finish was Vrij catching a  middle kick & dropping into an Achilles' tendon hold. Van Maurik was  going to grab the ropes despite having no downs left, but couldn't make  it that last inch & was forced to tap. Definitely one of the worst  matches we've seen so far.


Akira Maeda vs Willie Wilhelm

We're seeing the same thing in all 3 promotions, the guys running them are old school pro wrestlers, and the more real martial artists they bring in, the sillier & more dated their tricks that never worked when the opponent wasn't helping out look.

In the current setting, it's doubtful that a healthy Maeda is going to carry anyone to a good match, and this was far from a healthy Maeda. However, the match quality here isn't the relevant factor to Maeda. Maeda's 11/29/89 match against Wilhelm drew 60,000 at the Tokyo Dome, so it's obvious why he wanted to have a rematch with the '84 Judo Olympian.

While that was a less out of shape version of Wilhelm, who also wisely wore his gi, this again is Maeda doing Inoki's fork over the cash to get all the real martial artists who would destroy him to instead take the knee, so in his mind it's guaranteed to achieve his only two goals of raising his credibility and fortunes.

Apart from the 30 seconds where Wilhelm was releasing obnoxious screams & urging Maeda to hit him in the belly welly this wasn't bad, but it was never compelling either. Maeda couldn't do much, and while Wilhelm actually did pretty well, especially for a guy who doesn't really know how to have a match, it kind of felt like an exhibition where he was just demonstrating some things he can do.

As a performance, it was barely passable, but the fact that it totally felt like a performance, and it wasn't an entertaining one at that, made it a failure. Maeda's big slow comeback with the low kicks leading to the high kick knockdown was surely the most contrived aspect of the show.

Really nothing he did had enough zest to be even somewhat believable, but a lot of the problem was that even with the show being pushed back to give him more time to recover, his body was just barely able to cooperate

 I'm going to disagree with Mbetz1981 here. I  think this was a major positive step forward for the promotion. Yes,  there are some really bad signs, savior Maeda is broken, and Vrij isn't  capable of being the top foreigner because he badly needs someone to lay  out the match & carry him, and Willy Wilhelm simply needs to go,  but the undercard is rounding into shape. Nagai is already a reasonable  worker two matches in, Peeters keeps having good matches with his odd  blend of dickishness & flash, Renting is getting it, Kops has a ton  of potential (if he's not broken), and Ishii has arrived to loan his  stable of karate guys, which will give RINGS access to Japanese fighters  who actually have a legitimate pedigree & some notoriety that comes  with that.

*In Other News*


The UWFI recently ran out of money, as the expenses of running monthly shows exceeding what they have been able to take in, so in a desperate effort, Nobuhiko Takada contacted former UWF owner Shinji Jin, and was able to use him as a middleman to work out some financing from the current owner of the SWS and PWFG promotions, Hachiro Tanaka. Tanaka is one of the main executives of Megane Super, an eyeglass company in Japan. This is remarkable as Takada had previously avowed to never deal with Jin again, as his antics led to a scandal that took down the UWF to begin with. This will also put Takada in a somewhat precarious position as Tanaka will now have ownership in three different major wrestling promotions in Japan.

Recently disgraced sumo wrestler and pro wrestler Koji Kitao is also looking to get financial backing from Hachiro Tanaka and is trying to start up a wrestling promotion in the vein of the UWF, with himself as the star.

Action film superstar Chuck Norris recently invited controversial martial arts personality George Dillman to his home in an effort to learn more about Dillman’s reported system of being able to knock out people via lightly tapping various pressure points. Norris holds black belts in Tang Soo Do, Judo, and Shito-Ryu Karate, and is always looking to further his marital education. Norris was reportedly still skeptical of the veracity of Dillman’s claims after the demonstration but is willing to have him make a return visit, in order to learn more.

 Masakatsu Funaki wrestled the 3rd of his 4 matches in SWS this year on 4/23/91 against Fumihiro Niikura.

While the match was again technically good, it was nowhere near the  level of his previous two SWS matches against Naoki Sano, as it was  never even remotely competitive to the point I've already forgotten if  Niikura was allowed a singular piece of offense.

Nonetheless, Funaki is the best of the Japanese fighters at constantly  adjusting his position on the ground to maintain control. Though he  doesn't have a strong background in either wrestling or BJJ, his  movements are seemingly naturally a lot better than the other fighters,  even if they still fail sometimes due to the faulty pro wrestling notion  that there's a place in real fighting for no body control appendage  locks.

 This movement is crucial to the success of his style because more than  the other shoot fighters, his concept of realism is based around an  economy of high spots. Funaki is one of the better strikers, but he  really tries not to utilize much of it, instead preferring to set up  submissions on the mat, and use a few powerful shots for knockdowns  either to maintain interest or to lead to the finish.

Funaki was much more respectful of Niikura than Fujiwara was on 4/1/91,  but it seems that Canada is the only place where it's good to be part of  the Viet Cong, as Niikura was again nothing more than a jobber.


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2020, 06:00:44 PM »
*Archives of this series can be found at *

Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol.13 "The Road Less Traveled"

 Welcome back to the road ever unfolding. We at Kakutogi HQ apologize for  the delay, as due to some unforeseen circumstances, this scribe was  forced to throw this noble undertaking into a temporary state of  abeyance, but has since picked himself up, shook the dust off, and is  continuing to gaze upon the shrouded past, in a hope to collectively  succor our future.

We now find ourselves back at the Nakijima Sports Arena, the date is  9-26-91, and we are about to witness the UWFI attempt to bottle lighting  twice, as Bob Backlund makes his return into the Shoot-Style arena.  Backlund first faced off against Takada at the 12-22-88 Newborn UWF  Heartbeat event, and while the action may seem antiquated in the lens of  modern jaded eyes, there is no denying the absolutely electric  atmosphere of that evening, as Japan was witnessing their hero face off  against a flagbearer for American Wrestling (regardless if that  perception was valid or not) and the tension permeating  Osaka that  night was palpable.

Before we draw upon the well of past glories, we are to first drink from  the refreshing streams of known sources, as our favorite footfighting  phenom, Makato Ohe, as he is set to face off against New Mexico  newcomer, Rafael Aguilar. Little is known about Aguilar other than he is  NOT the same Rafael Aguilar that was a well-known drug cartel  leader, who met his demise in 1993, after being shot to death in Cancun,  Mexico.

It’s always a treat to see Ohe in action, but hopefully Aguilar brings  some more game to these proceedings than the last couple of competitors  did, who were woefully out of their league against our favorite  Shootboxing Alum.

The fight starts and Aguilar’s footwork seems in place, but Ohe wastes  no time in pressing the action. Aguilar weakly checks a thunderous leg  kick, and responds with a sidekick, to which, Ohe simply grabs his leg  and blasts him with a left right down the pipe. Aguilar continues to  press forward, but is tied up in a long clinch with Ohe, who  methodically takes his time and throws some powerful knees here and  there, compared to a voluminous amount of weak shots to the midsection  that Aguilar put forth.

After a break Aguilar manages to hit Ohe with a nice uppercut, but is  caught right back into a tight clinch, and this does not seem to be a  comfortable place for him to work. Unlike what we would later see in K1  (in which the clinch was usually broken up after a few seconds) the UWFI  ref seems content to allow plenty of time for the fighters to work  here, before calling for a restart.

Round 2 was fairly uneventful as Aguilar was able to fire off some  decent punches when he was able to create some distance but was  completely neutered whenever the fight got into a Muay Thai range. Ohe  was able to land hard knees throughout the round but hasn’t seemed to  put Aguilar in any real danger.

Both fighters turned up the volume for round 3, and while Aguilar took a  beating with plenty of nasty knees, and some hard punches, he was able  to land several stiff uppercuts, which seems to be his number one  weapon, and one that Ohe isn’t too keen on dealing with. As lopsided as  the scoring of this bout is right now in favor of Ohe, there is a chance  for Aguilar if he can keep sneaking those uppercuts in.

Round 4 saw Aguilar take it up a notch, and while he still had no good  answers for the clinch, he was able to work his boxing a lot more in  this round, and is starting to look competitive here, although he is so  far behind in points there is no way he is going to win a decision.

You could tell that Aguilar really wanted to go for broke in round 5,  but Ohe was having none of it, and grabbed a clinch whenever he could,  and wasn’t about to take any chances. Aguilar did his best to fire off a  shot whenever he could get a ref break, but it wasn’t enough, and it  went to decision.

I enjoyed this fight, and I think that whatever shortcomings Aguilar  had, were more to do with where American kickboxing was at the time,  than a lack of raw potential on the part of Aguilar. Aguilar seemed to  be a fine practitioner in whatever style he was familiar with but having  to take a crash course in Muay Thai against such a seasoned veteran in  Ohe, would be a tough job for anyone. If the UWFI continues to feed  Americans to Ohe, then we might get to see an upset yet, as straight  boxing seems to be the biggest weakness in Ohe’s game and could  potentially be his downfall.

Ohe about to punish Aguilar’s sidekick…

Tatsuyo Nakano vs Kiyoshi Tamura: When we last saw Tamura in a singles  bout against Yoji Anjo he put an absolute clinic on display for us all,  and showed us both the hidden beauty of the shoot-aesthetic and also how  far ahead of his contemporaries he was at displaying it. Anjo is a  pliable force and can be molded to serve whatever purpose the moment  needs, but I do not have as high hopes for Nakano. One thing is for  certain however, and that is Nakano has had about 13 trips to his local  Viking Buffet since he last stepped foot into a ring.

Nakano after a delightful trip to the local Sukiyaki Buffet

After refusing to shake Nakano’s hand the match is underway, and Tamura  wastes no time in trying to get a single leg from a clinch, which Nakano  successfully stuffs, and tries to counter with a guillotine of his own.  Tamura quickly turns the corner and is able to both edge out of the  choke, and take Tatsuyo down at the same time, but Tatsuyo is able to  quickly get back to his feet. It’s already incredible to see the  fluidity and velocity of Tamura’s movements, and we aren’t even a min  into this fight yet. Both men are able to utilize excellent circular  movement, with Tamura having a clear speed advantage, but Nakano is  simply too strong to be pinned or threated with Tamura’s submission or  positional offense for too long.

Nakano is able to shrug off a sloppy armbar attempt, and secure a rear  chinlock, which forces Tamura to take his first rope escape. The match  then continues in a stalemate fashion until Tamura shot in for a  lighting quick single leg, only to get countered by a stiff knee to the  chest/midsection of Tamura, in what was a cool sequence that cost Tamura  more points via a knockdown.

With nothing left to lose, Tamura finally unleashes the palm strikes,  but Tatsuyo counters with some sluggish knees, and long before this  became all the rage within the BJJ instructional scene, Tamura counters a  single leg effort from Nakano with a kimura/wristlock entry. This would  have been absolutely breathtaking, but unfortunately it wound up being a  gaping hole in the credibility of the match as Tamura was a little slow  in applying it, thus giving Tamura plenty of time to fiddle with the  arm as he just let it hang out. Still. It’s amazing to see how much of  what we would think as new grappling tech can be found in the layers of  early shoot-style wrestling. The match continues it’s back and forth  flow with Nakano having the upper hand in most of it, until Tamura  catches a thigh kick and turns it into some kind of STF/Ankle Lock  submission victory.

Conclusion: A bit of a disappointment considering the blockbuster that  he had with Miyato when we last witnessed him, and possibly Tamura’s  weakest singles match so far, due to the rushed nature, and throwing all  the striking towards the end, but this shouldn’t be taken as too strong  of a criticism, as it’s still a Tamura match, and is thus worthy of our attention.

The perfect counter to the single-leg

Next up is newcome Gary Albright and veteran Yuko Miyato. During our  prior encounter with Albright we saw him terrorizing everyones favorite  zebra-clad warrior in Yoji Anjo, but if Anjo was the zebra, then surely  Miyato is but a lovely gazelle, frolicking in the pasture, unaware of  the impending doom to come.

Albright comes out to quite possibly the worst entrance music that a man  of his size could hope to, entering the ring to an instrumental that  would be well served as the theme music to a NES RPG, if that RPG  happened to have a sequence where the hero was expected to buy  margaritas at a beach resort after a hard day of adventuring.

The match begins, and taking one look at these two, it would be easy to  just expect Albright to toss Miyato into the rafters, and be done with  it, but surprisingly they start things off with a bit of kickboxing,  feeling each other out. The footfighting doesn’t last too long before  Albright ragdolls Miyato with a huge suplex, causing a knockdown.

Miyato, then wisely continues to fight from the outside, landing some  kicks to Albright’s thighs and midsection, but it doesn’t take long for  the Yeti to close the distance and slam his prey with reckless abandon.  This ends the fight, and puts the gazelle out of his misery, and this  could have just as easily been featured on National Geographic.

 Next up, Satoru Sayama’s favorite padawan, Kazuo Yamazaki, must face  fashion ace Yoji Anjo, in a bout that I must admit excites me with  anticipation. Things start with Anjo offering his hand in the spirit of  camaraderie, but is met with empty disgust on the part of Yamazaki, but  has his revenge moments later, as they immediately begin trading kicks,  and Anjo gets the better of Yamazaki, by grabbing his leg and kicking  out the other leg, causing his opponent to fall.

So far, a few mins into this match, and it is incredible in terms of the  energy and atmosphere that these two are able to generate. Yamazaki  plays it off, like a thuggish veteran that refuses to give any respect  to the upstart in Anjo, but Anjo keeps delivering in fire and intensity,  which is really resonating with the Japanese crowd. There is a great  sequence in which Yamazaki is working over a leg, trying to take a basic  ankle lock, and turn it into a more sinister heel-hook, which causes  Anjo to panic and fly towards the ropes like his life depended on it.

Yamazaki wasn’t able to relish this for too long, as not long  afterwards, Anjo nailed him with a beautiful high kick to the ribs of  Yamazaki, immediately prompting a knockdown. It continues to go back and  forth, but Yamazaki can’t seem to catch a break as whenever he is able  to land a submission on Anjo, he is forced to pay a hefty price by being  lit up like a Christmas tree in the standup portions. Yamazaki is able  to somewhat abruptly win the match with what I can only describe as an  emergency single-leg Boston Crab, that he had to pull out of nowhere,  after taking a volley of palm strikes from Anjo.

Excellent. Despite having to end the match with the worst thing to come  from Boston since tariffs, this was totally awesome, and easily the best  match that Yamazaki has had so far in the UWFI.

Next up is Bob Backland vs Nobuhiko Takada, and while I don’t have high  hopes for this being good, in any nominal sense of the word, I am quite  intrigued, and wondering if this is in fact, some shrewd booking. When I  last saw Backland in the Shoot-Sphere, he had two matches in the  Newborn UWF, with Takada and Funaki respectfully, and while he gave me  the impression that he would have been good in this style, had he came  up in it, and was more familiar with it, he still had too many goofy  mannerisms that needed to be shed from his American style. Still, he  absolutely electrified the atmosphere when he fought Takada the last  time, so that may be all that is needed here tonight.

We are now greeted to an interview with Backland, in which he tells us  that he can’t guarantee a win, but that he does promise to give it his  absolute best, and that he loves the Japanese fans. This came across as  surprisingly heartfelt and grounded, and after Takadas interview  segment, we are underway.  Unfortunately, when the time came to start  this match, Backland seriousness is nowhere to be found, and he is back  to his old WWF tricks, of constantly making overexaggerated facial  expressions for anything that happens, which somewhat robs him of the  credibility that he does bring to the table.

The Face of America….

The match starts with both men feeling each other out, and trading  strikes. Backland takes a stiff leg to the thigh, and responds by  backing Takada up in the corner, and firing off some stiff forearm  strikes, which leads to Takada backing off to the center of the ring,  and getting suplexed. The match restarts and Backland tries to land some  very weak knees to Takada, and Takada responds with his own knee to the  midsection, which starts a ten-count, that Backland doesn’t recover  from, and the match is over at 1:15.

Ok, I’m flummoxed by this. This was terrible, and I’m not sure what  purpose this served. Takada is already over, so there isn’t any need to  try and have a squash match, and Backland didn’t come off credibly at  all. I have no doubt that had he put some effort to really study and  train in this style, that he could pull off a good match, but his  cornball antics (which compared to his contemporaries like the Ultimate  Warrior and Paul Bearer look totally straight) only serve for him to  look like completely out of place. What’s worse is that this entire show  only clocks in at a little under 1 ½ hours, so there isn’t any purpose  for rushing through some of these matches.

Final Thoughts. If we can overlook the terrible ending, this was  entertaining and enjoyable. Yamazaki shined, Ohe delivered once again,  and Tamura could wrestle the Taiku Center’s janitor and still get a good  match, so that outweighs the botched opportunity that was the main  event.

Here is the event in full:

And here is a video of the original confrontation between Takada and Backland:



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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2020, 06:01:49 PM »
Vol. 13 Continued

Let's check in with "Mighty" Mike Lorefice, and see what he has to say about all of this.

Makato Ohe vs Rafael Aguilar:
 Aguilar was an 80's style American  kickboxer going against a Muay Thai fighter who was out to exploit the  rules differences at every turn. Aguilar could land one shot from the  outside, but then Ohe would take the Thai clinch & work him over on  the inside where Aguilar wasn't used to having to fight. Aguilar  adjusted in the 2nd half, working body punches on the inside. Ohe hurt  Aguilar in the 3rd, dodging a right & countering with a clean left,  but otherwise this was mostly a grind.

