Sengoku 11 Review

By Adam K. Strong (

World Victory Road held Sengoku 11 yesterday from the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan and was shown on HD Net. Like its rival promotion Dream, Sengoku is a fledgling organization growing out of the tall shadow cast by Pride Fighting Championships. Today’s event goes a very long way in demonstrating World Victory Road’s capability to not only attract talent, but put together a competitive card from top to bottom.

Shigeki Osawa vs. Ronnie Mann

The HD Net telecast opened with 4-0 Shigeki Osawa moving up in competition to take on Britain’s Ronnie Mann, who came into the fight 16-2-1. While Mann was coming off of a triangle choke loss to Hatsu Hioki at Sengoku 8, his wealth of experience carried this fight over his promising opponent. Mann controlled the pace, went for a number of submissions and controlled Osawa’s posture while working from his back. While neither fighter was ever in serious trouble, Mann was able to keep the fight upright for the most part and he earned the unanimous decision over Osawa, who exhibited some exciting slams reminding me of an early day Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

Jim York vs. Dave Herman

Dave Herman is a veteran of Elite XC, who uses “The Blueberry Muffin” as one potential nickname and comes to the ring to the music of Boy George. Riding a two fight win streak including a stoppage of Don “The Predator” Frye in September, Herman faced a much larger opponent in Jim York, who was coming off of a submission loss to Antonio “Big Foot” Silva and looking to get back to his winning ways. While Herman was eight years younger than the 33 year old York, he was giving up 17 pounds. York enjoyed an advantage in the stand up and was able to avoid damage when taken down by Herman’s wrestling. York was able to explode to his feet and get the better of the punching exchanges with his heavy hands. Herman attempted a high kick and fell at 3:10 of the first round. Instead of attempting to use his weight and strength advantage for some ground & pound or keep the fight standing, York inexplicably went for an Achilles Lock submission. Herman kept his composure and brought his right heel down on York’s head no less than ten times before spinning up to his knees to deliver two more punches before the referee stopped the fight at 2:37 of the first round.

Yuji Hoshino vs. Marlon Sandro

Hoshino is a Cage Force veteran riding a 8-0-3 record in his last eleven fights and making his Sengoku debut against the current Featherweight King of Pancrase, Marlon Sandro who was coming off a controversial split decision loss his last time out as part of Sengoku 9’s Grand Prix Final. Sandro was not happy with that decision and did not plan on leaving his fate in the hands of the judges again. Sandro threw some looping punches before clinching with his opponent and attempting a takedown trip. After the referee separated the two from another clinch, Sandro found his range, connecting with a left-right combination that staggered Hoshino against the ropes. Sandro threw a three punch combo, with the right hand stiffening Hoshino and sending him to the canvas.

Sandro asked for a shot at the Featherweight Title after the match.

Yoon Young Kim vs. Akihiro Gono

The gregarious veteran of Pancrase, Pride and UFC, Akihiro Gono suffered a terrible knockout loss in his last fight at Sengoku 9 to Matt Hornbuckle and was riding a three fight losing streak. Yoon Young Kim came to the ring handing out packets of spicy noodle soup to the crowd, living up to the “Shin Ramen” nickname. Gono came to the ring without much fanfare and fought the same way against his less experienced opponent, keeping his hands up and using kicks to keep Kim from landing any effective strikes. Early on in the fight , Gono would not engage Kim either standing up or on the ground, avoiding any potential submissions. In the final round, Gono hurt Kim, but did not press the action enough to finish and it seemed clear that he did not want to get into any tough exchanges.

A win for Gono that should restore some confidence, as he asked for a rematch with Hornbuckle after the fight.

Kevin Randleman vs. Stanislav Nedkov

A matchup of two grapplers, Nedkov came to the ring with a 7-0 record and a win over Travis Wiuff at Sengoku 8. Kevin “The Monster” Randleman was 1-1 in his comeback after a long layoff due to illness and coming off of a loss to Mike Whitehead his last time out. This was a back and forth ground match with takedowns being reversed by each fighter throughout the match. Ultimately, Nedkov was busier and it appeared that Randleman tired just a bit at the end of the second and third rounds and this likely cost him a split decision by allowing his opponent to steal the rounds.

