A Sengoku 15
fight card that was short on big names and short on fireworks and probably would have been quickly forgotten will instead be remembered for the Japanese judges giving an absolutely ridiculous decision to a Japanese fighter in the main event.
That main event featured Englishman James Zikic
opening a cut over Hiroshi Izumi
's right eye early in the fight and controlling the bout standing up most of the rest of the way, and it appeared that Zikic would win an easy unanimous decision. Instead, when the judges' scorecards were announced, Izumi had won a split decision.
Sengoku has tried hard to push Izumi, who has a great background, but the truth is he's just not that good. Zikic beat him handily, and it's absurd that the judges handed Izumi the victory.
In other Sengoku 15 action:Brian Cobb
, the only American on the card, won a very close split decision over Kazunori Yokota
. Cobb, who was a good college wrestler at Cal State Bakersfield, was able to control Yokota on the ground for most of the fight.Maximo Blanco
knocked out Kiuma Kunioku late in the first round with a pair of vicious uppercuts and a couple more punches on the ground for good measure. Blanco is a devastating striker with a great amateur wrestling pedigree, and he's ready for a higher level of competition.
Kazuo "Yoshiki" Takahashi beat Chang Seob Lee by first-round submission with a sweet armlock in a fairly irrelevant fight between two guys who could be charitably described as past their primes. It was Takahashi's first win in more than five years, while Lee's MMA record dropped to 3-6.
In one Sengoku welterweight tournament semifinal, Yasubey Enomoto
beat Taisuke "Gouten" Okuno in an absolutely dominant unanimous decision, showing off a tremendous display of striking. In the other semifinal, Keita "K-Taro" Nakamura beat Takuya Wada by submission due to punches, with Nakamura getting Wada into a crucifix position and hammering away with punch after punch after punch until Wada tapped out. K-Taro vs. Enomoto should be a great welterweight title bout on Sengoku's December 30 show.
And four fights took place in the Sengoku bantamweight tournament:
* Manabu Inoue beat Jae Hyun So by unanimous decision in a dull fight to open the night.
* Shunichi Shimizu beat Wataru Takahashi by unanimous decision in a much more entertaining second fight of the night.
* WEC veteran Akitoshi Tamura
beat Shoko Sato by split decision in a fight that was more competitive than most people expected, and that almost had to be stopped when a big cut opened over Tamura's eye.
* Taiyo Nakahara beat Shintaro Ishiwatari by split decision in a very exciting fight that included both standing and brawling on the feet and some sophisticated grappling on the ground.