Kiyoshi Tamura vs Tatsuyo Nakano:
 Nakano is probably the second worst of the  UWF-I natives on the mat, leading only Takada, and his lack of speed  & flexibility is part of it, but mostly it's that he works really  slowly on the mat & relies upon a lot of fake pro wrestling  positions & holds that should be getting removed from his arsenal by  now. I love that when Nakano went into that should be side mount, but  instead I just lie across you sideways not bothering to actually control  the trunk or lower body, Tamura immediately just squirms free to avoid  humiliation. I wish there was more of this, as Tamura lets Nakano get  away with a lot of lazy positioning, and Nakano really doesn't seem to  want to do anything. This never really feels like a Tamura match, it  seems like Tamura is waiting for Nakano to make a move when he has the  advantage, but Nakano just lays there, so Tamura never has the  opportunity to use his fast reaction oriented style to make something  cool happen. Even though Tamura slows & tones things down  considerably for Nakano, when something does happen, Nakano's  cooperation is definitely more obvious than the others. As the bout  progresses, Tamura seems to get frustrated with the lack of activity,  and decides to force Nakano to counter by giving him gaping holes that  he simply can't ignore. Nakano is, not surprisingly, more into the  standup, and there's a great spot Tamura tries for a single, but Nakano  drops him countering with a knee. There's not really a lot of striking  though, apart from a flurry at the end where Nakano no sells a suisha  otoshi & winds up dropping Tamura with a high kick while Tamura is  still getting back up. It's clear that Tamura was actually supposed to  catch the kick & counter into the ankle lock for the win, and after  some indecision, Nakano throws kicks until Tamura catches one &  forces him to tap. This was by far the worst Tamura singles match so  far, I'd go so far as to suggest that Nakano is pissed that he has to  put over the young stud, and just sabotaged the match in protest. In any  case, it at least clarifies that Miyato can go when he wants to,  especially if there's someone to carry him, and Nakano is the one who is  holding their matches back & keeping them in a holding pattern.

Gary Albright vs Yuko Miyato:
 Welcome to UWF-I Superstars of Wrestling.  This wasn't even a match, just a bodyslam in between two suplexes. Todd  Pettengill might claim it was the greatest match of all time though,  until the next match...

Kazuo Yamazaki vs Yoji Anjo:
 Both an attempt at a more realistic bout in  between two cartoon jobber matches & a story match. Though Yamazaki  is normally one of the better strikers, here Anjo shows his superiority  early, and Yamazaki shifts to being strategic, gambling that the risks  Anjo is taking with his big strikes will eventually outweigh the  rewards. Despite Anjo throwing some bombs, this isn't a particularly  flashy match, as it's more about Yamazaki's patience & craftiness  trying to see his strategy through. It's not nearly as reductive as I  may be making it sound, with Anjo still being able to do things on the  ground & Yamazaki still scoring in standup, but the general thrust  is Anjo wants to make something happen & is thus willing to take  chances, while Yamazaki wants to grab him, and ultimately that usually  means taking a few shots. Even then, it doesn't always work, for  instance Anjo pulls ahead when Yamazaki catches a middle kick, but goes  down on delay before he can capitalize. They work with this idea of  whether Yamazaki can seize the opportunity to take the offensive once he  sacrifices himself to get the catch, but the match ends rather abruptly  just when it's finally beginning to take off. Considering it's  sandwiched in between two matches whose combined time is less than 4  minutes, you'd think they could have given these guys 15 minutes to work  with. Had the kickboxing shoot not gone the distance, this show  wouldn't even have lasted an hour. ***

Nobuhiko Takada vs Bob Backlund:
 I don't get this at all. I mean, granted  this isn't the sort of match you want to go long, but Backlund certainly  doesn't look any better by losing immediately to some random fake  injury, he looks like an old broken guy who couldn't hold up at all  & should have just stayed retired. Now, I can't see there isn't a  part of me who doesn't enjoy seeing one of the longest reigning kings of  comedy wrestling simply made a fool of, but from a business  perspective, this booking not only makes the rematch less viable in my  opinion, but takes away most of the desired sting from Takada's shocking  quick win. Albright winning quickly, sure, he just ran through the poor  bantamweight, but this loss is more Backlund not being up to snuff than  Takada being too amazing, as the one thing Takada did, whatever it  exactly even was, certainly wasn't impressive looking if we see beyond  the official story. As far as the match itself went, Backlund  overexaggerated everything, still acting like it was WWF theater. He  sort of landed a lame elbow & some super fake knees on the inside,  one missing by a country mile, before taking this kick that took him  out. The injury was really unclear as well because Backlund's selling  was terrible to the point I was hoping for a fake explanation of what  supposedly happened to him (the camera angle wasn't good to begin with).  At first, I thought he was trying to convince Tirantes to come out  & DQ Takada for a low blow, then I thought he might have a broken  hand. It would have worked better if his body shut down from a liver  kick, but the kick was too central for that. The whole thing was just a  disgrace.

This show was okay, but we're starting to see the many flaws in Miyato's  bad booking, mainly that Takada & Albright just destroy everybody,  leaving the rest of the promotion to via for the scraps, which basically  consist of having good undercard matches to work their way up to  putting these guys over in the main event.


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2020, 06:05:47 PM »
Vol 13. Continued

*Kakutogi Supplemental*

We at Kakutogi headquarters were recently able to dig deep inside the  catacombs underneath our offices, and unearth a buried treasure, a  long-forgotten relic, languishing away under shadows and dust. It is a  glorious artifact that brings me great honor to talk about today, in  what is probably the very earliest piece of taped Shooto history (and an  incredible document in the scope of MMA history). It was a tape that  Satoru Sayama put forth in 1988, and it’s simply called “Satoru Sayama:  The Shooting” and was presumably released in an effort to share with the  world what his new sport would be, and to attract attention to his  Super Tiger Gym.

Super Tiger Gym, had already been involved in what would be considered  MMA training by at least 1985 when they had famous Japanese kickboxer  Toshio Fujiwara (who had instructed at the Mejiro Kickboxing Academy in  the Netherlands) as the resident Muay Thai coach, in addition to all the  Catch-Wrestling, and submission training that Sayama was providing his  students, and as we will later see in later early 90s Shooto events,  this cross training paid off, as your average Shooto guy was probably  10-15 years ahead of the curve, skill wise, then his American  counterpart, in the early-mid 90s.

Like encountering hieroglyphics for the first time, that is what we must  imagine the UWF landscape of the late 84 season to have been like. As people  like Sayama, Akira Maeda, and Yoshiaki Fujiwara, were learning that  there was more to this strange language of combat sports, than what they  could have possibly perceived when they first started breaking into  Professional Wrestling. One has to wonder what it had to be like, to  have so many concepts, and ideas ready to burst forth, but no canvas or  medium in which to express them.

Surely that is where Sayama must have been at in late 85, after his  falling out with Maeda, and departure from the original UWF promotion.  His desire, and quest, to capture the true essence of real fighting (or  “Shooting” in Pro Wrestling parlance), with a sport that fully utilized  all aspects of the fight realm. This concept is perhaps best summed up  with an early promotional tagline that Shooto used, “Punch, Kick, Throw, Submission.” Simple, but like chess, underneath the simplicity of the  premise, is a vast and unsearchable galaxy of possibilities and  variations, therein.

Sayama was determined to see his vision through, even if his vision  hadn’t completely coalesced by this point, and like any trailblazer he  simply took a leap into the unknown and started promoting what he had.

And here we are… Things start off with Sayama demonstrating some neat  moves, like flying armbars, and rolling kneebars (all the more crazy  considering this is 1988) before we are taken to the lush Japanese  countryside where Sayama is refreshing his mind, and nurturing his  spirit underneath a serene waterfall.  He then takes his students for a  brisk jog, before conducting sprint drills, and we could only wish that  American Pro Wrestling schools were half has cool as this.

After this pleasant warm up, we are taken to a monastery that wouldn’t  have been out of place in a 70s era Shaw Brothers Film, where they begin  to do what any reasonable group of aspiring warriors would… they  proceed to frog jump up a giant stone staircase, but only Sayama is  hardcore enough to forgo shoes.

Your MMA class isn’t half as cool

 After mastering the stairs, the students are then taken to a different  part of the monastery and given various kickboxing pad drills, with  personal correction and instruction from Sayama. An interesting  observation Is that all the way back in 1988, MMA style gloves are being  used here, although the padding covers more of the fingers than a  modern pair would.

After this, we go inside one of the buildings to cover takedowns,  throws, and submission entries. This is absolutely fascinating as this  entire approach is very comprehensive, and light years ahead of its  time. The only missing ingredient from a more modern approach is the  positional sensibilities that BJJ brought to the fore. There is no real  concern about finding and keeping positional dominance, but rather the  mentality seems to always seek the submission, and what to do if your  caught in a compromising situation.    

From the Monastery to the Big City   

 After going  over several submission entries we are brought to the infamous Korakuen  Hall, where Sayama brings out his students, and this scribe is able to  see future Shooto star and grappling wizard Noburu Asahi within the  group. Sayama then talks to the crowd about his new sport and goes over  the rules and judging. My understanding of Japanese is woefully meager,  but from what I can glean, it would seem that all Shooto fights will be  judges with standard amateur wrestling takedowns being given a much  lower score than successful judo throws, and near submissions being  given a high score as well. Just like modern MMA a fight is won either  by submission or ko, though there is a standing 10 count in place for  knockdowns. It’s scare how in the 80s Sayama came up with a better idea  than this our current 10 point must system.

Sayama then talks about the rules, and it would seem that most strikes  are legal while standing, sans elbows, and that you are allowed to  punch, kick, knee, etc, a grounded opponent below the face, if they are  on the ground, but soccer kicks to the face are not legal. Punches to  the face of a grounded opponent do not appear to be legal either. Later  on we will see a fighter kick another fighter in the face while they  were both on the ground, so I’m not sure if that’s a loophole, or if it  just wasn’t noticed.

Sport of the future….

Even in our  current ultra-polarized world, there are a few things that we can all  come into agreement on, and that is that the 80s gave us perhaps the  finest subgenre of film in the Post-Apocalyptic genre (of which I am  partial to 2020 Texas Gladiators, and Sayama realized this, so to  honor this, he forced his amateur fighters to wear headgear that  celebrated this, which is only meet and right. Yes, one glace at these  amazing contraptions, and we see that we are indeed headed to new, and  unforeseen vistas in the world of Martial Arts.

The tournament goes off without a hitch, and I am amazed at the pure  essence of it all. No point fighting, no gaming the rules, lay and pray,  wall and stall, etc. Every fighter is constantly pushing forward with  kickboxing, throws, takedowns, and diving for submissions. Not that it  would be against the rules to try and work a closed guard, or stall with  a takedown, but that doesn’t even seem to be a concept with these  fighters, and this is also encouraged with rules that reward  submissions, and action. There was guard work on display here, but  anytime someone was using their guard it was in an aggressive fashion,  going for submission attempts.

All the fights here are fast paced, and entertaining, even though it’s  hard to distinguish who’s who, with the elite headgear, and we are all  able to witness that Sayama has something very special on his hands  here.

Sadly, like most innovators throughout history, Sayama didn’t get much  credit for his trailblazing, and like people such as Tesla, Antonio  Meucci, and  Alfred Russel Wallace, the little credit that they do get  is only after their inventions become part of the common lexicon of the  populace. To add insult to injury, just aproximentaly 8 years after this  demonstration Sayama would have a falling out with the Shooto board of  directors, and he wound up leaving his creation.

Perhaps, much like Icuras, he flew too high to the Sun, playing with  forces he did not understand. Using pro-wrestling jargon like “Shooting”  when trying to promote a new sport, probably didn’t help matters  either, as it served to both confuse anyone not familiar with the term,  and the few people in America that knew who he was from his Tiger Mask  days, probably didn’t know what to make of actual MMA, or a video  catolog that had “Sayama’s Shooting Vol 12.”

Still, no one probably came first to having the pure essence of Modern  MMA, more than Sayama. While a case can certainly be made for the  Brazilian Vale Tudo Challenge matches throughout the years that preceded  this, that was never really the same, both in intent, nor in execution.  Usually such things were just an excuse for a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner to  show the superiority of his style against an inferior opponent that had  little chance of succeeding. Even the early UFC events were set up to  be infomercials for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and were never intended to be a  test that they knew they wouldn’t be able to pass.

Also, what constituted for pre-UFC MMA was usually people in two  distinct styles, with very little overlap, or cross training. Here we  see the first fighting system/sport that is truly geared on being as  complete as possible, covering in depth all the aspects of fighting  (within what Sayama understood at the time). You had an emphasis on  conditioning, good striking, submissions, throws, takedowns, etc, with  the only real missing component being the BJJ positional hierarchy that  came to Japan later on. You also had the first MMA teams in Shooto as  different dojos would train up their best prospects and send them to  prove themselves and announce their name/affiliation right before the  start of the fight. Similar things were not really seen in American MMA  until Ken Shamrock’s Lions Den.

Semantical arguments aside, there is no question that Sayama is a  pioneer that we here at Kakutogi HQ, wish to thank, and shed some light  on, for introducing such a great sport to us all.

Here it is: Very rarely seen until now:


  • Getbig IV
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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2020, 06:08:39 PM »
Vol. 13 Continued

 To follow up on this: Here is some of the1987 Baseball showa magazine  special issue, "Introduction to shooting" by Satoru  "Tigermask/SuperTiger" Sayama, which details some of this new wonderful  sport of "shooting."

Here, Satoru "tigermask" sayama demonstrates one of the few correct ways to  hit the gotch toe hold, this hold was named after frank gotch, widely  considered to be one of, if not the greatest wrestler of the last few  centuries and from whom karl took his name.  From the "this is sambo"  book by sayama and victor koga(1986). Sayama was responsible for  introducing most of the leglocks in "shoot" style.


  • Getbig IV
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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2020, 09:31:59 PM »
*Archives of this series can be found at *

Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol.14 "Forward the Foundation"

 We are back again, this time at everyone’s favorite bowling alley, the  Fukuoka Hakata Starlanes, only this time with the PWFG crew in tow,  ready to continue the road that can only lead to innumerable Kakutogi  glories. It’s 9-28-91, and we are welcomed to a montage of the PWFG clan  training and warming up, when one quickly realizes that all pro  wrestlers are really bodybuilders at heart, for between the various  sleeveless neon muscle shirts, and Minoru Suzuki’s hot pink Zubaz, we  aren’t sure if we are about to witness a wrestling event, or a Flex Magazine photo-shoot.

Suzuki....looking forward to his next Mega Mass 4000 shake.

 Hope is quickly recovered when we find an ever-aging Fujiwara, who seems  to be immune to the pastel charms of this wayward generation, wandering  around before the show’s start, overlooking the merchandise table,  before giving us an interview. We then jump right into the evening’s  proceedings, as Lato Kiraware is set to face Kazuo Takahashi. When we  last saw these two, Takahashi had a very respectable showing against  Greco-Roman specialist Duane Koslowski, while Kiraware was forced to  completely embarrass himself, as Fujiwara’s personal punching bag.

Kiraware comes out swinging against Takahashi, putting forth some  reasonably stiff palm strikes, which Takahashi is only able to cover up  and deflect a portion of them. After taking some stiff shots, Takahashi  wisely shoots in with a deep single and takes Kiraware to the mat.  Surprisingly, the strikes don’t stop once the fight hits the canvas, as  Takahashi throws some punches to both the face, and midsection of  Kiraware, looking to try and create an opening, but Kiraware was too  close to being underneath the rope, so the ref orders a restart.

This was a gift for Lato as he wastes no time in firing off some more  palm strikes, landing an especially epic one, flush into Takahashi’s  face around 3 ½ mins into the match. A dazed Takahashi starts to  counterattack from the clinch, even delivering a headbutt to Lato (which  apparently are legal in PWFG) but is taken down to the mat and forced  to start defending from his guard. They both continue to deliver stiff  slaps to each other while on the ground, before Takahashi starts to  wiggle out from underneath, and attempts to stand up, which causes Lato  to deliver a vicious suplex, which leads to Lato scoring a knockdown.

The rest of the fight is basically Kiraware slapping the daylights out  of Takahashi and is ended when Takahashi is caught in a guillotine,  after attempting another single leg takedown.

I cannot believe I’m saying this, but this was a good match. No, it  didn’t have any impressive positional changes ,or grappling wizardry on  display, but out of all the worked PWFG matches so far, this probably  felt the closest to an actual MMA fight, minus the flashy suplex, and  Kiraware not completely following up his attacks when Takahashi was  dazed. In fact, outside of those with a trained eye (and especially to  the audience that witnessed it) this would totally pass for real, and  that is really the magic behind this style. To be able to feature pro  wrestling in a stripped down, no nonsense fashion, and still be  entertaining, is a tough balancing act, and we have to give Takahashi a  lot of credit, as his willingness to take some stiff shots, really  pushed what would could have been a mediocre entry, into the realm of  greatness.

Next up is Takaku Fuke vs Wellington Wilkins Jr, and right away we are  forced to notice Fuke’s attempt at an 80s Tarzan motif. Gene Lebel was  famous for sporting a pink gi, and would claim that it helped distract  his opponents, but he did not have anything on Fuke’s trunks, which are a  result of what would happen if you crossed leopard print with an Oreo  cookie.

Right away this is off to a blistering pace, as Wilkins fires off a high  kick, only to be taken down with a lighting fast single leg, which Fuke  transitioned out of into a modified straight armbar attempt, prompting a  rope escape from Wilkins. After a leg-lock duel, Wilkins switches gears  and knees Fuke several times in the chest, but one knee went low, and  wound up being an unintentional groin strike.

The rest of the match saw a plethora of takedowns, positions changes,  submission attempts, etc, before Fuke ends the bout by securing an  armbar just shy of the 11min mark. This was reasonably entertaining but  moved too fast to really build any tension or feel like more than the  perfunctory outing that is was. However, it was interesting to see it  right after the first match, as we can see the contrast of ways to work a  match within this style. This was not over the top by any means but  needed more space to really breathe.

Now we have the most excellent Naoki Sano vs Master Soronaka’s number 1  pupil, Bart Vale. It’s a shame that we only get a few more matches from  Sano after this, as he was a real asset here, and it would have been  interesting to see him as one of the early Pancrase guys, as opposed to  staying on the pro wrestling trajectory that he was on. As it was, he  was basically being loaned out by the SWS promotion, who had a working  relationship with Fujiwara and the PWFG at this time, so it was probably  never intended for him to be more of a helping hand, but it was great  to see him here while it lasted.

Vale wastes no time in throwing the high kicks but is stopped cold with  an excellent Ippon-seoi-nage (One Arm Shoulder Throw) from Sano.  Grappling exchanges ensued, with Vale attempting a couple of kimura  attempts, to no avail, and Sano getting a short-lived mount position.  Vale would continue his foot attacks, but as always, he is quite slow,  but Sano makes him pay for his sluggish execution and catches the leg  off a slow kick, and immediately turns it into a takedown.

