Friday, January 15, 2010

MMA Flashback: Shinya Aoki Tops JZ Calvan

By Ross Everett

After a controversial no contest in their first matchup, there was no doubt as to the winner of the DREAM 2 rematch between Shina Aoki and JZ Calvan. Aoki controlled the fight from the opening bell and used a wide repertoire of submission attempts to keep his opponent off balance. Most impressive was Aokis dominance of the ground game, which many observers considered to be JZs edge in the contest.

Aoki scored early with a takedown and controlled Calvan on the ground, working a heel lock attempt before taking his opponents back and attempting a rear naked choke. In the second, Aoki put on a submission clinic and demonstrated his ungodly flexibility as he spun from an armbar to a triangle choke and back again. Calvan was able to counter or escape, but looked completely out of sync as he generated almost no offense whatsoever.

Aoki was very emotional in his postfight speech to the crowd, while JZC just looked disgusted with himself for losing such a one sided contest. JZC had grumbled about the no-contest in their DREAM 1 matchup, and the one sided decision made this an even more bitter pill to swallow.

With the victory Aoki advances to the semifinals of the lightweight GP tournament. Aoki has made some statements in the Japanese press leading up to the fight that win or lose there would be no way hed be ready for the next round with only half the preparation time as the rest of the field. Hopefully the impressive victory and the enthusiastic response from the holiday week Tokyo crowd will change his mind.

The rest of the card was devoted to the opening round of the middleweight GP tournament. Taiei Kin defeated Minowa-man Ikuhisa Minowa in a very closely contested and entertaining fight. Despite Kin taking a 3-0 unanimous decision (DREAM judges, like their PRIDE predecessors, judge the fight in its entirety) the first round could have gone either way. Minowa was clearly tired in the 2nd, and that likely sealed the deal for Kin.

Korean judoka Yoon Dong-Sik also advanced with a unanimous decision victory over Shungo Oyama. Most of the damage in this fight came from Yoons ground and pound from full mount, and he controlled the tempo from the outset. Two one sided contests followed, with Zeleg Galesic submitting Magomed Sultanakhmadov via arm bar in a minute and a half of the first round. That was followed by the MMA debut of former Pac 10 wrestling standout Ian Murphy, who had a worst case scenario draw against BJJ specialist Ronaldo Jacare.

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