YOKOHAMA, October 9, 2006 -- J.Z. Calvan of Brazil and Yoshihiro Akiyama of Japan emerged victorious tonight in the Hero's Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Championship Tournaments event at the Yokohama Arena.
Hero's is FEG's popular mixed martial arts production. Due the tremendous energy and endurance demands these bouts place on fighters, the quarterfinals were held this August at Ariake. Today's event featured the semifinal and final bouts for both the Hero's Middleweight (70kg/154lb) and Light Heavyweight (85kg/187lb) classes, along with a trio of Superfights.
Twenty-three year-old mixed martial arts fighter J.Z. Calvan won the Middleweight crown with a majority decision win over Caol Uno of Japan.
Calvan had worked a front sleeper to score a fast first-round submission over compatriot Rani Yahya in his semifinal bout; while Uno had taken a unanimous decision against Canadian Ivan Menjivar in his semi, a contest in which the pair stayed on their feet, passing frequently with punches and kicks.
The final began with Calvan planted center ring and Uno circling, both men jabbing and tossing in low kicks. Calvan got the advantage midway through, hitting Uno with three unanswered punches to put him on the mat. Uno twisted his way out of trouble and soon the two were back on their feet. But again it was Calvan's power that prevailed as the Brazilian's fists earned him another takedown and he came in for a second mount. Uno pumped his legs to keep his opponent at bay until the bell sounded to end the round.
Calvan achieved a side mount midway through the second, but Uno once again twisted free and found his feet. A double leg takedown by Calvan brought the Brazilian a chance to inflict, but Uno was good in guard. Again the Japanese fighter got up, before the relentless Calvan smashed him to the canvas one final time, and there the pair twisted away until the final bell. One judge saw a draw, the others marked the win for Calvan, who was all smiles as he draped himself in the Brazilian flag to celebrate his victory.
In the Middleweight reserve fight, Kazuyuki Miyata of Japan got an early takedown and put the punches in to bloody Australian jiu-jitsu fighter Ian Schaffa's right eye. The ringside doctor had a look and stopped the contest, giving Miyata the win.
The Middleweight bouts were conducted under Hero's Rules with a 5Min x 2R w/ 1R Ext format.
In the Light Heavyweight Tournament (conducted under Hero's Rules with a 1R x 10Min, 2R x 5Min, w/1 ExtR x 5Min format), Judo Olympian Yoshihiro Akiyama took the belt with a thrilling win over Dutch Kickboxer Melvin Manhoef.
In his semifinal bout, Akiyama showed both power and precision in planting a high kick on wrestling great Kestutis Smirnovas of Lithuania. Akiyama followed up with a right straight punch then unloaded a barrage of blows on his downed opponent to prompt a referee stop for the TKO victory. Manhoef, meanwhile, was similarly quick in his semi, exploiting a failed takedown attempt by Japanese Judo stylist Shungo Oyama to put in a flurry of kicks and punches and a decisive right hook to earn a date with Akiyama.
The final was fast and furious. Manhoef was the more aggressive combatant at the start, attempting to overpower his opponent with punches. Akiyama got tagged good a couple of times and looked in trouble as he retreated from the blows. But then Manhoef got sloppy with his takedowns. He crashed Akiyama to the canvas but when the two came to rest it was the Japanese fighter who was in superior position. Manhoef squirmed out of danger and the two went to their feet, whereupon Manhoef employed an awkward body slam to get a second takedown, again coming out at a disadvantage on the mat. Now Akiyama was able to wrap his legs round the Dutch fighter's body, coolly extract an arm, and hyperextend for a submission.
"Judo is the best" hollered a teary Akiyama from the winner's circle after the bout.
The Light Heavyweight reserve fight lasted a mere 22 seconds, as Canadian Carlos Newton pumped in a pair of jaw-rattling right uppercuts to floor Tokimitsu Ishizawa of Japan and take the TKO win.
There were three Superfights on the card, fought under Hero's Rules in a 5Min x 2R w/1R Ext format.
The Main Event Superfight featured Don Frye of the United States and former Judo Min Soo Kim from South Korea. The 40 year-old Frye is a veritable mixed martial arts legend; while Kim, who won a silver medal in Judo at the Atlanta Olympics, has a fair bit of experience himself, having taken on top K-1 fighters Bob Sapp, Ray Sefo and Semmy Schilt in Hero's action.
The pair stayed standing through the early going, exchanging low kicks and some solid punches -- Frye kicking at Kim's bandaged right knee, Kim's fists opening a cut over Frye's right eye. The pair went to the mat late in the round and Kim got a mount, but the Korean didn't have the stamina to put a properly punishing pounding on his opponent. The fighters tangled up more in the second, clinching against the ropes. But then, suddenly, just as Kim threw a left, Frye came across with a potent right hook, smacking his opponent's pinna and dropping him in a heap for the KO triumph.
In other Superfights, Brazilian Antonio Silva got a first-round left hook in to drop Georgy Kaysinov of Russia then laid in with the punches to earn a referee stop and KO win; while in a spirited bout between a couple of Japanese fighters, Hideo Tokoro withstood an aggressive early challenge before deftly working an armbar to submit Ken Kaneko.
The Hero's Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Championship Tournaments event attracted a crowd of 10,631 to the Yokohama Arena. It was broadcast live in Japan on the TBS network and in South Korea on OnMedia. For delay-broadcast information in other areas contact your local providers. Visit the K-1 Official Website (www.k-1.co.jp) for complete information.