Vale acquits himself better on the ground, as the speed disparity  between the two isn’t as noticeable, and he is better able to utilize  his height advantage. We are soon led to our first groan worthy exchange  as Vale spins around and plops down to the mat off of a thigh kick from  Sano, only for Sano to grunt and summon all the power of his  forebearers to execute a single-leg Boston Crab, in a most dramatic  fashion. This leads to a rope escape of course, and from here, Vale  starts loosening up a bit and begins to throw some palm strikes, along  with some kicks, which leads to another sequence where, after missing a  roundhouse, Sano gets a takedown and pulls out the double-leg variation  of Boston’s favorite submission. Vale had this scouted though, as he was  able to reverse it by doing a push up and forcing Sano to fall on his  head.

The rest of the fight more or less alternates between Vale seeking a TKO  via kicks to the midsection, and Sano fishing for toe holds, but the  end came when once again Sano pulled deep into the well, and slapped on  another crab from Boston, to which the crowd went nuts over, and  submitted Vale a little after the 15min mark.

 This was…ok. It was entertaining, as Sano always is, but after watching  the first two matches, which while different from one another, were both  in the more modern take on this style, while this wound up feeling kind  of hokey. This would have played a lot better if it had been on a  NEWBORN UWF, or NJPW card a couple of years prior, but things are  already starting to quickly evolve, and the holes in the old ways are  becoming too obvious. This probably was partly due to Sano not being as  experienced in this style as others on the roster, and Vale’s slow  delivery didn’t help in creating the illusion that this needed either,  but still, an enjoyable match.    

    Next is Masakatsu Funaki vs Mark Rush, and hopefully this will be a  great showcase for Funaki, as the only opportunity he’s really been  giving to shine here so far, was against Ken Shamrock at the prior  months outing. Rush did a respectable job last time, against Takahashi,  but is still an unknown, as he had no prior experience before or after  the PWFG, so this should be interesting.

Right away Funaki is floating around Rush, and peppering him with leg  kicks, and even though Rush managed to catch a kick and get Funaki on  the mat, it didn’t matter as Funaki is able to easily get out, and  reverse his bad position. We can quickly see that Funaki is on a whole  another level than Rush, or really anyone for that matter, and Rush is  only going to get away with what Funaki lets him.

One great sequence is when Funaki follows up a thigh kick with an  uppercut from the clinch, and from there executes a nice standing kimura  throw (a variation of the Sumi Gaeshi)

Funaki toys with Rush throughout, and Rush’s only notable offense was  attempting a standing reverse Kimura a la Sakuraba, that he took to the  ground and attempted to follow through on for several mins, otherwise  this was all Funaki. Funaki wins via an armbar transitioned off a head  leg-scissor hold.

It’s always nice to see Fuanki, and certainly interesting to see what a  skill disparity between him, and someone that probably had a background  in amateur wrestling, but it’s still a mystery why they keep sticking  Fuanki in these pointless matches. Had they switched him and Vale, then  everyone probably would have been the better for it. Vale tended to look  decent against lower-tier performers, and would have probably mixed  well with rush, and Sano/Funaki was a proven formula as they already had  two good matches over in the SWS promotion, but perhaps that’s why they  avoided this approach, in an effort to not go to the well too many  times.

Now we have, what we are all looking forward to, Minrou Suzuki vs Ken  Shamrock. When we last saw Suzuki, he gallantly defended the honor of  pro wrestlers everywhere by defeating the human oil slick, Lawi  Napataya, in a shoot. Shamrock on the other hand had his reputation  cemented as the top foreign talent in his prior bout with Fuanki. This  is the 2nd time these two have met, as they both had an excellent 30min  draw against each other at the inaugural PWFG event.

Things start off with an intense stare down and we are off. Right away  I’m impressed with Suzuki’s footwork, very springy, and always feinting  in a way that leads you to think he could shoot in at any moment.  Shamrock fires off a high kick followed by a palm strike right away, and  he is completely jacked here, just dwarfing Suzuki.

Suzuki gambles on shooting in with a deep single leg from a mile away  but is stuffed by Shamrock. However, Ken gives up his superior  positioning by diving for some kind of toe-hold attack, giving his back  to Suzuki. Suzuki uses this reversal of fortune to work for a crab, but  Shamrock shows us the secret that we have all been looking for, that one  simply needs to slap the next person in the face that tries to get you  in this Boston contraption.

From here, Suzuki falls back for a straight ankle lock, much like  Shamrock tried against his first confrontation against Royce Gracie, and  just like Gracie, Ken went with his opponent’s momentum to wind up in  top position. After both fighters tried various unsuccessful leg  attacks, they went back to their feet, and kept jockeying from the  clinch. One nice sequence showed Ken give Suzuki a stiff knee to the  midsection, which gave Suzuki an opportunity to hook Ken’s free leg and  attempt a kneebar from the takedown.

Suzuki couldn’t quite extend the leg far enough, so he used a kimura  grip to put the added threat of a toe-hold into the equation, and was  able to put enough torque on that maneuver to force Ken to take a rope  escape. Next we see a beautiful takedown set-up from Suzuki, as he does a  very subtle short stomp to Ken’s thigh, and immediately dives in to go  for a clinch, followed up by a standing switch, while Ken is momentarily  distracted.

It didn’t wind up working, as Ken did a switch of his own, which caused  Suzuki to turtle up, and Shamrock showed us a technique to deal with a  turtled opponent that I had never thought of, which was to grab his  opponents foot and dive over the opposite shoulder, as to wind up  repositioned in a place where you have enough leverage to finish a  toe-hold. While some would look back into this hazy shroud that is early  90s catch-inspiried grappling, and only see rudimentary ideas, if we  dig a little deeper, we can see some interesting truths made manifest.  Namely that wristlocks, toe holds, and other leg attacks, put the entire  BJJ orthodoxy on shaky ground as they are techniques that are able to  be hit from all sorts of angles, including what would otherwise be  terrible positions.

Shamrock succeeded in getting a rope escape from his unusual foot  attack, and they both returned to clinch warfare soon afterwards. The  rest of the match saw various armbar, and leg attacks from both mem,  punctuated by Ken’s need to slap the stuffing out of Suzuki in between  the ground exchanges, but the match ends, when Suzuki hits a standing  Kimura on Ken, only to be reversed into a dragon suplex, which gave Ken a  knockout victory.

This was excellent, and a great way to end the show. While it wasn’t  able to build as much drama as their first fight, due to being about 14  mins shorter, it didn’t have any of the dead spots of that bout either,  and was non-stop from the opening bell. If I had to pick between the  two, I would still give their first match the edge, in terms of quality,  but make no mistake, this was very good, and an excellent showcase of  the new possibilities that are emerging. It’s strange that real fighting  is being advanced by a group of people that are pretending to fight for  real, as if they were in a real fight.

Final conclusion: Even with some of the weaker matches, this is still  hands down the best wrestling org on the planet at this stage of the  game. The UWFI arguably has the potential to claim that throne, but  mediocre booking, and Takada’s antics will surely prevent that from  happening. As it stands, there is nothing better going on right now, and  I’m really impressed at how far ahead of the time this outfit really  was.

The look that only victory brings...

Here is the event in full:


  • Getbig IV
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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2020, 09:34:34 PM »
Let's see what Mike Lorefice has to say about this:

 Kazuo Takahashi vs Lato Kiraware: Takahashi  is clearly positioned as the better wrestler while Kiraware has the  better hands as well as a massive size advantage. Takahashi, as always  during these days, mainly tries for the takedown, but beyond the  difficulty of taking down the killer whale anywhere, usually when he  does, Lato conveniently manages to fall right into the ropes to force  the restart in standup. Kiraware does a lot of that action figure, turn  at the waste kind of striking, using some solid open hand slaps but  never mixing it up in any way. He has one big suplex, but is basically  just trying to hold Takahashi off until he figures out a way to win,  which comes in the form of countering a takedown with a guillotine. This  match was believable enough to be a solid restrained undercard bout in  this style, but also kind of bland & repetitive without much skill  on display.

Takaku Fuke vs Wellington Wilkins Jr:  An active, lively contest, more in the UWF-I style complete with PWFG's  new variation on their hokey scoring system. Fuke is improving  considerably with each fight, and seems on the verge of a breakout match  when pitted with a stronger opponent than Wilkins, who if a fine  follower here, but doesn't offer a lot beyond low blows that kill the  momentum. While not as believable as the opener, Fuke has enough skill  to make me take notice.

Naoki Sano vs Bart Vale: Vale  would wade in with a movie kick until Sano took him down into a  submission. Vale always seemed to have the upper hand in this match  because he could get a reversal & attack with his own submissions,  while, for the longest time, Sano oddly wasn't really trying to do  anything on his feet but counter into a takedown or throw. Sano did well  with the inside leg kick when he finally became willing to throw, and  the match turned from there, with Sano doing damage & even scoring  two knockdowns on his feet, the later leading to his 1/2 crab victory.  This was okay, but it was more a 1988 UWF match, and it lacked the  believability and intensity to really make you buy into all the near  finishes. Sano has been excellent so far, but he isn't experienced  enough in this style to be asked to carry Vale, who Funaki could do  nothing with. This was a good win for Sano, but I'm not sure what  purpose it really served given his limited availability, probably just  payback for PWFG running over everyone in SWS.

Masakatsu Funaki vs Mark Rush: A better  performance from Funaki, who was more willing to make this a one-man  show. Funaki opened up more here, both in standup where he showed his  speed & footwork evading the wrestler so he could land his strikes,  and on the mat where he transitioned more quickly & explosively. It  was a more entertaining performance because he was less in lockdown mode  on the mat, and was making things happen rather than waiting around to  make his move. Rush was again decent, while he didn't do anything  amazing, he was at least a willing and capable foil. The problem with  many of these shoot style matches is the weak link brings the match down  to his level, usually through inexperience and lack of training, but  Funaki was able to maneuver around Rush in a manner that made Funaki  look several steps ahead of anyone else on this card. The main reason  not to recommend this is it was a squash, but I still think it was the  best match on the card so far.

Minoru Suzuki vs Ken Shamrock: A  major step up for Shamrock, who really puts it all together here after  the somewhat disappointing match with Funaki & gives his best  performance to date by a wide margin. Shamrock is just fighting a lot  more aggressively & assertively, getting solid strikes in even  though it's not really a striking match, and then making decisive moves  on the mat even though he's experimenting with different positions &  leg locks that are more the game of his crafty opponent.

In addition to  being two of the best shoot style workers, Suzuki & Shamrock also  stand out for being able to tell little pro wrestling stories without  having to stop the match or be corny & unrealistic to do so. This  wasn't the best match we've seen so far, but it was probably the richest  in terms of having a lot of little things going on, and somthing of a  running storyline that didn't feel forced. Shamrock quickly established  his standup advantage, putting Suzuki in the familiar grappler against  striker role, and when Suzuki kept manipulating Shamrock's ankle until  the lock was tight, only to have the ref immediately make him break  because Shamrock was in the ropes, he pounded the canvas in disgust and  then grinned at Shamrock, kinda taunting him that he should be better  than to have to dive for the ropes at the same time he's content to  point out that he's already got one up on Shamrock.

Shamrock soon  answered with his own ankle lock, and while Suzuki is less anxious, he  does take a rope escape and then begin doing the good sort of pro  wrestling selling where he shows he's hampered - has difficulty putting  weight on that ankle - without having to stop the match & make the  ref look like an idiot for allowing a match where someone doesn't  respond for a minute to continue simply because pro wrestling never  actually modernizes. Sticking in the pro wrestling mode, these two are  able to show they don't like each other, but again in the good sort of  way where Shamrock immediately kicks Suzuki in the ankle because his  rival has made the mistake of revealing it as a weak point. They soon  proceed to a spot where the ref breaks them as both are in the ropes  working for the same ankle submission.

The ground  continues to more or less be a stalemate as Suzuki answers Shamrock's  Achilles' tendon hold with one of his own, but later Suzuki gains an  advantage instead answering with a heel hold, which forces Ken into a  rope escape. Though the argument could be made that Shamrock has the  advantage because he's handily winning the brief standup exchanges,  Suzuki is doing a better job of getting the quick lock up, and is coming  closer to getting the submission once it hits the ground. He forces  another rope break with an Achilles' tendon hold, and is able to get  armbar position twice, though Ken fights it off before he can extend the  arm.

Shamrock also  defends a wakigatame attempt & is able to take Suzuki's back while  they are standing back up. Suzuki avoided a suplex earlier, and now uses  a Kimura grip to spin out into a standing wrist lock, but this leaves  him exposed, and Shamrock just takes his back & hoists him for a  huge Dragon suplex. Shamrock bridges to go for the corny pinfall, but  after the ref counts 1, he releases & instead has the ref count  Suzuki out when he can't answer the 10 count, which again is a  ridiculous carry over from pro wrestling that needs to go in order for  the ref to have a shred of credibility. Anyway, I think they were on the  right track with this finish, but Shamrock should have done a released  Dragon right into an immediate ref stop KO.

Though the  match never felt great, it was a rich, well themed & focused match  where both were on the top of their game. We haven't really seen this  sort of match so far, and they were also doing some different things  with the ankle & joint manipulation. I think they really found a  nice balance of being a pro wrestling match with some of the  storytelling & acting at the same time they were a proto shoot match  with the sort of footsies we'd see in early Pancrase where the best  defense was often to just attack whatever limb they left exposed with  your own submission. If you like quantity then their 3/4/91 match is  certainly better given it's almost twice as long, but this match is a  lot tighter & shows they've grown and improved considerably during  the past 6 months. ****

Final Conclusion: The prelims may not have  been great, but without the hamfisted headbutting antics of Fujiwara,  every match at least felt like a serious & legitimate attempt at a  martial arts match. Beyond the promotion running smoother without the  diversion, the show was important for seeming to properly settle the top  gaijin spot, with Shamrock surprisingly successfully following up his  upset win over Funaki, while Bad Bart was gunned down on the undercard.

 *In other news*

The Sediokaikan organization out of Japan, is continuing to make strides  to become the premier choice in the Karate/Stand-Up fighting sphere.  They recently had their Karate World Cup event on 10-10-91, showcasing a  lot of great talent within the Sediokaikan Karate style along with  competitors representing their respective disciplines in Kickboxing,  Savate, Muay Thai, and Tae Kwon Do.

Some highlights include a stunning upset as Dutch Savate fighter Gerard  Gordeau defeated Masaaki Satake in a thrilling bout. This Sediokaikan  event has a format in which the first round is contested with both men  wearing a gi, under Knockdown Karate rules (punches only from the torso  down, and kicks legal to all parts of the body, minus the groin or  knee). If there isn’t a winner after the first round, then both  competitors take off their gi top and fight another round, and if there  still isn’t a winner then both fighters put on gloves and have up to two  rounds of kickboxing. After all that, if there still isn’t a knockdown  or judges’ decision, then the fight is decided by a brick breaking  competition.

In this case, the fight was every fluid and even throughout, with the  judges being unable to decide a winner, even after 4 rounds, so they  went to the tie-breaking brick round, and Gerard Gordeau was able to  break about 2-3 more bricks than Satake. This is especially shocking, as  Satakae has been a three-time Sedikaikan champion, and also had a  winning kickboxing record going into this fight, so he was the odds on  favorite to win this competition.

Gordeau completely dominated his next opponent, but was taken out in the  quarterfinals by an Australian kickboxer, Adam Watt, who went on to  face Toshiyuki Atokawa in the finals. Atokawa is a small, but ferocious  competitor, who wound up winning the tournament, when his continued leg  assaults on Watt were eventually too much to handle, and Watt was unable  to stand up on two feet. 

Here is the event in full:

Interesting things are developing between Sediokaikan and the fledging RINGS promotion headed up by superstar Akira Maeda. The head of Sediokaikan, Kazuyoshi Ishii, recently made an appearance at the 9-14-91 RINGS event, along with his top student, Masaaki Satake, and Maeda returned the favor by joining Ishii for commentary duties at the Karate World Cup event on 10-10-91. Furthermore, it looks like Ishii will be loaning out Satake, and Nobuaki Kakuda (another top Seidokaikan star) for Maeda’s next event. This is great news for Maeda, as the lack of a deep roster has been very apparent in the three events that he has had so far and is in dire need of a talent boost.

It is being reported that the UWFI has rebooked Bob Backlund for a rematch with its main star Nobuhiko Takada. Hopefully this next meeting will be better than the last, as Takada quickly dispensed with Backlund in a little over a minute, in what was a very disappointing finish for a main event with a foreign star with the name value of Backlund.



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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2020, 08:52:25 AM »
Vol.15 is now up for patrons! Then, in the fullness of time it will be availble here as well.

If your enjoying this series, please consider becoming a Patron. With your help, we can hire translators, invest into equipment, procure interviews and other rare historical artifacts, and make this a truly special undertaking.


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2020, 09:09:08 PM »
For those that may be interested: Some bonus content just went up within the hallowed halls of the Kakutogi Patreon. We cover some Shooto from 1990, which yields some interesting facts about Manabu Yamada, and tomorrow we will show why this guy right here, could have made a great MMA fighter, all the way back in 1990!


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #38 on: August 01, 2020, 10:47:34 AM »
*Archives of this series, and lot's of other bonus material can be found at *

Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol.15 "Heir Today...Gone Tomorrow"

*Editors Note: Mike Lorefice's comments will be prefaced by his intials.*

Welcome back to the wonderful world of Kakutogi. Join us, as we continue to seek out this halcyon dreamscape, often heralded, but rarely understood, as we are unable to refuse its beck and call, yet again.

We are now heading into the Shoot-Realms of the Union of Wrestling Force International’s (UWFI) 10-6-91 event, and right away we can see what we are up against, as we are immediately treated to a montage of perennially misused Kazuo Yamazaki, and golden boy Nobukiko Takada, gearing up for what appears to be tonight’s main event, as the powers that be are prepared to take us back to a familiar creative wellspring.

At least it is a refreshing source, as these two have always had good chemistry with each other, and this should be no different. Of course, they need a hit tonight, as when we last witnessed this group, we had to endure the embarrassingly awful 2min squash match, where Bob Backlund was quickly dispatched by Takada, after faking an injury, in comically awful fashion.

 Looking back at the trajectory of how we got here is interesting, as  surely everyone had high hopes for Yamazaki. Here was Sayama's esteemed  padawan, and his heir apparent, but his huge push to superstardom was  not to be, and this scribe can't help but speculate that this turn of  destiny may have been partly to blame due to Sayama leaving on bad terms  after the Maeda fiasco, and subsequently exposing the business with his  autobiography entitled, “Kayfabe.”


