The two-event Rizin Fighting Federation debut is being condensed into a tape-delayed three hour broadcast on Spike this morning dubbed “Breakfast with Fedor.” We’ll be bringing some random thoughts throughout the broadcast, so make sure to tune in to us here this morning to follow along! If you’d like to see results from both cards, click the links: (Day One) (Day Two)
-After a solid opening video, Rizin General Manager Nobuhiko Takada comes out with a massive light show, drums bringing him out, then he got in the ring shirtless to welcome fans to the show. Alright then.
-They run through some brief highlights and preview what’s to come. We’ll be getting the absolute decimation of Kazushi Sakuraba up first at the hands of Shinya Aoki. If you missed the clip from the other day, I suppose stick around for a disgusting display of referee incompetence.
Shinya Aoki vs. Kazushi Sakuraba: The fight was essentially over as soon as Aoki got the mount two minutes in, because Sakuraba offered up almost zero resistance to anything thrown at him on the ground. That this beating lasted another five minutes or so was pretty gross. There’s been some chatter criticizing Aoki for beating Sakuraba up rather than looking for subs more, but he’s a fighter, he’s throwing punches until the referee stops it. He said he wanted to do his best Ben Askren impression in this one, and he lived up to that. Still gross.
-Despite the grossness of the fight itself and the stoppage, Aoki’s post-fight reaction is pretty great. He’s in near tears as Sakuraba comes over to congratulate him, and they shared a solid moment as he took out one of his heroes. The fight was unnecessary, but nice moment afterward for Aoki.
-King Mo is up next, and they air highlights of the first round of the tournament from night one. Seems we’ll get the semifinals and finals on this broadcast, unless they decide to go highlights on the semifinals as well.
Muhammed Lawal vs. Teodoras Aukstuolis: Lawal was working the jab really well in what was a primarily slow paced first round, busting up Aukstuolis’ face and mostly avoiding damage. That was a vast majority of the round in this one, with neither looking to bring it to the ground and instead standing in front of one another. Lawal threw in some showboating, not out of character, but he continued to land strikes while avoiding damage.
-In the second round, Lawal turned to a takedown/slam after Aukstuolis scored a few strikes. He kept him down later in the round and scored with ground and pound and control to solidify a spot in the finals.
Jiri Prochazka vs. Vadim Nemkov: Nemkov scored an early takedown and went for a D’Arce choke, but he lost it and Prochazka fought back to his feet well. Nemkov scored another takedown, but had to hold off a really solid armbar attempt. He stood up and threw some strikes before dropping back to the guard, and held top control for a bit. Nemkov did some considerable work on top, but Prochazka finally worked back to his feet again and started pressing forward. Nemkov wound up on his back after attempting another takedown and getting countered. Nemkov managed to get out after Prochazka had his back briefly. He then scored another takedown of his own into the mount. He gave up position in an armbar attempt and Prochazka took top position. He stood up and threw a stomp to the body. He barely missed a soccer kick, but passed to side control, then got to mount. Nedkov gave up his back and Prochazka attacked for a choke. Nemkov somehow escaped and got to his feet. Prochazka started lunging ahead and landed a big flurry of strikes late in the round. He did some significant damage, and an exhausted Nemkov could not continue after the end of the round, sending Prochazka into the finals against Lawal. Significant brawl.
-They flash back to night one with Hideo Tokoro’s slick first round armbar submission over Kizaemon Saiga. There were some nice grappling exchanges before he finally got to the armbar finish. Saiga made it just over five minutes with Tokoro attacking, but the armbar was tight off a nice roll.
-More undercard stuff, this time featuring Bellator vet Brennan Ward against Ken Hasegawa. It was a grappling heavy first round, with Ward attempting several submissions but Hasegawa holding position. Through the first ten minutes it was Hasegawa’s fight. Early in the second, Hasegawa shot in for yet another takedown, and Ward grabbed for a guillotine choke. He held off a takedown attempt, then score a nice throw of his own. He got in a soccer kick to the hear, taking advantage of the organization’s rules, and scrambled as Hasegawa tried to escape to stay on top. He eventually worked to Hasegawa’s back, locked on a rear naked choke, and forced the tap. Solid performance overall.
-Time for some Gracie action, as Gracie takes on Asen Yamamoto. He nearly scored an armbar early, then started attacking for triangles. Yamamoto got out for a bit, but Gracie got it back to the ground. He continued working for the triangle, finally found it, and forced the tap. Nice finish to a solid fight. Kind of a theme for a lot of these two nights. Some solid fights and nice finishes, a few bizarre moments, lots of spectacle, but not devoid of entertainment.
Gabi Garcia vs. Lei’d Tapa: This was a couple of big women squaring off. Tapa stumbled Garcia early, and they swung wildly at one another before things slowed down. Garcia started connecting as they settled into a different pace. This was extremely devoid of technique, but Garcia’s size and power eventually came into play, as she rocked Tapa up against the ropes and continued pressing until she got her to the grown. She got half guard, landed a bunch of strikes on top, and forced the ref to stop it. About how that one could have been expected to play out.
-Next up was Andy Souwer’s first round KO over Yuichiro Nagashima. Souwer actually wound up on his back off an early takedown out of a striking exchange, but his defensive game was sound on the ground. He worked his way back up after kicking Nagashima off and started throwing bombs. Nagashima rolled for a leg, but Souwer defended well to get free. He started throwing significant strikes from top position after countering the hold, and added in some knees on the ground. He rocked him again with some more knees, then stepped up and stomped on his head. Nagashima wound up getting to his feet, but Souwer just lit him up with a massive combination against the ropes that sent him back down and ended the fight.
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal vs. Jiri Prochazka (Tourney Finals): Lawal worked much like he did early in the night, using his jab and trying to out-strike Prochazka. When that didn’t exactly work out, he scored a takedown and started throwing down ground and pound. Prochazka tried to defend, but Lawal continued to hold position for a significant amount of damage. Prochazka got back to his feet, and he tried to rush forward. As he did so, he got knocked the hell out with a brutal strike, face planting to the canvas unconscious, and earning Lawal a $300,000 payout.
-We get some rhapsodical waxing on the part of Chute Boxe regarding the end of Pride and now the return to Japan from Noboyuki Sakakibara.
-Now it’s time for Fedor.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Jaideep Singh: Singh tried to use his length on the outside early. They locked up on the ropes and traded strikes in a clinch, with Emelianenko the one to separate. He landed a hard right hand, then threw a flurry of strikes before grabbing a body lock on the ropes. He took Singh doown and worked from side control. Singh tried to scramble, but Emelianenko stayed on him, then worked to mount. He tried to posture up to throw strikes, and Singh finally just gave up, literally tapping to strikes as Emelianenko had him locked up. Alright then, there’s that. This fight said nothing of Fedor’s status as an MMA fighter in 2015, and though it was a showcase it’s a largely meaningless return. Unless and until he fights someone legitimate, meaninglessness is going to be a key point.
-Thanks for joining us this morning. We’ll have some more New Year’s Eve material throughout the day before signing out for the year this evening, so stick around with us to close out 2015 on MMATorch!
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