Randleman was originally thought to be fighting Mo Lawal on this card. Look for that fight to possibly occur in StrikeForce on December 19th.

Eiji Mitsuoka vs. Kazunori Yokota

This battle of veteran lightweight fighters who both went deep into the Sengoku Lightweight Grand Prix Tournament was billed as a #1 contenders match for the championship, currently held by Mizuto Hirota.

Mitsuoka came out with some aggressive slams and pressed the action in the first round. As the match progressed Yokota became the aggressor with a variety of sharp punches, a flying knee and a slam, while Mitsuoka began to clutch more than punch. Yokota opened up in the third round while Mitsuoka continued to hold and lean. As the last round ended, Yokota was clearly the aggressor and he earned the decision.

By winning the match, Yokota should have earned a title bout against the champion, whom he has already beaten at Sengoku 6.

Hirokazu Konno vs. Tomoaki Ueyama

In a battle of featherweights dubbed “The fight of the soul” occurred during intermission. “Bull” Konno actually ran away from Ueyama a number of times in the first couple of minutes of the fight until he was slammed at 2:30 of the first round. After some grappling, Konno was tagged from behind while running away from Ueyama and crumpled. Ueyama slapped on the rear naked choke and won a match worthy of being the intermission entertainment.

Satoru Kitaoka vs. Jorge Masvidal

The first Sengoku Lightweight Champion was looking to rebound against Masvidal, who had a fairly disappointing stint in Bellator and was returning to Japan. Kitaoka took Masvidal down early and went for a heel hook, but took a tremendous amount of damage as the taller Cuban used his height and reach advantage to reign down punches. Kitaoka continued to press the ground fight until the 1:00 mark when Masvidal began to assert himself and bloodied the former champ at the end of the first.

Kitaoka again scored a takedown early in the second round but Masvidal did a good job covering up, eventually turning the tide and punishing Kitaoka from the top until he scored the knockout punch three minutes into the second round.

Jorge Santiago vs. Mamed Khalidov

The Sengoku Middleweight Champion faced Mamed Khalidov in a non title bout. Khalidov was last seen in the United States beating Jason Guida in October 2008 in Elite XC. Santiago was slated to face Vitor Belfort at the ill fated Affliction:Trilogy card and was fighting for the first time in 10 months.

After a feeling out process, Santiago took Khalidov down at 3:35 of the first round and continued to attempt to improve his position. Khalidov defended well from the bottom and avoided any punishment until he landed some telling blows from the bottom, reversed positions and pounded out the champion at 2:45 of Round One.

We should see a rematch for the Middleweight Title in the near future.

Michihiro Omigawa vs. Hatsu Hioki

Hatsu Hioki was forced out of the Sengoku Featherweight Tournament due to injuries and was facing the man who replaced him in the Grand Prix. Omigawa was coming off of an impressive run in the same tournament, beating L.C. Davis, Nam Phan and Marlon Sandro, before losing in the final at Sengoku 9.

Hioki scored an early taketown and attempted some ground and pound, but Omigawa defended this well until Hioki nearly finished the fight with an armbar as the round ended. The second round started with exchanges in the stand up with Hioki getting the better of the action. Hioki scored a takedown with 1:30 to go in the second round and took some punches from Omigawa until the round ended in stand up.

As the last round started, Omigawa came out very aggressively, but Hioki matched the effort. The stand up continued with Omigawa pushing the pace, but Hioki landing the better punches. The decision for Omigawa via split decision marred an excellent finale, as I cannot discern what warranted the nod, other than Omigawa’s continued forward movement. After the match, Omigawa acknowledged to the crowd that he thought he lost the fight.

Sengoku is growing into a very credible promotion and this fight card was their best effort to date.

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