We will have time later on, for more musing of this dysfunctional family duo, but first let’s see what is in store for us in the present moment…

We are back in the cozy confines of the Korakuen Hall, and no matter how big or extravagant other arenas may be, nothing feels more appropriate for combat sports then this quaint 2,000 capacity venue. After a raucous crowd ovation for the usual preliminaries, we are greeted to our first match, a bout between resident footfighting master, Makato Ohe, this time facing an unknown Sakuchai Sakuwitaya. The last few opponents that they have fed Ohe, were decent in their own right, but inexperienced in the ways of international Kickboxing, so hopefully this will be different.

Right away we can see two things, the first is that Sakuwitaya does appear to have some genuine kickboxing experience, but that he is not in Ohe’s league. He appears to be someone that has some rudimentary skills, but nowhere near the seasoning needed to face the experience of a former Shootboxing champion.

The first moments show Sakuwitaya taking some stiff leg kicks, but he is managing to hang in there, while attempting to find his distance, when out of nowhere he attempts a flying jump kick (similar to the one that Machida took Couture out with, albeit with a different angle). A commendable attempt to be sure, but sadly does not land flush in the jaw, but rather hit the chest of Ohe, to which he responded by shoving Sakuwitaya down to the ground.

That was about the only moment that he got anywhere to glory though, as for the short duration of this fight Ohe has been patient, and only throwing a kick or punch if there was some hurricane force power behind it, and as soon as Sakuwitaya got back up it was over. Ohe feinted with his lead leg, patiently waiting for an opening and landed a punch to Sakuwitaya’s chin with an impact that reverberated throughout the building. For a moment it seemed like he was going to be fine, but it was a delayed reaction, because after taking the blow, and dancing around for a moment, Sakuwitaya completely collapsed, and was out cold. Great showing from Ohe, but they seriously need to find him an opponent that is somewhere in his league.


Going out in a blaze of glory…

ML: Ohe seemed to have all the advantages in this shoot that was almost  certainly designed to be an easy win. You could see that he was calm as  could be, not   fearing Sakuwitaya in the least. Ohe is the longer  fighter, and  just backed Sakuwitaya with some straights & a middle  kick. Even Ohe was probably surprised by the delayed KO where   Sakuwitaya  just gave out a second or two after a rather routine left  straight. This was pretty sad to be honest, I mean, if you can't  withstand a few standard  shots designed simply to control distance then  you really don't belong in the ring with any sort of professional  champion.


Next up is a tag-match Kiyoshi Tamura/Yuko Miyato vs. Tatsuo Nakano/Tom Burton. I still have no idea what is hoped to be accomplished with these tag matches that the UWFI insists on putting together. It would be one thing if they had a giant roster, and ran the risk of putting on 3hr shows if they didn’t consolidate their talent, but they have barely been able to go over an hour with these events, and that’s with all the walkouts, ceremonial introduction, etc. The actual time of people wrestling is considerably less than that. To make matters more bizarre is that there are no belts, or really any stakes involved, just another mishmash of who they want to throw together this month. In this case it is the small/lithe gentleman vs the brazen monsters, so we will now experience size vs skill, speed vs raw power, and slick holds vs steroids.

The contest itself was entertaining and fast paced, and somewhat surprisingly, everyone looked good here. Even Tom Burton was looking looser, and more fluid this time. Of course, Tamura is still the rock star, and is really bringing the new generation of tech to the shoot-game. Cartwheeling out of bad positions, rapid transitions, and creative grappling entries, show that he was really something special. To make it even more impressive is to think that he was a very high caliber contender in real shoots too, which isn’t something too many fighters can lay claim to, the ability to excel in both the real and worked ends of the spectrum.

Tamura wins by finally figuring out the counter to the Boston crab, which is to apparently is to turn a quasi ankle-pick into a toehold. Well played, sir.

 ML: It's hard for a Tamura match to overachieve, but given the tag match  format, I think it's fair to say this one did. Though  the  format may  be hokey, this is a great example of a doubles match  that worked,  keeping a higher pace than they could have in a singles match of this  length (18:48) without losing the intensity and keeping guys who don't  have amazing stamina or huge move sets effective by breaking their  portions up. The key to the match was Miyato, who gave his best  performance so far. Beyond being an entertaining and fiery presence who  pulled the fight out of the opponents, he also really upped his  technical game in all areas.

Miyato was making an attempt to move more  like Tamura, turning and spinning out, even using the go behind. There  was a nice sequence where he hit a backdrop into a half crab then spun  into a facelock. Miyato set a good tone for the match, showing some good  use of distance & footwork in standup to get his low kicks in, and  doing a good job of taking advantage of the opponents inability to  actually do anything to control him once they got him to the mat, just  exploding rather than honoring the imaginary forcefield that normally  keeps UWF-I fighters other than Tamura down.

This is really what I've  been wanting to see from him, things that make him relevant &  dangerous despite being undersized. The story of the fight was that the  larger team of Nakano & Burton would start out ahead on the mat,  getting the judo throw or takedown, but then their more skilled  opponents would start moving & countering before they got anywhere  with their submission holds. Miyato wasn't showing a path to victory so  much as wearing the bigger guys out by making them keep working at a  higher pace than they would like because he was feisty & annoying,  and if they didn't get him down again, he was just going to make it  harder by continuing to  beat up their legs.

Tamura was able to get a  takedown on Nakano, and his counters were often into his own  submissions, rather than simply scrambling back to his feet &  forcing the opposition to start over. Tensions were escalating as Nakano  dropped into an Achilles' tendon hold, but Tamura countered with a heel  hook only to have Nakano keep kicking him in the face until he  released, which allowed Nakano to take his back.

Miyato got back to his  feet enough that Burton began to slow down, and was caught off guard  when Miyato finally threw his hands, stunning Burton  and allowing  Miyato to get the spinning heel kick in for a knockdown. I was surprised  at how much ring time Miyato was logging, Tamura was really getting the  star treatment here, coming in for brief sequences where he looked  good, but letting Miyato carry the load. There was one crazy Tamura spot  where Burton had his back & started to go for a cravate, but Tamura  handspringed & took a front facelock. Nakano got a couple near  finishes on Tamura including a snap suplex into a high kick when Tamura  was getting back up, and as usual, Tamura was way down on points. I  liked the finish where Tamura losing the battle of pulling himself  halfway across the ring to get to the ropes before Burton could turn him  over into the Boston crab him allowed him to use Burton's momentum  against him (Burton was busy dragging him back), tripping him up into an  ankle lock for the win. I'm not saying much about Nakano or Burton  here, largely because they were instruments who were very well played by  maestros. ***3/4 


Next up is Yoji Anjo vs Billy Scott. The last time we saw Scott in a singles match was a surprisingly awesome affair with Kazuo Yamazaki, and out of all the imported Tennessee talent, he has showed the most promise, by far. Here he must face his sophomore test against everyone’s loveable zebra-warrior in Anjo, and they don’t waste any time.

Immediately after the bell, Anjo rushes in with a slap to try and set up an o-goshi throw, but Scott just shoves him off, and gives him a stiff kick in the back for his trouble. This causes our zebra to wisely rush back to the safety of his savannah, backing off to regroup before charging in again. He attempts another hip-toss, but Scott is wise to these judo shenanigans, and responds with a couple of ultra-low single-leg takedowns, a la Sakuraba, succeeding with his second attempt, which he converted into a slam.

They both then proceeded to get into a slap fest until Anjo pulls out a sweet Kani Basami out of his bag of tricks, which shows that maybe there is something to be said for these judo parlor tricks, after all. What followed next was a barrage of strikes, takedowns, reversals, until Anjo scored the first rope escape against Scott, in what could be loosely interpreted as a kimura from an open guard. Anjo quickly followed this up with a head kick knockdown, furthering his score against Scott.

This upswing didn’t last long though, as shortly afterwards, Scott got a takedown and finished the match in what is one of the most bizarre submissions I’ve ever seen, which resembled something between a “twister” and a neck-crank.

  Bizarre finish aside, this was a great match, and although they could have let it breathe more in spots, the fast pace kept it highly entertaining. Scott is continuing to show that he has a bright future, as he adds a credible gravitas with his look, and athleticism.

  The Twister/Neck-Crank Hybrid…

ML: Scott took a big step forward here, partially because he's a tough  & proud guy who isn't going to allow Anjo to take advantage of him.  These guys really stepped up the level of defense & intensity, not  only refusing to go along with the opponent, but making each other pay  with a swift foot to the face. While this wasn't a shoot by any means,  of all the works we've seen so far, it's probably the match that felt  most like it both in terms of the fighters moving quickly &  desperately to avoid what the other fighter was trying & getting a  bit out of control and even nailing each other  when they had the  chance. They really put a lot of energy into the takedowns, throws, and  scrambles, and both fighters inserted their share of cheap shots. They  took some brief rests on the mat, where Scott isn't the most fluid to  begin with once he gets you there, but made up for it by seeming to  legitimately piss each other off in standup, leading to some strikes  that were arguably too mean & some scrambles where the loser  normally would have given up much easier. 11:29 was a good length for  this, as it started great, and maintained the intensity throughout, but  the holes were becoming more and more apparent the longer it continued. I  was  surprised that Scott got the upset here, although Anjo is one of  their better fighters, I wasn't opposed to it because Scott did a nice  job of standing up for himself & hanging with the veteran. With this  being Scott's 3rd match, it's hard to argue against this overachieving.  ***1/2 

 And now…. The main event, and a sad realization sweeps over me, as I am  now realizing that this is, and forever will be, Yamazaki's destiny. To  forever be confined as a 2nd banana to Takada. Maybe the writing was  always on the wall though, as this picture taken from the 1985 Shooting Bible ,  tells the entire story. Here we have Takada rolling around in his  brand-new fancy sports car, while Yamazaki is reduced to getting by  day-to-day in a beat-up Toyota Corolla. This snapshot perfectly sums up  how Yamazaki was treated throughout his career. Instead of a Clubber  Lang tale of one's meteoric rise to the top, climbing up out of the  poverty of your surroundings, and overcoming your circumstances, instead  it was a hard luck tale, that told us all that sometimes you will  always be kept down by the man born with a golden spoon in his mouth.  Though these two have fought countless times, especially as young lions  in New Japan where Takada was 11-0 in 1982 & 20-0 in 1983,  Yamazaki  only has 4 wins over Takada, 12/5/84  in the Original UWF in one of  Dave Meltzer's early 5-star rated matches, 1/6/86 in New Japan's UWF  League, and 8/13/88 & 5/4/89 in Newborn UWF.


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #39 on: August 01, 2020, 10:48:57 AM »
Vol 15 Continued....

Politics aside, these two always had good chemistry with one another,  and while the booking here was lacking any build up, at least it's a  well-tested formula, so hopefully they put in another classic tonight.  After a bit of a feeling out process, we have Yamazaki nailing a back  suplex off a missed kick from Takada, and immediately Takada grabs the  ropes to garner an escape. There is some more jockeying for position  from the two of them, until Yamazaki is able to fight for, and finally  obtain, a heel hook, scoring more points against Takada. Takada tries to  initiate a tie-up, in which Yamazaki responds by feinting with his  hand, as if he was going to accept, only set that up as a way to kick  Takada in the gut. Herein lies the greatness of Yamazaki's craftmanship,  while someone like a Tamura was a lot of flash, speed, and soundnfury,  Yamazaki had a more calculated, methodical approach, that I wish more of  Pro Wrestling was patterned after.

They battle both over position, and who was going to be able to  secure a kimura. This  led to an interesting grappling sequence, when  Yamazaki was unable to secure a kimura, he started grating his elbow,  and the blade of his forearm against Takada's face, causing him to shift  enough that he was able to slap on a side headlock. From there, we get a  sequence that wouldn't be unsimilar to watching two high-level white  belts roll at your local BJJ academy. Yamazaki stacks Takada, getting  out of a sloppy triangle attempt, and counters with a clever kneebar  entry, which sadly doesn't work. Things continue to unfold with Takada  scoring an ankle lock of his own, and Yamazaki scoring a knockdown with a  series of knees in the corner of the ring, and while I'm cheering for  Yamazaki, I get the sinking feeling that there couldn't possibly be any  way that they will allow him to win. After this wave of despair flows  through me, I comfort myself with thoughts, that perhaps, Yamazaki will  have the courage to do what Yuki Kondo did years later, and simply kick  Takada out of the ring and into the front row.

Sadly, this did not happen…. What did happen, was Takada hulked up,  and got several knockdowns against Yamazaki before finally finishing  with a Dragon suplex followed by an armbar. This started off decent, but  was really hampered by Takada's laziness. In the original UWF days,  Takada was way more apt to put some real work into a match, where he now  seems content to just coast. This was basically a US Hulk Hogan main  event where the hero got beat up for the first three-quarters, only to  make a miraculous comeback in the end. Yamazaki did what he could with  it, but this was sorely lacking compared to some of their great matches  from times past.


ML: If Yuko Miyato were a decent booker, UWF-I might still exist  today. The league has kind of been on autopilot for the first series of  small Korakuen Hall shows, with  the problem that  no one has been given  the opportunity to appear to be any threat to Takada. They had to bring  in a former WWF Heavyweight Champion who has been more or less out of  the sport since the new ringleader of the circus scoffs at things such  as the amateur backgrounds that the real legends of the sport such as  Thesz & Gagne had devoted so much effort to giving value to in their  peers & successors. After Takada dispatched of Mr. Bob in mere  moments, there was only one man known to be strong enough to give him a  run, Yamazaki. While Yamazaki was, at best, the #3 fighter in the UWF  incarnations, his win over Takada in their first meeting in the Newborn  UWF was really the thing that cemented his presence on the top of the  bill there. Granted, he always lost to Maeda & usually to Takada,  but was enough of a threat that people believed he could win, & took  the matches seriously, filling the buildings and responding rabidly to  the action, even if more were rooting against him. Yamazaki absolutely  needed to win this, he could then lose the next handful to Takada as  usual, but that bought you that handful, as well as  Tamura or Anjo's  ticket to the top going through Yamazaki. Yamazaki winning gave you  options, Takada winning gave your, well, more staleness &  embarrasment.

One of the problems with Takada's matwork is even when he was gifted  an obvious counter, he just sat on it. For instance, Yamazaki hits a no  cooperation backdrop early on, and waits around with Takada holding a  Kimura setup, until he just gets bored of Takada not doing anything  & pivots to take away Takada's angle. Yamazaki keeps moving so  Takada can't do his usual pretend contemplation that's actually not  knowing what he could/should be doing, but when he's not doing things he  learned in the New Japan dojo, sometimes it's hard to tell what he  really thinks he's supposed to be accomplishing, he's really just  grabbing appendages sometimes and hoping that looks enough like some  sort of submission. Other times, it's easy to see that he has only   vague notions of what the actual submissions are supposed to look like,  hence his legs being reversed on his triangle attempt. To some extent,  the problem with the match is that Yamazaki keeps grabbing/catching the  leg & taking Takada down to avoid the thing Takada does well, kick,  but to his credit, Yamazaki does enough things well on the mat that the  match doesn't fall apart despite Takada mostly being forced to work on  the mat. Story wise, Yamazaki is trying to get a leg submission, or at  least debilitate the leg enough that Takada can't use it to knock him  out. Takada does come up with one a great combo when Yamazaki wants to  lock up, but Takada lands a right  inside leg kick and a right slap,  almost simultaneously, and Yamazaki is caught so off guard he basically  turns & covers, allowing Takada to kick around what guard Yamazaki  has until he drops him. Once Takada has this one opening, he just  steamrolls Yamazaki, getting him down to one point before adding insult  to injury by submitting him with his patented armbar. I think the later  stages of the match were actually supposed to show how tough Yamazaki  was in taking all this punishment that Backlund and the others weren't  up to, but one could certainly argue that it  made Yamazaki look worse  to just get blown out of the water once the first real advantage of the  match was gained. This was maybe passable, but it was shockingly never  really exciting. It's definitely nowhere near the level of probably any  of their previous  matches since they were basically rookies.

Conclusion: Outside of a disappointing main event, this was an  entertaining, if uninspired event. There still seems to be no clear  direction to this outfit, other than to portray Takada as an unstoppable  hero, but at least they have been consistently entertaining, so there  must be credit given for that. It may be a bit frustrating, knowing that  they have the talent on their hands to do more than they are, but it  will be interesting to see how this plays out.

ML: Kind of an odd show in that you had a squash, followed by two  overachieving really heated & competitive matches, followed by what  should have been the biggest match within the promotion that was somehow  transformed into another kind of a squash where this inexplicably  mightier version of Takada can now beat a guy who has at least had some  success against him in the past without ever being in any trouble. Scott  announcing  himself, and Miyato taking steps to make himself the  relevant in the more modern version of shooting are things to get  excited about, while the desperation of going right back to Takada vs.  Backlund, without even given Backlund a win to show he's viable, or hell  even credible in the 1990's, certainly is not. Again, UWF-I is the most  difficult promotion to know what to think of because two very good  matches on a four match show is better than the other promotions are  doing, but PWFG is more fulfilling in the sense that you have Suzuki,  Shamrock, & Funaki already in the main events, and only on the rise,  whereas UWF-I has shown itself to be Takada or bust, even though Takada  is a bust, and becoming more & more a laughable one as a guy such  as Scott, who is just some dude that wrestled in school, can come in and  already show  way more  understanding of both the technical aspects  & the compelling methods of fakery in just a few outings.


*In Other News*

UWFI’s event on 9-26 was a sellout but faced serious problems when they almost caused a riot with the inanely short Takada/Backlund main event that only lasted to the 1:15 mark. The ending of the match caused the Sapporo crowd to become unruly, which led to Kazuo Yamazaki grabbing the mic and try and calm them down. After Yamazaki’s attempt at peacekeeping, Backlund grabbed the mic and admitted to being knocked out and would try to learn how to block kicks better, for their next confrontation.

It was a hot night in Holland, as a molten kickboxing event took place on 10-20-91 in Amsterdam. Some highlights include a brutal headkick KO delivered to Nicco Anches by Peter Theijsse. We also got to see up and coming Dutch fighter, Ernesto Hoost face veteran Leo de Snoo, in a brutal 5-round war. Snoo’s composure and experience was tough to deal with, but at the end of the fight, Hoost’s sizeable reach advantage, quickness, and combinations were too much to overcome, as we was able to score a head kick knockdown that put him far enough over on the scorecards, so that he couldn’t be denied. If Hoost continues to stay healthy, then he is certainly going to be a champion for a long time to come.   

