(In Trigg’s defense, he had just gotten out of the pool.)
Sengoku’s “Fourth Battle” went down today in Saitama, Japan, featuring the long-awaited returns of Takanori Gomi and Frank Trigg, and the first round of their lightweight grand prix. In a non-tourney main event bout, Gomi faced 5-1 Korean DEEP vet Seung Hwan Bang — who should have been steamrolled by the legendary “Fireball Kid” — but Bang hung in for all three rounds. Eventually, Gomi’s accurate striking and control of the fight’s pace convinced the judges to unanimously give him the win. Trigg’s opponent was Makoto Takimoto, a judoka and PRIDE vet who came into the fight with a 4-4 MMA record, and as with Gomi, the fight was a little more difficult than it should have been. Trigg dominated the standup and inflicted major damage from top positions on the ground, but Takimoto nearly caught Twinkle Toes in a kimura in the second round, and spent a lot of the third on top; still, it wasn’t enough to prevent the judges from giving Trigg the decision after the fight went the distance.
The first round of Sengoku’s lightweight tournament held some surprises as three big names were unceremoniously bounced out of the competition. The HIT Squad’s Clay French was tapped in 31 seconds via achilles lock by former Pancrase mainstay Satoru Kitaoka, and jiu-jitsu ace Rodrigo Damm also suffered a first-round submission at the hands of Eiji Mitsuoka. Former IFL lightweight champ Ryan Schultz, who was the biggest favorite to win his first GP match, got his lights put out by a superman-punch from Cage Force champ Mizuto Hirota in the second round of their fight. Full results after the jump; videos to come.