Japan's Sengoku mixed martial arts organization thought it had a star in the making in Hiroshi Izumi
, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist in judo who's a popular athlete in one of his country's most popular Olympic sports. But Izumi's debut did not go well: He was knocked out in the first round by a kickboxer from New Zealand named Antz Nansen.
Nansen, like Izumi, was making his professional MMA debut. But while Izumi looked slow and tentative, Nansen looked like a man who knew how to fight. It was a devastating right hand that sent Izumi flat on his back, and although Izumi tried to keep fighting (and the referee tried to prolong the inevitable) it was only a matter of time before Nansen knocked Izumi cold, which he finally did with a 1-2 punch combination.
The fight was a great showing by Nansen, and a disappointing one for Izumi.
In Sengoku's co-main event, the former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva, who is banished to fighting in Japan after failing a steroid test in the United States, finished Jim York by first-round triangle choke. Silva has suggested that he might return to the U.S. if the athletic commissions allow him to, and there is talk that he might sign with Strikeforce. But Silva said in the ring afterward that he plans to keep fighting in Sengoku, and a battle with Josh Barnett -- also banned in the U.S. for failing a steroid test -- could be around the corner.
Other Sengoku results:
Makoto Takimoto beat Jae Sun Lee by unanimous decision
Kazunori Yokota beat Ryan Schultz by first-round KO (punch)
Fabio Silva beat Ryo Kawamura by second-round TKO (punches)
Dan Hornbuckle beat Nick Thompson by second-round TKO (punches)
Joe Doerksen beat Takenori Sato by first-round KO (punches)
Maximo Blanco beat Tetsuya Yamada by second-round TKO (punches)