Leo de Snoo, Peter Smit, Ramon Dekkers, Rob Kaman, and Marcel Wille, from 1990.


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2020, 06:47:07 PM »
*Archives of this series can be found at *

Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol.16 "The Threshing Floor"

*Editors note: Mike Lorefice's comments will be prefaced by his initials.*

Welcome back, to the wonderful world of Kakutogi. We have successfully returned from our jaunt to the proceedings of a year prior (when we looked into the inner-workings of Shooto circa 1990, available only within the hollowed confines of our Patreon) and now we must head back to the future, making a crash landing at the infamous Korakuen Hall. In this case, the date is 10-17-9, and the occasion is another event by the ever stalwart PWFG clan, who has perhaps made the most out of what they’ve had to work with at this stage of the game, compared to their contemporary rivals.

We are greeted to a brief montage of Minoru Suzuki training, and working on his heel-hook entries, contrasted by Bart Vale walking around, showing off his patriotic duds, and basically demonstrating to us that this won’t just be another case of man against man, but will rather be two rival nations colliding, in what must surely be an apex in the history of Japanese-American relations.

The first match of the evening will be between Takaku Fuke vs Jerry Flynn. When we last saw Fuke he gave us a very solid performance against Wellington Wilkins Jr, and when we last witnessed Flynn he was in a rather pedestrian match against Bart Vale, through no fault of his own, but with Fuke at the helm this bout should be an accurate gauge of how he will fare within this style.

Right away Flynn fires off a nice kick to Fuke’s thigh but is taken down by a beautiful single-leg entry before he could launch another one. There must have been something in the water over in those days, as Fuke, Takahashi, and later Sakuraba, always had insanely proficient single-leg techniques in their arsenals.

After the takedown they both jockey for position, and trade submission attempts, before having to restart on their feet, and once they do, Flynn unleashes a barrage of kicks and palm strikes, that are a lot quicker than you would expect from a man of his size. Flynn is looking very solid here so far, and while he didn’t look bad against Vale, he was limited on what he could do working with him, and by being paired up with someone a lot more fluid like Fuke, he isn’t having to scale things back as much.

The rest of the match saw Fuke really earning his pay for the evening, as he took plenty of stiff kicks and palm strikes from Flynn in most of their standing sequences, and the groundwork was nicely paced too. Whenever it hit the mat they kept things at a fast tempo, without ever getting hokey, and also added some nice touches like when Flynn would escape from an ankle lock attempt by kicking Fuke in the head with his free leg, or at one point when Fuke was working for an armbar, and decided to slap Flynn in the face several times to open his opponent up.

This went to a 30min draw, and I must admit that I’m quite impressed with this. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this is one of the best matches we’ve seen so far, as at no point over the entire 30mins did this ever drag, and it was able to really strike a balance between realism and entertainment value. Fuke and Flynn were able to give us a long match with the stiffness and flow of a shoot, but with a faster, and more entertaining pace, without ever feeling corny or contrived. Where I would have assumed Flynn to have been a lumbering ox, he moved gracefully for a man of his size, and it never felt like Fuke was having to really stretch to make him look good.

While the idea of having a 30min draw for the opening match sounded odd to me on paper, it wound up being a great way to put Flynn over, and has really opened my eyes to Fuke, as I always just saw him as a middling journeyman figure from Pancrase, I had no idea he was basically the PWFG’s answer to Yoji Anjo, as a cardio machine, that could be used in a variety of capacities within the card to good effect.

ML: Fuke has already done a shoot where he failed to take down the greasiest of Muay Thai competitors for longer than it took Lawi Napataya to just grab the ropes, and I was really impressed at how he took the distance & his strategy into consideration. This was probably the most realistic fight we've seen so far in terms of approaching the wrestler vs. grappler dynamic. Flynn had a big reach advantage, but Fuke mostly stayed on the outside looking for a kick he could catch when he wasn't making his move to initiate the takedown. Fuke generally did a good job of moving in and out, and would actually even move laterally then cut an angle to get in on Flynn's legs. In the meantime, Fuke would try to check Flynn's low kicks, which really made me take them a lot more seriously.

While the length kept it from being the fastest paced or stiffest match, they did a great job of upping the urgency & stiffness when it mattered. If there was a potential submission for either, or a takedown attempt for Fuke, they found an extra gear or two to fight, and hit, hard to answer it, then would relax somewhat when they were more or less out of danger. I really liked Fuke blasting Flynn with palms to the face to fend off his leglock.

Anyway you slice it though, the length was still the problem, largely because Flynn basically just did his thing, and while Fuke was credible & technically proficient, there were only so many scenarios he, or anyone, could think of to keep a realistically bent vanilla striker vs. grappler match going for half an hour. I don't want to downplay Flynn's contributions, he was the more well rounded of the two in that he could offer more to counter & answer Fuke on the mat that Fuke, who had little striking, could in standup. While these guys were green, this was nonetheless a huge step forward for both, and one of the signature bouts of 1991 in terms of moving the sport forward in a more believable direction. ***1/2

Next up is Ken Shamrock vs Wellington Wilkins Jr. When we last witnessed Shamrock, it was a very solid match where we defeated Minoru Suzuki, and with this booking we can get a glimpse as to what is going to a major hurdle in this style, and that’s the limited talent pool to work with. It makes sense to use  Wilkins as Shamrock’s next opponent, as they have never fought before, but it also feels like a holding pattern, as the only other two members of the promotion that are likely to really give him a worthy battle are Funaki, Suzuki, or possibly Koslowski, all of which he has already faced, and if the UWFI has proved anything, it’s difficult to just throw random American pro wrestlers into this style, and expect good results, so we are left with a situation where this small roster of talent in the PWFG is likely to have to be constantly mixed and matched in inconsequential ways, unless they manage to pull in some more talent.

The bout starts, and Ken has a bored look on his face that would indicate that he would rather be anywhere else right now. Things start off with some light strikes back and forth from both contestants, until Ken clinched up with Wilkins, paused for a couple of seconds while seemingly whispering something into Wilkins ear, and then suplexed him.

Things get a bit more interesting on the ground, as Wilkins starts to turtle up, and Ken does a creative semi-cartwheel, diving over Wilkins back, looking for a kneebar in the process. Wilkins gets a rope escape, and after the standup is able to get the fight back to the ground via a northern lights suplex, but is forced to escape yet again, when Shamrock sinks in a rear naked choke.  After the stand up, Ken starts to up the stiffness quotient, and puts a lot more velocity into his palm strikes, which causes Wilkins to respond with a headbutt and some knees, to which Ken answered with an especially stiff open handed slap to Wilkins’ face, causing a knockdown.

A few more short exchanges went down, before Shamrock won via an armbar around the 6 ½ min mark, and one nice sequence within those, was when Wilkins was working his way out of a loosely applied guillotine, and was starting to slide out from under Shamrocks left arm/shoulder (while still wrapped around Shamrocks arm) Ken took the opportunity to completely torque his bodyweight into a palm strike using his free right hand, as soon as Wilkins escaped, and scored a knockdown off of it.

Overall, these was a very awkward match, that never really found its rhythm, or a consistent tone. Wilkins was striking way too softly, while Shamrock would oscillate between soft/stiff, and seemed unsure of how to work against Wilkins. Shamrock’s prior five matches all ranged from good to great, but he was working with seasoned veterans in all of them, which is probably what is needed to really pull the best out of Ken at this stage.

 ML: Shamrock had the wrong attitude here, just seeing an opponent that was beneath him & being unwilling to do anything to raise him up to the level of having a prayer. By being rather indifferent, and somewhat sloppy, either going easy or throwing wild hard shots that either blew Wilkins away or missed, the match never came off as anything beyond a dull enhancement match. This isn't a bad match per se, but there's also really no reason to watch it.

Dee Snider wins via Armbar…

Now we have a battle between Masakatsu Funaki, and Kazuo Takahashi, that is sure to violate several building ordinances, as the amount of yellow neon sported between the two, is clearly a safety hazard. Takahashi doesn’t waste anytime firing off an excellent single leg, that would be the envy of any current MMA fighter, taking Funaki down, and quickly slaps his way out of Funaki’s guard, and is able to gain side-control.

Takahashi quickly goes for an armbar, but Funaki is way too slick on the ground, and easily escapes the attempt, and is able to get back to his feet. Takahashi blasts him right back down to the mat again, and repeats his armbar attack, only this time Funaki rolls out, and opts to mount Takahashi this time instead of standing back up.

It is a treat to see Funaki’s methodical nature, even at this early stage of his career. As he has the mount, he patiently rides Takahashi, and starts to grind his elbow across his face, forcing him to squirm a bit, and uses this technique to its fullest, looking to open up a submission. Takahashi remained composed, so Funaki dialed it up a notch and started firing some short, stiff, forearm strikes to Takahashi’s face. This still wasn’t enough to force Takahashi to make a mistake, so Funaki gets up, smacks Kazuo in the face, and soccer kicks him in the head as the ref calls for a break. While the ref is separating them for a restart, Kazuo runs right after Funaki, and gets a swift kick to the thigh for his trouble, but if there is one thing that Takahashi has that Funaki can’t seem to stop, is the speed of his single-leg, and he uses it to good effect, and is able to stop Funaki before he could fire off another kick.

Funaki’s groundwork seems to consist of putting his hand over Takahashi’s mouth and punching him in the face, which doesn’t really yield any results. Takahashi eventually passes the guard but seems to get bored with the idea of maintaining a superior position, and quickly goes for another arm attack, that fails just as quickly as the first two. He loses his position to Funaki, who goes into side-control mode, and goes back to his tactic of using the blade of his forearm to annoy Takahashi.

After making Kazuo squirm a bit, Funaki starts to posture up, and shifts his body towards his opponents legs, which instantly set off Takahashi’s spider sense, and caused him to franticly grab the ropes for an escape. They stand back up, and this time Takahashi has no slick takedowns for his mentor. Instead he suffers the wrath of a stiff thigh kick, followed up with another kick to the face forcing a knockdown.

Kazuo gets up at the count of 9, and takes some more punishment, before Funaki misses a kick, and it’s back to the ground. Sadly, the only submission he cares to try is an armbar, and his 4th attempt fails as well. Kazuo winds up on the wrong end of a north-south situation, but tries to make the best of it, by going for a toehold against Funaki, but the master has all the answers, and simply gives a hard blow to Takahashi’s stomach, forcing his legs to dangle, and goes right for an ankle lock. The lock is in snug, and Kazuo taps out.

Excellent match, that I would assess as a ¾ shoot. They weren’t cooperating, and everything (with the exception of the ending) felt authentic, even they weren’t quite going at each other with an absolute 100% intensity either. This was definitely a great blueprint on how much shoot you can put into a work. 

 ML: Unlike Shamrock, Funaki found the challege & crafted a competitive match against an opponent who was clearly well beneath him. While the match was a bit repetitive in that Takahashi's chance was getting a single leg then finding an armbar, at least that chance was made real, and thus the threat seemed genuine. Funaki going from one hip to another to back up enough to try to keep Takahashi inside his guard when Takahashi exploded trying to pass is the sort of thing we haven't seen anyone else care about (or probably understand) that made maintaining the defensive position seem to be of the utmost importance. Funaki has been the most realistic worker so far, and while that can often be to his detriment as his striking tends to be much more exciting than his grappling, which is his bread and butter, Funaki found a good mix tonight, largely because he needed to punish Takahashi before he took him down, and hopefully Takahashi would either get KO'd charging into a well timed blow, or some of these strikes would at least slow his shot down enough that Funaki could find an actual defense. Takahashi came close just before the finish, eating a few palms before ducking a high kick into a takedown & passing into an armbar attempt. Funaki rolled though, and then they did a pretty lame finish that, unlike most of what came before it, felt very contrived, where Takahashi tried to transition into a kneebar, but Funaki made Takahashi release with a body shot then went into an Achilles' tendon hold for the win. While it was the first submission locked, Funaki winning with a strike or guillotine to counter the takedown would have been a lot more fitting for the story they'd been telling than Funaki grabbing a leg out of nowhere & Takahashi offering no defense. I think they had to keep this short both because it was a big mismatch & because Takahashi is a one-trick pony, but at 10 minutes they might really have had something here. ***


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2020, 06:48:27 PM »
Vol.16 Continued...

Thankfully, we just received a rush of adrenaline because we are going to need it, to face what will surely be our collective doom, as Fujiwara faces Mark Rush. We were all the better for Fujiwara’s absence last month, but surely it was too much to hope for that he would lose his way within the building a la Spinal Tap, so here we are. As this fight starts, I am beginning to realize, that I can’t recall Fujiwara ever looking young. Even in 1985 it looked like he was going on 80, but to his credit he is still going strong as a freelance wrestler, outlasting almost all of his contemporaries.

The fight starts off with a brief tie up, before Rush shoots in and takes Fujiwara down, and then proceeds to execute the worlds slowest ankle lock entry. This leads the two to play footsie for a while, before Fujiwara reclaims superior position, and secures a keylock, which prompts a rope escape. After the standup Rush takes Fujiwara right back down, and fumbles for a toe-hold, when two things become readily apparent, the first is that Rush has some legit amateur wrestling experience, and the 2nd is that Fujiwara could easily smoking cigarettes in between submission attempts from Rush.

The next 8 mins of the fight was really a battle of the takedowns, as Rush pitted his amateur wrestling against Fujiwara’s judo arsenal, and to Fujiwara’s credit, he seemed to taking this seriously and was on his best behavior, until just past the 10min mark, where he had to throw a couple of his awful comic headbutts, to which Rush did his best to sell. The rest of the match didn’t fare much better, and it finally ended just past the 17min mark with an ankle lock from Fujiwara. This would have been passable had it clocked in around 5-6 mins, and Fujiwara kept it straight. As it stands, this match only served to be a way for Fujiwara to try and show off his judo, and that could have been accomplished with a much quicker match. All this served to do was kill the momentum of the show, and make Rush look bad.

 ML: Shamrock & Funaki each doing 6 minute matches left Fujiwara to eat a lot of time. Typically, he did it in the least intense fashion, getting outwrestled then making fun of Rush when he tried for a submission hold. In Fujiwara's defense, Rush only possessed the most rudimentary knowledge of submissions, and would just kind of make things up, twisting Fujiwara's ankle without isolating it or controlling Fujiwara's body in any way, which I suppose deserves Fujiwara putting his hand to his ear to hold his head up while he rested in this nonsense. The match was dated & lazy, with Rush generally doing little to actually control Fujiwara on the mat, but Fujiwara just laying there passively anyway. The finish was the only time either seemed threatened, but that was overdramatized with a lot of bluster from Rush while staying in the hold too long. This match was just a bunch of air, between being so long & so laid back, I'd rate this as one of the worst worked shoots of the year.

Now it’s up for the clash between East and West to save us, so here’s hoping that Bart Vale said his prayers and took his vitamins before coming out here. Right away, Vale is moving faster than usual, and seems to be giving this his best effort, and he tries to cut the ring off from Suzuki, by working his side stance, and trying to box Minoru into the corner with some sidekicks. Suzuki gets wise, and shoots his way out of the corner, but is stopped by Vale’s sprawl. Vale wasn’t able to capitalize though, and spent his mat time hanging on for dear life against Suzuki, but did wind up warding off a bully choke, and an armbar.

The rest of the match was rather surprising, as outside of a few strikes, Vale was given very little offense by Suzuki. The match was mostly Vale defending Suzuki’s offense, outside of getting a few strikes in, there wasn’t much that he was able to do. The match ended with a weird submission that was a cross between a half nelson, and a neck-crank.

This wasn’t terrible but was by no means great either. To his credit, Vale gave forth an honest effort here, but as usual his problem is that he is just way too slow when put with small opponents. He works ok when put with other large/slow men, but it’s hard to carry him to a good match. He is getting better at this compared to his rookie days, though. (If anyone wants to see a terrible match, they need look no further than his match against Akira Maeda at the 2-27-89 Newborn UWF event).

 ML: The move toward realism seemed to help Vale the most, as he did a better job of closing the distance aggressively and landing quicker, more plausible blows that would put Suzuki on the defensive without exposing himself horrible, thus making it more difficult for Suzuki to just grab him & get it to the ground. While Vale was able to back Suzuki with front kicks, and through his generally aggressive barrage, he didn't do a good job of then getting out of the pocket when his surge was finished, so he did wind up spending a lot of time on his back. Vale's ground game could still use a lot of work, and these limitations hampered Suzuki because Vale wasn't giving a ton of openings either trying to rest or survive, but I actually liked the first half of the match, and the last minute or so. The weak portion was almost all control with neither seeming to really be setting anything up, especially the lengthy front facelock by Vale. Overall though, this was way better than any of Vale's other matches, and the first time I mostly enjoyed his striking.

Conclusion: Fuke/Flynn and Funaki/Takahashi were worth the price of admission alone, but in the end, things was seriously hampered by the Fujiwara match. The Shamrock, Suzuki matches, while not great, were short enough that they didn’t drag things down too much, but 17min of Fujiwara/Rush was painful.

 ML: What stands out about the show is the concerted attempt made by everyone to step up the realism. While some had more success at that than others, not surprisingly Funaki & Fuke, who are among the most realistic to begin with, and surprisingly Vale, who needed a more urgent situation to get out of his safe movie striking shell, the cooperation was almost across the board much less obvious than in other leagues or on previous PWFG shows. This isn't my favorite PWFG show by any means, but given none of these matches were particularly competitive or compelling on paper, it's a great sign that they finally managed to have two good matches, and hard to argue against the show overacheiving considerably.

*In other news*

Akira Maeda has managed to snag a lucrative job, moonlighting as a sports reporter for the WOWWOW channel (similar to HBO in the states). He was even able to interview both Mike Tyson, and Evander Holyfield for Japanese television.

The terrible match between Nobuhiko Takada and Bob Backlund on 9-26-91 is rumored to have been due to Backlunds unwillingness to lose to a submission (presumably seen as an affront to his reputation), and thus the idea for him to lose quickly to a kick (acting like it was a low-blow) was the solution. It’s safe to say that this idea backfired as it almost caused a riot, that Kazuo Yamazaki had to go out and quell. They are scheduled for a rematch on 11-7-91.

It would seem, that the UWF and the PWFG are in for some stiff competition from the rival FMW promotion. As they recently (10-14-91) almost packed 4,000 people into the Fukata Starlanes, which is considerably more than either of those groups usually do.


