Kuzuhisa Watanabe Comes up Short in MMA Debut at Dynamite

| December 31, 2010 | 12:05 pm | 1 Reply

Walking toward the ring in the center of the packed Saitama Super Arena, Kuzuhisa Watanabe had a sly grin on his face. With Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” booming through the speakers, the former professional boxer was steps away from making his Mixed Martial Arts debut at FEG’s ‘Dynamite! 2010’ New Year’s show. His opponent, Hideo Tokoro, is a 10 year veteran in the sport and despite a tedious 27-23-1 record, has had a cavalcade of experience; a win over Royler Gracie and a notable draw with legend Royce Gracie.

On paper, this was going to be not quite as bad as Gracie/Jimmerson, but an easy night for any fighter with experience and any remote grappling prowess. What ensued though was an entertaining back-and-forth test of wills.

Tokoro surprised no one by taking the awkwardly postured Watanabe down from the get-go. What was surprising was the reversal initiated by Watanabe that got the two back to their feet. Another takedown followed, in which Tokoro attempted his first of many armbar attempts from mount, in which he had both legs locked around Watanabe’s neck; somehow there was no tap, and Tokoro resorted to taking the back. Another escape and standup followed, in which Watanabe finally make contact with Tokoro, a stiff right that sent the grappler on his back. Watanabe once again was taken down in his attempt to finish the fight before the bell sounded to end the round.

Round two and three were business as usual, with repeated takedowns, and at least a half a dozen armbar attempts. What was so intriguing about this was that a boxer making his MMA debut was rolling out and powering out of submission after submission. Eventually, he ran out of will, strength, and seam and succumbed to the final armbar of the night midway through the third round.

Though Tokoro is no Roger Gracie, he is seasoned enough to dominate a contest complimentary to his skill set. While he got a finish and was in control for a vast majority of the fight, the statement was not all that profound. Both fighters exchanged kind words with one another and will definitely look back on the fight with fondness.

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Category: Dream, Exclusive, MMA

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