I have to admit, I was pulling for Michihiro Omigawa to shock the world and win Sengoku’s Featherweight Grand Prix, after entering the tournament in March with a 4-7-1 record. But the way he reached the finals at today’s Sengoku Ninth Battle show in Saitama, Japan, was questionable to say the least, and he wound up losing to a guy who shouldn’t have even been there in the first place. Let’s start at the beginning…
Tournament favorite Hatsu Hioki dominated Masanori Kanehara in the tourney’s semifinals, putting Kanehara in constant danger with submission attempts and ground-and-pound. Though Kanehara was able to make a late rally, the fight went to Hioki by unanimous decision. Unfortunately, it was discovered that Hioki suffered a concussion during the match, and wouldn’t be able to continue to the finals.
Chan Sung Jung choked out Matt Jaggers later that night in the GP’s reserve bout, and should have rightfully taken Hioki’s place. But Jung, who had previously been robbed by the judges in his quarterfinal match against Masanori Kanehara in May — a decision that many fans chalked up to the fact that Jung is Korean — was insulted again today when it was quickly decided that Kanehara would fill in for Hioki. So basically, the alternate bout was absolutely meaningness, due to the fact that a Korean won it.
But the stupidity didn’t stop there. In the GP’s other semifinal bout, Marlon Sandro easily handled Michihiro Omigawa, arguably winning all three rounds with his striking. Problem 1: Two judges somehow ruled it a draw. Problem 2: To prevent draws in tournament compeition, Sengoku has a rule that says that judges are required to cast a "must decision" vote in case of stalemate. Which makes sense, since somebody has to advance — except the two judges who ruled the fight a draw cast their must-votes for Omigawa. Another case of racially biased judging?
Few could have predicted a Kanehara/Omigawa final, but the two did their best to put on a show despite coming off of 15-minute beatings. Both had their moments, but in the end, two judges saw it for Kanehara for staying more active with his grappling and uglying up Omigawa even further with strikes. The other judge called it a draw — but cast his "must decision" for Omigawa. Anyway, Masanori Kanehara is your new Sengoku featherweight champion.
In the night’s lightweight championship bout, Satoru Kitaoka lost his belt to Mizuto Hirota in a back-and-forth war with that ended with Hirota overwhelming Kitaoka with knees to the head on the ground. Elsewhere on the card, Kazuo Misaki scored a first-round submission over PRIDE/UFC vet Kazuhiro Nakamura, Fedor-slayer Blagoi Ivanov picked up his second MMA win in a close decision over Kazuyuki Fujita, and Dan Hornbuckle sent Akihiro Gono to the hospital with a vicious face-kick KO. Full results and lots more videos are below.
– Mizuto Hirota def. Satoru Kitaoka via TKO, 2:50 of round 4
– Masanori Kanehara def. Michihiro Omigawa via split decision
– Kazuo Misaki def. Kazuhiro Nakamura via technical submission (guillotine choke), 3:03 of round 1
– Blagoi Ivanov def. Kazuyuki Fujita via split decision
– Dan Hornbuckle def. Akihiro Gono via KO, 2:50 of round 3
– Eiji Mitsuoka def. Clay French via submission (guillotine choke), 1:51 of round 1
– Chan Sung Jung def. Matt Jaggers via submission (triangle choke), 1:25 of round 2
– Michihiro Omigawa def Marlon Sandro via split decision
– Hatsu Hioki def. Masanori Kanehara via unanimous decision
– Yoshihiro Nakao def. Mu Bae Choi via unanimous decision
– Ikuo Usuda def. Koji Ando via unanimous decision
– Shigeki Osawa def. Toru Harai via TKO, 4:24 of round 1
– Ryosuke Komori def. Takeshi Numajiri via TKO, 3:25 of round 1
(Omigawa vs. Sandro)
(Kanehara vs. Omigawa)
(Hirota vs. Kitaoka)
(Ivanov vs. Fujita)
(Misaki vs. Nakamura)
(The Hornbuckle/Gono KO)