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #42 on: August 12, 2020, 02:54:30 PM »
This was safely locked up within the confines of the Kakutogi Patreon for a little over two weeks, so it may now be time to share the love with the Underground. Get all of your Kakutogi Content before anyone else by joining the revolution at:

Kakutogi Rewind: Vol.1 "Shooto?!? Don't Mind if I Do...."

We at Kakutogi HQ, were recently able to get ahold of another ancient Shooto artifact, in this case the 7-7-1990 “1st Champion Decision Part II” event, which puts us just a little past two years from the last piece of Shooto history that we covered. Our last Shooto examination was with Sayama’s initial public unveiling of his new sport dubbed “The Shooting.” (see Vol.13 of our Kakutogi Road series for the full story).

While we would prefer to be able to cover the entirety of Shooto, uninterrupted and in chronological order, any opportunity to cover the early years of this sport is a good one, so without further ado, here we go:

After screeching through the vectors of time and space in our (patent pending) Trans Hyper-Drive Martial Starcraft, we have arrived at 7-7-90 to a half-capacity Korakuen hall, ready to partake in what is only the 7th Professional Shooto event. It is an absolute travesty to see a sparse crowd for this groundbreaking display, but perhaps this is to be expected, as the masses probably weren’t quite ready for the paradigm shift that was taking place in the combat sport world, and the radical overhaul that the martial arts aesthetic was soon to be undergoing.

First up is Noboru Asahi vs Kazumi Chikiyoshi, and when we last saw Asahi he was one of the original Shooting disciples, taken under Sayama’s wing, and allowed to participate in his 1988 unveiling. Asahi was well esteemed amongst his peers in the early days, and strangely enough, was inadvertently responsible for helping bring BJJ to prominence in Japan, as it was only when he lost to Royler Gracie at VTJ 96, that Yuki Nakai decided that judo newaza wasn’t enough, and took it upon himself to become the very first BJJ blackbelt in Japan.

Chikiyoshi, is an enigma on the other hand, nothing is known of him, outside of his one-and-done appearance here at this event.

The bell rings, and immediately Asahi scores a knockdown with a straight right down the pipe landing flush on Chikiyoshi’s chin, which if this keeps up, Chikiyoshi will be in for a long night. Unfortunately, the match on this release in digested, so we only get a couple more clips before we are shown that the fight ends via unanimous decision for Asahi.

Next up is Tomoyuki Saito vs Suguru Shigeno. Saito by this point in time, was a 5-fight veteran, having been a part of the inaugural professional Shooto card in 1989. It’s crazy to think that by the time the UFC started in late 1993, there were already MMA fighters that had fought numerous times and retired with some close to 20 fights. Saito retired in 1994 with a 2-3-4 record, but even crazier is that Shigeno already had 12 fights under his belt, before retiring in February of 1993.

The match starts and both fighters go right for each other with some stiff straight punches, and both fighters are connecting, but Saito seems to be on the worse end of things, and opts to go in for a clinch, and secures a headlock. The ref gives the headlock a few seconds to find a resolution but breaks them up quickly. One thing that I’m noticing is that starting around 97 Shooto didn’t really interfere with the action, and had kind of a Pride FC habit of dragging competitors into the middle of the ring if they got under the ropes, but in the early day of Shooto, you had to stay continually active, or a restart was not far behind.

After the restart Saito takes some more nasty jabs, and opts to take his chances on the ground, by clinching Shigeno and taking him down, which caused both parties immediately start looking for a leg attack. It’s actually quite refreshing watching MMA sans any type of positional thinking, when you have two fighters that are constantly looking to end the fight, regardless of their position. Also, it seems that if you get a near submission, you are awarded a “catch” and this scores in your favor in a judge’s decision.

Sadly, this is another digested bout, so we are quickly accelerated to the end, and it is a draw. This was the 2nd time these two fought, and they drew the last time they fought back in 10-18-89


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #43 on: August 12, 2020, 02:57:05 PM »
Kakutogi Rewind Vol.1 Continued...

Next up is one of this scribe’s favorite fighters, Manabu Yamada. Yamada is a fascinating character from the early days of MMA, as he managed to be both part of the early histories of Shooto, and later Pancrase, securing his place in the pantheon of early free-fighting legends. To make things even more interesting, is that Yamada was one of the few of the early Pancrase clan, that did not come from a pro wrestling background, but rather from Karate, before hooking up with Satoru Sayama.

Yamada accomplished a lot within his 44 fight/ten year career, and in the process ,showed  absolutely no consideration for the lateral joint lines of Matt Hume, Frank Shamrock, Jason Delucia, Vernon White or Masakatsu Funaki.(He had heel Hook/ankle Lock victories over all of them.) He also did not regard the arm tendons of Minoru Suzuki after delivering a brutal armbar after a 14min 46 sec war, in a legendary encounter. He also managed to get 2nd place in the inaugural King of Pancrase tournament, losing only to Ken Shamrock, who despite outweighing him by a very significant margin, still failed to finish or submit him.

It's no surprise that founder Masakatsu Funaki and Masami Ozaki (Executive President of Pancrase at the time) took a liking to Yamada. During this period Funaki had a fasciation with the concept of a “Hybrid Body” which coincided with “Hybrid Training” and “Hybrid Diet” even putting out books in the mid-90s that expounded on these concepts. Surely, Yamada’s bulky, yet relatively lean physique, was a good archetype for what Funaki was attempting to have Pancrase portray.

He was also a welcome contrast to Funaki and Suzuki. Whereas Funaki was the thinking mans fighter (A National Medical University's secondary school division student when he quit in 9th grade to begin his career at NJPW) and Suzuki came from a teen-gang background, before being grounded a bit by Fujiwara and others, here was Yamada, a heavy-metal loving young-adult in his mid-20s, that hailed from the Tochigi Prefecture, which would sort of be like coming from Montana in the United States.

As it stands now, Yamada is in only his third professional bout, having received draws in his first two outings. He is facing Tomonori Ohara, who had 13 fights from 1990-1992, then went on hiatus before coming back and making another Shooto run from 2000-2005.

Immediately after the fight starts, Yamada begins to pummel Ohara with a variety of kicks and is showing an unusual amount of poise and confidence for a fighter this young in his career. Ohara is only able to tentatively parry, unsure of how to deal with Yamada, and it doesn’t take long for Yamada to go in for the kill. After kicking Ohara in the head with a kick that only resulted in a glancing blow, Yamada followed it up with another head kick, this time flatlining Ohara so bad that they had to take him out in a stretcher. A very impressive showing, indeed.

Yamada when asked about the Kakutogi Road…

Next up is Yuji Ito (a fighter that amassed 12 fights, with his last fight being only a couple of months after UFC 1) vs Takashi Tojo, in his 2nd fight (his first being a draw against Manabu Yamada). Round 1 saw both fighters being highly aggressive, with lots of reversals in the action, both standing, and on the ground, but with no clear winner.

Round 3 starts, and Tojo immediately takes Ito down, but blows his superior position instantly diving for an ankle lock, and after fumbling around for a while, the ref restarts them. Tojo gets a 2nd takedown but must ward off a triangle from Ito’s open guard, but the 3rd time is where it went sideways for Tojo. He got a clinch, but Ito was able to use some nice circular movement and reversed it into him having the side-mount. A kimura soon followed, and he was declared the victor.

Right after this fight a mesmerizing sequence took place in which Satoru Sayama took center stage to put on a submission and kickboxing clinic, and I can only imagine how something like this would look today in a current MMA event in the United States. Sayama took time out of the event, with two fights left to go, and proceeded to talk in great detail about submissions setups, and kickboxing technique/strategy, all while the normal everyday people sat in silence, hanging on every word. What is even crazier about this, is that Sayama nearly had a Hulk Hogan level of popularity not long before this event took place. In the 80s he had it all, money, sponsorships, you name it, but he left it to do something that he was passionate about, an endeavor that arguably hadn’t been attempted in close to a hundred years, and never in such a systematic fashion.

Sayama… Demonstrating an old Gotch favorite.

After the demonstration we now have Yasuto Sekishima (a fighter with an impressive 7-2-4 record, all several months before the first UFC), vs Naoki Sakurada. This was Sakurada’s 5th fight, and he’s going into it with a 2-2 record.

Sakurada is a small compact fighter, that seems to have decent hands, but is hampered whenever he tries and closes the distance with the taller and rangier fighter that is Sekishima. The round appeared to be a draw, and while it went to the ground a couple of times, the ref only seems to be giving around 5-6 seconds for the fighters to strike or look for a submission down there, and a bit longer if a submission is close to happening.

Round 2 starts and we are treated to a great sequence when Sakurada decides to shift his strategy. Sakurada started the round, acting like was going to try and box like he did in the first, but faked into a double leg attempt that didn’t work, but he recovered by taking the back of Sekishima’s waist, and drug him down to the ground. This was for naught though, as Sekishima went with the momentum and was able to roll backwards onto Sakurada and went for an armbar that Sakurada was barely able to get out of. The rest of the round was Sakurada forgoing the boxing, only using to set up double leg attempts, that mostly got stuffed, but he was able to secure one takedown, and immediately went for a sloppy armbar attempt, that I have the feeling was due to the insanely short time they are allowed to work on the ground in these days.

Round 3 found Sakurada finding his rhythm in the striking exchanges, as he was connecting more, and looking better on his feet, but he ruined his own tempo by insisting on going for a takedown, every time it looked like he was making some headway. Sekishima was sure to take advantage with some soccer kicks and knees to the body of Sekishima.

Round 4 was all Sekishima, as Sakurada was getting battered both standing and on the ground, and he both fighters completely went for it during round 5, but it was too late for Sakurada by this point, as he simply couldn’t buy a takedown, and Sekishima was too on fire. Kekishima rightly won the decision.

Lastly is Kenichi Tanaka (who wound up with a middling 6-4-3 record fighting from 89-99) and Kazuhiro Sakamoto (who ended his career with a much more impressive 13-4 record from 89-95). The fight starts and Tanaka gets taken down immediately by Sakamoto, who instantly looks for a kneebar, but after examining his opponents defense for a few moments, decides just to stand right back up before the ref could. He then takes him down again with lighting speed, and then cartwheels around his opponent into a north-south position, looking for an armbar entry. When that doesn’t work, he quickly transitions to Tanaka’s back, before the ref restarts them, and I’m beginning to see what this guy wound up with a good record, as he is showing some great fluidity out there.

After the restart, Tanaka tries a shot of his own, but goes right into a guillotine attempt from Sakamoto, they exchange a few knees, and Sakamoto takes Tanaka down, but seems to have left his right arm precariously stuck in between Tanaka’s legs once he got to the ground, and Tanaka instinctively went for the attack. Sakamoto almost got out of it, but Tanaka was able to pivot and reposition himself just in time, and nailed the armbar, for a great win.

This was a solid, albeit not spectacular card, but is a great snapshot of history, and really shows that even in 1990, MMA was at a much more advanced stage than the average fan might realize. The fighters thinking is obviously different without the BJJ influence, but these fighters were light years ahead of the rest of the world, most BJJ practitioners included, as anyone on this card had a good knowledge of kickboxing, submissions, judo, wrestling, and good cardio, and while they may not have excelled in any one area compared to specialists in those fields, they were all well rounded, which was really unheard of in other parts of the world in 1990.


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #44 on: August 15, 2020, 10:47:33 PM »
We recently had the pleasure of meeting up with UWFI icon, and catch-wrestling legend Billy Scott at his gym in Smith's Grove KY, and were able to interview him for roughly 2 1/2 hours! We covered all sorts of details about his career, early MMA, and all sorts of things, so I recommend that you check it out! The first part was just posted to our Patreon, and I intend to post another chapter every day until it's complete. There is a lot of interesting information here, so don't miss out!


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #45 on: August 17, 2020, 10:34:49 AM »
Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol.17 "Symbiosis"

Greetings, as we once again seek to explore the inner workings of unknown dimensions. Much like Queensryche, we too dream in infrared, as we continue to peer through the jaded kaleidoscope of history, having to sort thru fragmented spectrums. We have now arrived at 11-3-91 at the Hamamatsu Area, a sports venue built in 1990, that is still with us to this day, and is perhaps best known to the world at large as one of the main hosts for the 2010 Women’s Volleyball World Championship. 

 ML: The 2010 FIVB Championship was one of the high points for  the  perpetually undersized ball control masters known as the Japanese  women's team, finishing 2nd in pool play then coming back from a 2 sets  to 1 deficit against the heavily favored US team in the 3rd place match  to take the Bronze in 5. It would take a lot for anyone on this Fujiwara  show to rise to the levels Saori Kimura & Yuko Sano reached in that  match, which, like most of the big matches, was actually at Yoyogi  National Stadium, Hamamatsu only hosted the opening round pool that  Brazil won. However, I'm sure  Fujiwara will be content with the  Queensryche references, as long as the fans arrive En Force for his big  main event against Suzuki. 


When we last joined this prestigious outfit we got a glimpse of unknown greatness, as we witnessed a fantastic showing from Takaku Fuke and Jerry Flynn, and we also got to see further evidence of Master Funaki’s worthiness as a top talent, as both his subtle performance and humility were both clearly present, for all to behold.

Except for Fujiwara headlining, all the matches scheduled for this evening look solid on paper, so everything is set, for this to be a memorable event.

We are welcomed to the proceedings with a few montages complemented by a couple of synthwave tracks that wouldn’t have been out of place on The Running Man soundtrack, until Karl Gotch and Ken Shamrock show up to thank us for being faithful supporters of Fujiwara-Gumi. The first match is Jerry Flynn vs Wellington Wilkins, and I think it is safe to say that we were all taken aback at the splendid showing that Flynn gave last time. Here he must face Wilkins, who so far has always been perfunctory in his role, never showing any flashes of brilliance, but never really letting us down either, so hopefully this will turn out to be proof that Flynn can excel, even when he doesn’t have a worker of the caliber of Fuke to partner with.

Flynn opens things up with some flashy kicks that were crisp and well executed, but only serve as an excuse for Wilkins to take him down. Both fighters seem to possess rudimentary grappling skills once the fight hits the ground, so not much is accomplished outside of a weak ankle lock attempt from Flynn. The stiffness quotient raised as they got back up, as it wasn’t long before Flynn started laying into Wilkins with some Bas Rutten level palm strikes, before leveling him with a particularly stiff shot to the face that resulted in a knockdown.

The rest of the fight followed the same pattern, as Flynn looked impressive in all his striking exchanges, and Wilkins not being able to do much outside of some decent takedowns, and pro wrestling shenanigans. Wilkins only significant moments of offense seemed to come from suplexes (including a flashy northern-lights variation that did little to add to the credibility of this outing). To make matters worse, both fighters lack any jiu-jitsu knowledge, or strong submission skills, so this really came down to Flynn’s striking vs a few pro wrestling tricks from Wilkins. Still Flynn’s striking was fun to watch, and at one point he even scored a knockdown against Wilkins from savagely slapping him from within his guard, making this the first knockdown that we have seen scored in this fashion.

It would seem that the PWFG no longer uses an unlimited rope escape/ten-count approach anymore, although it’s anyone’s guess as to how exactly their scoring system works, but apparently Wilkins was slapped one too many times, and loses the fight due to a TKO.

This was fun but shows that both fighters need a strong opponent to bring out the best in them. Flynn has a lot more potential to be a force in this style, as his striking is already strong, and he moves well. The only thing really holding Flynn back is his newness within professional wrestling, specifically his unfamiliarity with submissions, but that can be easily remedied should he choose to stay within this style and improve on his game. Wilkins on the other hand, is only looking like he belongs in opening matches.

 ML: Flynn is a  tool that can be worked with, but you need a skilled  opponent such as Fuke to react to and shape what he brings. Wilkins is a  very straightforward wrestler with none of that creativity, so while  Flynn worked at about the same level this show as he did in his very  good match on the previous show, I would actually say he was actually  better because his strikes were a lot more convincing, now it was  basically all up to him. The other issue is the match was totally  one-sided, with Wilkins offering almost no resistance to Flynn's  striking. While the results weren't nearly as good this time for Flynn,  he looked more comfortable with the style, and I feel good about his  prospects moving forward. 


Wilkins with a busted nose….

Next up is Bart Vale vs Takaku Fuke. Both of these fighters were a surprise during the last event, as Fuke really showed his skills as a worker by taking a 30min draw and making it one of the best shoot-style matches of the year, and with a rookie no less. Vale came correct last month as well, and while he won’t be confused with Don “The Dragon” Wilson anytime soon, he definitely gave a solid effort and looked better than he has in the past.

The fight starts and Fuke quickly goes in for a takedown, only to be stuffed by Vale, who transitions to Fuke’s back and starts to control him with a half-nelson, which I always felt was an underrated technique within the BJJ sphere, so props to Vale. They fight for position on the mat, and one thing is clear, that Fuke has a lot of speed, but is giving up a significant size/strength advantage to the slower Vale. After some back and forth Fuke pauses to give Vale a chance to suplex him, only this looks like a complete botch to me, as Fuke winds up taking the bump really high on the neck, and I’m hoping that he doesn’t have cracked vertebrae after seeing this.

The ref counts this as a knockdown, and it seems like Fuke is ok, albeit a bit worse for wear. The fight resumes and I must admit that Vale is continuing to look a lot crisper with his strikes here, then in times past. I can only assume that he was very cautious in his UWF days, throwing a lot of flashy (but very light) kicks, but now seems to be taking a stiffer, more realistic approach, although he is still a bit slow. Fuke getting the takedown is inevitable, but he is having to eat some kicks to accomplish it, though Bart seems to be too strong for him to be able to threaten him with much outside of a heel-hook.

The match continues a with a great back and forth flow between the two, without becoming too formulaic. It is a battle of speed/takedowns vs strength/striking, but they were able to both reverse those roles in small doses, with Fuke getting some nice shots in here and there, and Vale sinking in a nice ankle lock. The match ends with Vale putting Fuke through a sloppy powerbomb, a la Rampage Jackson, (which worked better than how that description might sound) and finishing Fuke off with a rear naked choke.

I am still reeling in a state of shock, but I could swear that I just witnessed two good Vale matches in a row, with this being much better than his last. I don’t know if this is due to Fuke being a forgotten super-worker in the annuls of history, with an uncanny ability to make even Vale look good, or if it just comes down to Fuke’s style meshing better than Suzuki’s, but what is certain is that if Fuke keeps getting better than things are going to get scary, at least on the worked-shoot front.

 ML: Though Vale is not the ideal opponent for anyone, I consider this  good booking in the sense that you saw Fuke had a lot of success  reacting to an opponent with a kickboxing base, so you gave him another  one to see if he could repeat. What was surprising is that, although  Vale is much higher ranked than both Flynn & Fuke, the match turned  out to mostly be on the ground, as Fuke was successful at getting  takedowns, and rather quickly. Unfortunately, ranking Fuke's takedown  above Vale's kickboxing  made for a rather dull contest as Vale then  wasn't really giving Fuke much to react to, given his ground game is  mostly control based, with  low risk, and minimal movement, mainly just  trying to conserve energy as his stamina is always in doubt. While the  base positions were an improvement over what we were seeing 6 months  ago, with more of a BJJ base including Fuke employing a guard, Vale  undermined the realism of the control aspect by mostly using it to set  up pro wrestling submissions such as the 1/2 crab and both nelsons.  Similarly, his highlights in standup were suplexes & powerbombs  rather than the expected big kicks. The match was still decent, but it  didn't really excite me. I want to see speed, grace, fluidity,  creativity, this had little of that. It told a story, but even that was  kind of odd, with Vale being the one who won via submission, after Fuke  slipped out of the first jackknife powerbomb attempt and landed a nice  body hook, but then was nearly knocked out by the second jackknife. At  least this match felt somewhat different from what we had been seeing. 


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #46 on: August 17, 2020, 10:36:45 AM »
*Vol 17. Continued....*

*******************SHOOT ALERT*******************************


Here we go with our third shoot in the history of the Kakutogi Road, an infamous meeting between Ken Shamrock and Kazuo Takahashi. The match starts with Takahashi catching a kick to his midsection from Ken, and immediately taking Ken down. They both scramble and Ken is able to stand up and slap Takahashi but opens himself up for another deep single-leg takedown. Ken tries to work a guillotine, but does not have it sunk in, and after quickly breaking free of the hold, they both stand back up, when Ken slaps Takahashi in the face with the might of a thousand suns. Takahashi crumples to the ground, but somehow manages to stand back up during a ten-count. After they stand back up, they feel each other out for a few moments, when Kazuo sets up a beautiful double-leg by feinting a kick to Shamrock’s knee, and then lifts Shamrock up and drops him. This was a bad idea as Shamrock quickly got back to his feet and soccer kicked Takahashi in the face with enough force, that it’s amazing that he didn’t punt his decapitated head into the audience, 6-rows deep.

Amazingly, a very staggered Takahashi got back up before the ten count, but the ref was not having any more of this, and stopped the fight. A dazed and confused Takahashi tried to keep fighting, but the ref stood between him and Ken, while a confused crowd booed and chanted “Shamrock.” Takahashi appeared to be trying to talk the ref into restarting the fight, and Ken seemed raring to continue, but the ref decided to call in a ringside doctor to examine the giant welt that was on Takahashi’s cheek, and called the fight off.

Conclusion: Ken has given somewhat conflicting reports on the specifics of this match. In an interview with our good friend William Colosimo he implied that this turned into a shoot due to Takahashi going into business for himself, and then most recently he told Jonathan Snowden that Takahashi was itching to go full blast, and that they both got Funaki’s blessing to go 100% for this match. From the vantage point of this humble scribe, it appeared to me that Ken didn’t realize he was in for a shoot, until Takahashi grabbed his leg from the first kick and took him down. I’m guessing that this move was off script and Shamrock went into beast mode, easily dispatching of Takahashi in the process.

For the record, here are both quotes. The first with his interview with William Colosimo, circa 2015: “I don’t want to talk on that match but I’ll tell you a story, and it happens all the time– when you get into a situation where both guys are supposed to have an agreement, and things are supposed to work a certain way– and one guy goes in and decides he’s going to do what he wants to do- then you’ve got to take what’s yours. And that’s kinda what happened, I believe that not everybody was on the same page, and I believe that some people think that they were just gonna go ahead and take what they wanted, and they ran into a wall.”

Here is his quote on the subject taken from Jonathan Snowden’s most recent book: “When me and him got in there, I told Funaki ‘let him run.’ Let us go at it. So Takahashi came up to me and says ‘It’s ok? We hit hard?’ and I said ‘yeah dude. Turn it loose. Let’s have fun. Whatever happens, happens.’ We went into the ring with the understanding that we would go in there and knock the shit out of each other. May the best man win.”

While I’m inclined to think that the first quote is a more accurate representation of what happened here, there is no doubt that this was, or at least quickly turned into, a shoot, and I can only wonder what matches like this may have done to poke holes in the believability of the business writ large, for the fans that were able to witness it. Did matches like this expose the holes in what was going on in promotions like NJPW at the time, or was it too low key to make a difference?

 ML: I don't trust what any of these guys say in regards to shoots,  especially the guys who came up during the pre MMA kayfabe pro wrestling  era, and I wouldn't be surprised if another 10 interviews with Shamrock  yielded 10 different variations. I can craft a story to support both  interviews, the first would be that Ken takes exception to the hard left  slap Takahashi gives him when they're standing out of the initial  scramble and just lets loose after that, the 2nd being that there's  nothing here that is obviously worked. Though the opening sequence where  Takahashi catches a kick & gets a takedown could easily be  scripted, nothing else that Shamrock does might be worked, while it's  much more difficult to tell whether Takahashi is shooting, given he's  basically using the same takedowns he always does, though seemingly with  more urgency. It's important to note that these guys don't really know  what they are in for at this point because even if they are sort of  "shooting" in the gym sometimes, the idea isn't to actually lay your  opponent out with any marginally legal tactic at your disposal. It's  also important to note that they speak different languages, so who even  if there was some agreement, who knows if it's understood the same way  by everyone involved? If Takahashi is shooting, it's surprising that he  both tries and succeeds at the suisha otoshi. Certainly, he is not  expecting Ken to be up first and soccer kick him. This really seems to  me like a cheap shot by Ken, it's something you would never do in a  work, so it's reasonable for Takahashi not to expect it, I'm not sure  we've seen one of these yet, it's not a pro wrestling tactic as they  just use those cheesy stomps that no one would actually stay down and  allow. I can't say Ken is cheating, as I doubt it's technically illegal,  especially given there aren't really any rules established for this  kind of situation. Ken definitely takes major advantage though with his  dick move, and Takahashi's eye is well on its way to swelling shut from  the damage to the cheek bone, though again, one could argue whether the  fight is stopped because of the injury or because it was obviously "out  of hand", so they wanted to move on before there were truly seriously  consequences. 

  A fighter that won’t quit…

Next is Masakatsu Funaki vs Duane Koslowski. We haven’t seen Koslowski for a couple of months when he faced Kazuo Takahashi during the opening match at the 8-23-91 event. When we last saw Funaki he got a great match out of Takahashi, making him look good, despite the disparity in skill level between the two. The match starts and Funaki does a great job at using his reach as a weapon, and staying far enough from Koslowski to avoid the clinch, but close enough to keep peppering him with thigh kicks. Koslowski tentatively tries to grab Fuanki’s wrist, and pull him closer to him, but eats a huge head kick for his trouble.

Funaki immedatily continues to quickly press Koslowski, and being stiffer than we usually see him. A great sequence ensues, in which Kosloski underhooks Funaki’s side, while controlling his right arm via the elbow. Funaki tries to squirm away, and winds up pushing Koslowski’s chin with this hand, and this little bit of forward momentum that was used to do this, was instantly capitalized on by Kosloski, and he converted that motion into a beautiful greco throw. Duane goes for a side-mount, but his lack of ne-waza skills become apparent, and there is no way that he has the depth or experience on the ground to hold Funaki for long, and he winds up losing his superior position quickly.

The rest of the fight saw Koslowski being on the losing end of just about every exchange. Funaki was lighitng him up on the feet, and dominating his opponent on the ground as well. There was even a point where Funaki hit a beautiful O-Goshi throw on Koslowski, which must have been brusing to his ego. Duane almost had his cumuppance, as he went in for a deep double leg, and converted it into an excellent back suplex, but somehow managed to injure himself in the process, and lost via ko.

This was great, and would be a precurser to the style that Funaki started to show in the early days of Pancrase. This seemed to be a shoot, minus (perhaps) the suplex at the end, and the fact that I suspect Fuanki was carrying Koslowski during portions of the ground fighting, by not immediantly going in for the kill like he could have. Regardless of the shoot/work nature of this fight, it’s clear that the finish wasn’t intended, and Koslowski somehow injured himself with that suplex, but the camera angle didn’t give a clear view as to what may have gone wrong.

 ML: I'm liking the potential of this match, as Funaki is working a more  active style. He clearly has the advantage in speed, footwork, and  striking, and is doing a good job landing low and middle kicks.  Koslowski is all about the takedown, and while Funaki catches him off  guard once with a fast takedown, it's mostly Koslowski that is getting  the match to the canvas, where Funaki has such a wide array of  submissions at his disposal, he is usually able to put Koslowski on the  defensive. The match goes along for 5 minutes as a stardard work then  they suddenly shift gears and do an intense hard gym sparring palm  striking sequence where Funaki's speed & footwork allow him to get  some good shots in. Koslowski isn't able to get a double leg, but  figures he has control of both legs, so he gets off his knees & goes  into an overhead belly to belly, but seems to injure his neck hitting  his head on the canvas wrong. A few fans laugh as he rolls off Funaki,  thinking this is a really corny way for Funaki to get a down, but then  it becomes clear that Koslowski isn't right. The match is waved off, and  Funaki just makes his way for the locker room, not excited about the  manner in which he achieved his KO victory. It's doubly unfortunate  because this would almost certainly have been a good match had it gone  to the intended finish. With two matches in a row ending abruptly on  injuries, this is shaping up to be the shorted PWFG show in history. 


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #47 on: August 17, 2020, 10:40:02 AM »
*Vol 17. Continued...*

I’m now dreading the final chapter. We’ve been going strong this evening, but a main event with Fujiwara isn’t a good sign, and I can only hope that Suzuki will carry this into the shoot glory realm that we all long to abide in.  What followed was much better than I expected, but not the best choice for anyone involved. It was a 30min draw, that consisted mostly of Suzuki taking the fight to the ground and looking for a submission. To their credit, Suzuki kept a fast pace, and Fujiwara was able to keep up with him, but unlike the Fuke/Flynn match which had a wide variety of takedowns, submissions, striking exchanges, etc, this was mostly just matwork. It was a lot better than it could have been, and Fujiwara was on his best behavior, but this shouldn’t have gone past ten mins at the most.

 ML: Suzuki getting a draw with Fujiwara was a helpful result. What made  this doubly impressive is he had the advantage almost the entire  contest, with Fujiwara finally barely getting himself into the match in  the final minutes. Obviously though, Fujiwara shouldn't be going 30  minutes at this point. In order for Fujiwara to last that long, they did  an old school UWF match that was mostly lying on the mat. Suzuki had  the speed and would take Fujiwara's back out of the scrambles, but  instead of exploiting the back, would inexplicably play with Fujiwara's  leg trying to flip him over, and then just let him up when he got bored  of making no progress. I assume he  didn't do much to press his actual  advantage because the match had to go on and on, but his mostly  ignoring, and occasionally half heartedly attempting to get the rear  naked choke was frustrating. There were a few  good moments such as  Suzuki landing a hard palm then dropping into the Achilles' tendon hold,  which Fujiwara predictably negated with one of his own, but the match  was mostly air, with  a lot of fake amateur wrestling where Suzuki was  "controlling" Fujiwara without actually securing anything or exerting  any real energy. Neither fighter showed any real interest in striking,  or the match in general, it was mostly a chore  to be survived. The  standup consisted of lock ups, and sometimes Fujiwara would free a hand  and throw a palm or take advantage of the close quarters to sneak in a  headbutt, but these were diversionary tactics amidst the greater game of  trying to get the fight to the ground without using an actual wrestling  takedown. They went back to the dueling Achilles' tendon holds for the  finish, with Suzuki throwing a hissy fit pounding the mat repeatedly  once they untangled them. 


Final thoughts: Out of all the events we've covered so far, this was  probably the one that feels the most credible, from top to bottom. It's  not the most entertaining, but it always carried itself as a legitimate  sporting endeavor, and in those terms it really succeeded. As for the  matches, we got a decent one with Flynn/Wilkins, a good one in  Fuke/Vale, an awesome (albeit short) fight between Shamrock/Takahashi  that is historically important, another good match with  Funaki/Koslowski, and a middling affair with Suzuki/Funaki. Overall this  was a big win, even if Fujiwara insistance on going the distance drug  it down a bit.

ML: This show had a lot of potential, but wound up being a lot of  near misses. While it still advanced the sport of pro wrestling toward a  more legitimate plain, the cheap shot Ken took Takahashi out with makes  it easy to see why almost all the workers in 1991 believed things had  to be kept fake.

*The full event can be found at our Patreon.*

    *In Other News*

On 11-18-91 it was a blistering night in Rotterdam as the Imperium  held a kickboxing event with a number of great fights. One such example  was upcoming Dutch sensation Bas Rutten, against (as of press time) an  unidentified opponent that hailed from France. Bas came out kicking and  swinging, unleasing one bomb after another, until he finally got through  with a head kick, and scored a knockdown. His opponent responded to the  ref's 10-count, and the bell rang shortly afterwords, ending round 1.

Round 2 starts, and we can see how the bombs away strategy is  starting to backfire, as Bas simply doesn't have the juice to keep  spazzing on his opponent for much longer. He was able to hit a beautiful  backfist right onto his opponents chin, but as we at Kakutogi HQ later  found out, this move was made illegal about a week before this event  took place, and the ref would not count this as a knockdown, instead  allowing the fighter all the time he needed to recover. After his  recovery Bas was basically just standing in his corner out of wind, and  called the fight off, after his oppoent walked over and kicked him in  the head. Exciting fight, and Bas will be a force to be reckoned with,  if he is able to learn to relax, and pace himself.

 ML: Proof of the amazingly poor documentation of kickboxing is even a fighter as famous in the more popular sport of MMA as Bas Rutten, a UFC Hall of Famer, has no documented kickboxing record. I can find out that he won his first 14, lost the European Muay Thai title to Frank Lobman on 2/12/91, and then lost this match, his final kickboxing match, but I can't find out who he beat or the name of this other loss. In his biography, Bas talks about the match, and even he only describes the opponent as "A French guy". I would have guessed this was more toward Bas' first fight because he's a green brawler. There's some great action here because of that, though the fight is really rudimentary from a technical perspective, with Bas not showing a lot of the standup brilliance we'd come to expect from him in Pancrase. The opponent, it sounds like the announcer calls him Alexis something, but I can't really understand the guy, and they don't bother with graphics, has the reach advantage, so Bas just blitzes him the entire first round. 13 of Bas' 14 wins were 1st round knockouts, so this is a reasonable style for him to say the least. Certainly this all out in your face toughman brawling style wasn't predicated on winning lengthy bouts, but there's some other issues at play here. Bas said he got an infection a week before the fight, and then spent a couple days in jail over a street fight, so it wasn't that he didn't train hard, he was just depleted to the point he should have just postponed. Bas gets knockdowns in the 1st, but can't quite put the Frenchman away, but it's Bas who looks like he's ready to keel over in the 2nd. Bas claims this wasn't purely fatigue, but the medicine he was taking for the infection causing shortness of breath and his body to lock up. His opponent was gassed and certainly a lot more battered, but Bas was forced to manage himself now. He tried to deal with his physical situation by retreating to the ropes after a semi aggressive shot or two, stuck using them for support while he hoped to recover enough to be able to throw another strike. He managed to actually move enough to his left to evade a big right hand, and fire back with a backfist, but much to his dismay, they ruled that backfists were illegal. The opponent was leaning over the ropes, looking half dead, but Bas still recovered less during the break, a clear sign that something was severly wrong. Bas took 1 step out of the corner on the restart, but slowly retreated and turning his back to surrender to the lack of oxygen. Bas was extremely pissed at the criticism he got after this fight to the point he vowed to never fight in The Netherlands again, hence the nearly 2 year layoff before he resurfaced on the 1st Pancrase show.

The main event featured Frank “The Animal” Lobman vs Peter Aerts, and  the energy before and during this match was palpable. Lobman was the  favorite going into this match, as he was undefeated, but Aerts has had  an impressive run so far, despite being early on in his carrer.

Round 1 started with Aerts looking for a clinch early, but suffering  some brutal hooks for his trouble. He then shifted gears a bit and tried  to use his amazing reach advantage to keep Lobman at a distance, but  this only worked sporadically, as Lobman was able to power through most  of the time with a low kick, or overhand right. Round 1 ends with a  definite nod to Lobman.

The tide shifted in round 2, as Aerts grabbed a Thai clinch, and held  on for dear life for most of the round, while assulting Lobman with  knees and vicious thigh kicks. Lobman was completely neutered in Round  2, but came back strong in the 3rd , as Aerts continued his clinch  strategy, only to find himself on the receiving end of short hooks  everytime he tried, and wasn't able to effectively maintain a clinch  more than a few seconds at a time. Towards the end of the round Aerts  tried to back off and revert to his rangey attacks, but it was too late,  as Lobman took this round.

Round 4 sees the clinch of doom working again for Aerts, as he is  able to maintain control and unleash some more knees. Aerts isn't able  to keep it going as long as he was in round 2, as Lobman is able to  sneak a couple of bombs through, but the entire fight changed in an  instant when Aerts went for a high kick, and Lobman wasn't able to block  in time. Lobman went down, and was barely able to get back up. Aerts  was able to capitalize on this and scored another knockdown shortly  afterwords, which is going to force Lobman to have to knock out Aerts if  he is going to have any chance of winning this fight.

Round 5 shows Lobman going after Aerts right away, landing some nasty  overhand punches, that gives Aerts some trepidation about going in for a  clinch again. Lobman is too tired to completely follow up with the  assult, and gives Aerts the chance to run the clock during this round,  leading to an inveitable UD victory of Aerts. Fantastic fight that's  highly recommended.

ML: Undefeated Lobman turned 36 tonight, defending the WMTA World  Heavyweight Muay Thai Title against 21-year-old Aerts, who had a ton of  potential, but had already lost to some more experienced fighters in   Ernesto Hoost, Andre Mannaart, & Jan Wessels. This was a battle of  experience vs. size, but  Aerts fought smart, doing his best to exploit  his 4.5 inch height advantage. Lobman could land a big strike coming in,  but then Aerts would pull him into the thai clinch and work knees,  doing his best to keep Lobman close enough to him that Lobman didn't  have space to fight back with body shots or knees of his own. I thought  Lobman should have used more low kicks, but even with the low kicks, he  was usually stepping forward to throw them & thus moving into range  for Aerts to clinch him. Lobman really had to make his strikes count  because he generally landed 1 shot then ate several trying to fight his  way free and back to the outside. The fight is competitive to an extent,  but Lobman was digging himself a big hole on the scorecards, and the  attrition game was definitely on the side of Aerts. Lobman really just  walked into Aerts high kick after a restart in the 4th, seemingly  shocked that Aerts made a move to attack when he was coming in rather  than stick with his strategy of grabbing. Aerts was finally willing to  slug it out in the pocket after this, opening up with punches &  battering Lobman on the ropes enough to force the ref to give Lobman a  count. Lobman managed to survive the round, and while things looked  incredibly bleak for him in the 5th, he managed to gut out another big  round of action where he did his best to get the KO. Aerts continued to  push for the finish, which made for another exciting round, Lobman going  for broke & Aerts exchanging with him because Lobman was  deteriorated enough that he could now win these exchanges. The final 2  rounds made the fight for me because the first three, while good, were  kind of repetitive because Lobman never found an answer to Aerts  strategy, Aerts eventually just didn't need it any more & chose to  slug it out rather than sit on his lead. Very good match.

*The full event can be found at our Patreon.*


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #48 on: August 22, 2020, 03:35:19 PM »
Kakutogi Road Presents: "Stranger in a Strange Land" The Billy Scott Interview Part 1

We at Kakutogi HQ recently had the pleasure of sending over one of our cub reporters to track down UWFI legend, and catch-wrestling icon, Billy Scott, as he was nestled deep into the impenetrable forests of western Kentucky. Our plucky agent was able to transverse mountains, ford rivers, and endure many hardships, before finally getting the pleasure of meeting Scott, who was nothing but gracious and pleasant throughout this entire interview. We would like to publicly thank him for generosity in freely spending this time with us and agreeing to be interviewed. What follows is only the first part of this interview, a lot more is till to come, and I hope to have the rest of it up very soon!

MB: What were your first memories of wrestling, whether it was professional wrestling, or wrestling in general?

BS: My first memories of it? I guess my first memory of it was my first time going to Japan. How I got into the Japan episode was Shinji Sasazaki. Do you know who he is?

MB: Yes, from what I understand, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, he was originally part of New Japan, and he was living in Tennessee. Wasn’t he working at a restaurant?

BS: Yes, now when I first met him, I didn’t know what he was doing, or what restaurant he was working at, but later on I knew what he was doing. He was working at a restaurant, and I’m not sure if he was married at the time, or if they were just together, but his partner was helping a lot with getting the visas together for the wrestlers.

MB: So were you just a patron of the restaurant?...

BS: No actually, I went to a gym where my brother was getting ready for a Tennessee amateur wrestling event. My brother and I were both decent amateur wrestlers, and he was training for amateur wrestling in high school, so we were going to this gym to train, and there was a Japanese guy in there, that got to watching us, and I thought it was kind of weird at first, but it wound up being Shinji Sasazaki, and he asked us what we were training for, and that’s how I got involved in it.

MB: Ok. That’s interesting. I know that the PWFG had a similar thing going where they had Masami Soronaka, who was living in Florida at the time, scouting talent for them.

BS: Yeah, pretty much.

MB: That leads me to my next thing… you really impressed me with your debut, because you weren’t the first one there, I mean, I think that JT Southern was there, and Tom Burton was there before you arrived, and I’m assuming that they were recruited by Sasazaki as well?

BS: Yes.

MB: But you could tell, that while they could probably be fine in an American style of pro wrestling, they weren’t really clicking in the paired down shoot style, and what really impressed me was that even though you could tell that you still had some ways to go, you really took to it way more than those before you.

BS: Yes, I was more aggressive, and I enjoyed it, I loved it. My first match was against Yamazaki, and they loved it.

MB: Ok, so let’s back up a little bit. You meet Sasazaki in the gym, and he tells you about this. How does he explain it, how does he pitch it to you?

BS: He called it “shoot wrestling,” and he showed me some scars that he had on his knees. I didn’t know much about his background, and he spoke in broken English, so all I really knew is that I loved to train, and that he loved to train, and he showed me his drivers license where he was something like 300 pounds, and the time that he’s talking to me he’s around 185 pounds, and I was really impressed that someone that had his kind of knee injuries was able to lose that kind of weight.

MB: Did he tell you that this was going to be a work upfront, or did you have any idea what you were getting yourself into?

BS: No, this is what people don’t understand. Over the years when people say it was a work….some of it was, some of it wasn’t. A lot of the matches that you see that you might say, “that was a work.” No, it wasn’t. I was there. I was one of the guys that was inside there, now I have to say that there was some that was worked, I know that.

MB: Ok. Let me try and rephrase that. Did he ever explain…

BS: No, what he did to me was tell me that it was a shoot style of wrestling, and he wanted to know if I would train with him for a little while and try and pick up on some moves, and stuff like that. He took an interest in me, because he liked my style of wrestling, and I liked it because it was similar to the amateur style that I was used to, and some of the drills that we did. And I also did pro wrestling before that. Me and my younger brother did pro wrestling before this. Did you know that?

MB: No, I didn’t know that.

BS: Yes, a little bit, but it was short-lived, but what I liked about this, was that it was more like a shoot, and it was more authentic, and when people talk about works, I knew what a work was, because of my involvement in American pro wrestling. But when a lot of these matches come up on the internet, and people say things like, “oh they were working,” I don’t pay any attention to it, because some of it was, and some of it wasn’t, and it bothers you, because the training that you did, was the same kind of training that you would do if you were having to fight every day. There were times they would say to us, “Ok, now this is going to be a shoot.”

MB: Ok. Now would the average situation, or the average match be something like, “Ok we want you to go in there, and you’re going to pretty much spar, you’re going to be shooting, more or less, until you have the ending, this is who we want to go over, and this is how we want the match to end?”

BS: Well, sometimes over there in Japan, they would have you spar one with another. They would have you shoot, to determine the winner.

MB: I know that Ken Shamrock mentioned something similar to that. He said that when he first met with Duane Koslowski, that Koslowski didn’t want to put him over, because of his Greco-Roman background.

BS: Right, right.

MB: So, I guess Fujiwara’s solution to this was to have the two of them go shoot in the back to see who wins.

BS: Yeah, that’s how they did some things, depending on who you were, they did that a lot of times.

MB: So basically you have the idea that it’s going to be pro wrestling, but more in the vein of a shooting style?

BS: Yeah.

MB: Did you get to meet anybody before this? Before your match with Yamazaki did you get to meet Takada

BS: No, I never got to meet Takada.

MB: So, they were just like, “There’s the ring, have a go!”

BS: Actually, the first time I met Takada I was in his corner, and I knew that he was a big figure, but I didn’t get to meet him the first time I was there. What they did was take the Americans to the gym, so we could train, or do whatever we were going to do, and then take us back to the hotel.

MB: So, they had a handler that spoke English?

BS: Yeah, a handler, or you could call them a “green boy,” someone that was supposed to pick you up. *Laughs*

MB: *Laughing* Yeah, there are always lots of stories about the “green boys.” Ok, so going in, was this only supposed to be a one off, where you would wrestle Yamazaki and that’s it, or did they have plans on using you more?

BS: Their only plans were to put me in with Yamazaki and see how I did.

MB: Well, I have to say that you did a lot better, not that I want to say anything bad about him, than JT Southern. You could tell that he was not in his element.

BS: Yeah, he was on a different avenue, basically.

MB: Alright, so they did show you some submissions before you got into this? Did they show you any ankle locks, or leg-locks?

BS: No, they didn’t show me anything. The only ankle locks I knew, were from Sasazaki.

MB: So, he showed you a few things?

BS: Yes, Sasazaki and I trained together, and we did stuff together. Basically, he was my coach before Robinson.

MB: Ok, so going in there against Yamazaki, (it was a great debut btw), what were your thoughts on this, were you nervous going into this?

BS: Yes, I was nervous and excited, I mean, I had never been outside of the country, and for me to go over and experience that, I was as excited as you could get.

MB: Did you know anything about him going in?

BS: Actually, I got invited over to Yamazaki’s place for dinner, and he showed me a video of him, and I was like “Holy shit! This guy is awesome!” And that was all that I had seen of him, thus far.

MB: How well did he speak English?

BS: He didn’t speak English, hardly at all. The majority of them spoke broken English, though they spoke better English than I spoke Japanese! *Laughs*

MB: Well, obviously they must have liked you, because they brought you back. Now I’m going off of memory here, but I believe your next match was a tag match, but your third match was against Yoji Anjo, and that was your first win I believe, so they must have saw some potential in you.

BS: Yeah, the training we were doing with Sasazaki, like when we would lift weights, or when there was a workout, we were there to WORK OUT. He wanted you to jump rope, and when he looked at you, he wanted to see someone that was up to par to being a fighter.

MB: How did that work anyway? After your Yamazaki fight, did they just basically say, “Hey you were great, and we would like you to come back?”

BS: Actually, I didn’t think I did so well. I mean I didn’t think so anyway. I came back to my mother, and my stepdad, who was there with his wife, and they gave us some balloons. I was like, “What’s this?” And they said, “They’re balloons, that means we would like you to come back.” And once they did that, I felt good about it.

MB: So for your 2nd, 3rd, match, etc, did you fly to Japan, and get some time to train, to prepare for a match, or did you pretty much have to just show up, and be ready to go?

BS: Usually they gave you a three-day window. That three days was what you had to work with, and you needed two of those days to deal with jet lag! They would pick you up, take you to the gym, have you train, feed you, and take you back to the hotel, and it was never more then 6-7 days before I had to head back home, so it was a quick trip.

MB: Ok, so you didn’t get any prolonged times to train at this stage?

BS: No, when we first went, I can remember some of these guys, like Tom Burton, and Steve Nelson, people like that, what we did when we got there to deal with the jet lag… Have you ever been to Japan?

MB: No, I haven’t.

BS: Ok, so over in Japan it didn’t matter what kind of hotel you went to everything was always really nice as far as the tile, there was never any kind of drywall, everything was tile, or some kind of stone, and it was always really nice, so because the rooms were small, we would turn on the hot water and put towels under the door, and try and turn it into a steam room before going to bed, and we would try and stay up as long as we could to try and recover from the jet lag. It was crazy, but that’s what we did.

MB: What was it like working with Anjo in the ring, what were your thoughts on that first win?

BS: I thought he was pretty slick at the time. I thought he was an all-around decent guy, and he actually spoke pretty good English out of all of them. Actually, I think he spoke really good English because at one time he lived in England, up until he was 5 years old, or something like that.

MB: At the end of 1991, at the giant end-of-year show that the UWFI had, you faced James Warring, and this show was interesting for a number of reasons, because not only was there all the press due to Takada facing Trevor Brebick, but also you facing Warring, who was still a champion at that time.

BS: He had won all 4 kickboxing titles and was the current IBF cruiserweight world champion.

MB: I watched that match, and I have to ask, what happened there?! That was one of the strangest things I’ve seen.

BS: Well, this is the way they did it… If you look, I’ve got some old posters in the back *Editors Note: Scott is referring to a promotional poster that had hanging up in his gym. James Warring pulled out of this fight temporarily and was briefly replaced by Ernest Simmons* This was one of the few matches were they offered me a chance to come to Japan and do some more training there, so I got to go and train for six weeks, to prepare to face this guy. At the time, me being young, and me liking challenges, I wanted to do it. But the person they wanted was James Warring. When we got to New York to do a press conference kind of thing, he didn’t show up, but he was the one that they were trying to get, and they wound up filling him in with another guy, he’s one the board back there (Ernest Simmons). Then two weeks before the fight was supposed to happen, James Warring comes back into the picture, so to me they were trying to pull one over on me, because they both had the same promoter, or the same manager. The whole time they wanted James, because he was an accomplished kickboxer, and the current IBF cruiserweight champion, but they had this other guy scheduled instead.

Original promotional poster for the 12-21-91 UWFI event. This poster showed Billy Scott slated to face Ernest Simmons, but that didn’t come to fruition.


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Re: Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA
« Reply #49 on: August 22, 2020, 03:36:42 PM »
*Billy Scott Interview: Part 1 Continued....*

MB: Ok, so if I’m understanding this correctly, there was some apprehensiveness on Warring’s part?

BS: There was. They came to me and said “Hey, this is what we want you to do, we’re going to have this big fight, and would you be willing to come here and train for it?” And I told them that I would, and they told me that James Warring is the one that they wanted to put me in there with, but somewhere along the way, things didn’t work out, and I’m now fighting someone else. I don’t know if it was money, or what, but when I get to Japan and start training, they started advertising this other guy, (Ernest Simmons), so I think that I’m fighting him, and two weeks before the fight they came to me and said, “You’re going to fight James Warring now.” So, to me they were trying to protect people’s images.

MB: Ok, so basically they said, “We want you to fight James Warring,” and then they were like, “No he’s backing out, we got someone else,” and then at the last minute, “It’s Warring again?”

BS: Yeah, they couldn’t get things worked out with who they wanted in Warring, so they had this other guy, which to me, after looking back on things, and I’ve looked back on this a lot, I’m like, this was crazy, because all that time, you are training to face one guy, now all of the sudden you have to fight someone else.

MB: I watched the fight, and I don’t know if you ever saw, or heard about this, but during one of the early PWFG shows Takaku Fuke fought Lawi Napataya, who was a Thai boxer, and he actually had two fights there, the first one was with him, and the 2nd one was with Minoru Suzuki, but both were shoots, and the first one was hilarious because obviously they didn’t really think the rules through, because that ring was even smaller than the one you had to fight Warring in. Here you had a very small ring, and you have a very skilled Thai kickboxer in Napataya, who was completely lighting up Fuke in the standup. Now Fuke had very good takedown skills, but he would constantly get caught up in the ropes, every time he would take Napataya down, and this would just keep going on and on, and to make matters more hilarious, Napataya was having his cornermen grease him down inbetween rounds! Now my question is, were you frustrated during this fight? For one things, it seemed like he was using his reach and his height to good effect, and he also seemed very apprehensive, and cautious, and you would have to keep taking some shots before you could take him down, and when you finally get that takedown, he gets the rope escape, and you have to do that all over again.

BS: Yeah, it was aggravating, because that’s how the rules were set up. That’s the only way that him and his manager would take the fight, is if the rules were like the way they were. They wanted rounds, and we didn’t use rounds, but they insisted on having rounds for this fight. The judges were supposed to deduct points when we used the ropes to escape, but what he was trying to do (because he said that he was going to knock me out in the first round) and he did knock me down in the first round, and if you remember from watching it, I got the heel hook, but he rolled, and he was long enough to get to the rope. I remember feeling something pop when I had him in that heel hook, but he was still able to stand back up. During that fight he always stayed close to the ropes, and that’s because of his reach. He made it to where I had to get close to him, to try and pick him up and take him down and submit him, or use palm strikes, or whatever, and as a fighter, I’m getting aggravated because I’m trying to FIGHT. I’m trying to go to him with the palm strikes, he’s punching, and as soon as I get ahold of him, he gets a rope break, because his whole idea was that he was going to knock me out.

MB: Now while you’re in the middle of this are you thinking, “Wow, having unlimited rope escapes, is the stupidest idea in the world.”

BS: *Laughs* Yeah, I thought it was silly.

MB: Yeah, I thought the same thing, of course, at this time we’re breaking new ground. I don’t think anyone is thinking about the problems that are going to come up, but had there been let’s say… I don’t know… ten rope escapes, just pick a number… now obviously he would have lost eventually because he would have ran out of rope escapes.

BS: Yes, first off, it should have been set up that way, but where they were, at that time, they were trying to do a mix style of fight. In those days if you went to a karate tournament, you saw karate, jiu-jitsu, you saw jiu-jitsu, boxing, you saw boxing, and this is really how mixed martial arts started to come about. Now the thing with Trevor Berbick against Takada, I do know that when we were in New York at that press conference, Trevor mentioned that he didn’t want to have anything to do with kicks below the waist, and that’s why during that fight you could see him waving his arms, and looking shocked. Now this is how bad people are….when we were at Mickey Mantle’s restaurant, where the press conference was being held, his own people kept telling him that they would take care of it, and make sure that the fight had the stipulations that there wouldn’t be any kicks below the waist, but the Japanese didn’t want any of that, they wanted their style of fighting, against a boxer like that. They saw Trevor, and they saw someone with a big name that they could use, but had Trevor known that the fight was going to have kicks below the waist, he never would have taken it.

Scott vs Warring

MB: So, you think that Trevor went into this with the wrong understand, that he probably thought he was going to have an American style kickboxing fight with no kicks below the waist allowed?

BS: Yeah, he thought that he was going to be able to go in and just punch with Takada. His people were the ones that did this to him, because if he didn’t fight, they didn’t get paid either.

MB: *Laughs* I didn’t think of that, but that makes sense. I wonder if a lot of fighters get screwed like that, especially when there’s communication issues.

BS: When I was in New York, Trevor was adamant that there was to be no kicking below the waist, and his lawyer was there as well. He was some guy that had a doo-rag on his head, and looked like he just came in off the street, but anyway, to make a long story short, to me his crew lied to him so he would fight and they could make the money, and they didn’t give a rats ass about him.

MB: I’m glad you shed some light on that, because when you watch that fight you can see that Trevor doesn’t seem to know what’s going on.

BS: Yeah, that’s why at one point in the fight you can see him yell back to his corner. One of the people in his corner was his attorney, and the other one was his coach.

MB: As this is going on, are you aware of some of the other promotions out there, like RINGS, and Akira Maeda, Shooto and Sayama, Fujiwara, etc?

BS: Sure.

MB: Did they ever express any interest in you, or did you get to see what they were doing?

BS: No. I guess you could say that I’m old fashioned, more so now, but even then, my upbringing was that unless you have some type of a conflict that you stick with what you start. I didn’t have any kind of conflict with the UWFI, and I was treated right, so I had no reason to move on, at that time. But I did know about rings, and of course Tamura went to Rings later, although I didn’t know what the ordeal there was.