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Sengoku: Seventh Battle – Round-Up and Musings

Sengoku kicked off their featherweight tournament in impressive style, delivering knockouts, upsets and some slick submissions. It seems that, despite the world’s featherweight talent being thinly spread across many organizations, their effort to crown a champion may deliver a formidable winner.
Hatsu Hioki looked perhaps the most talented fighter in the tournament, showing exactly how grappling should be done, transitioning beautifully from solid top control to technically perfect chains of submission attempts. He eventually snagged his wily opponent, Chris Manuel, in the first round with a triangle choke turned armbar.
Nam Phan and Hideki Kadowaki flung their grappling skills aside and elected to slug it out in their contest, until eventually Phan found Kadowaki’s jaw with a wild swinging hook, knocking him down and earning the KO win.
Michihiro Omigawa upset the bookies, giving LC Davis a judo-style grappling clinic on route to a clear cut victory over the highly touted Miletich fighter. Omigawa consistently found ways of tripping Davis to the deck and attempting submissions. Something for the Japanese fans to cheer.
Marlon Sandro probably put half of HDNet’s late night viewers to sleep with a human blanket style attack on Matt Jaggers. Sandro would have been more than content to get and retain top control for 15 minutes. Eventually, in the second round, Jaggers had to try to find a way to break the cycle, and in doing so he fell into an arm triangle choke and was choked out standing up!
Masanori Kanehara won a decision over Jong Man Kim, using his technical superiority on the feet to get the nod.
Chan Sung Jung won one for South Korea, as he waded through the technical striking of Shintaro Ishiwatari, blocking most of the shots with his chin, to earn the right to land his own wild punches. He landed a big one toward the end of the first round, clambered on his dazed opponent’s back, and sunk in a deep choke, putting him to sleep. He seems a talented kid, and, given time to refine his technique, could be a star some day. This was Ishiwatari’s first loss in 10 fights.
For a long time, Ronnie Mann has been fighting in Britain, building up experience and creating a buzz with his ground skills. In his fight with Tetsuya Yamada, Mann used every bit of that experience to keep a cool head and outlast the very tricky youngster. Yamada’s massive reach and awkward submission style presented a constant threat, but Mann was able to get top position and overpower the lanky Yamada. By the third round, the rookie Japanese had run out of steam, and Mann continued landing glancing blows from the top, giving the judges enough ammo to give him the unanimous decision.. Mann progresses, but will have to show more in the next round. At only 18 years of age, the future is also bright for Yamada.
Canadian Nick Denis kept his kickboxing technique tight to knock down Seiya Kawahara twice and, finally, finish him with a ground and pound flurry. He looks a solid fighter with good power in his strikes.
The sluggish slugger James Thompson brought out his trademark charge at the opening bell against the equally colossal Jim York. As usual, it was to poor effect, as York stepped aside and clipped Thompson nearly over the ropes. The two proceeded to trade blows almost non stop, with York landing most of the cleaner punches and defending a few attempted Thompson takedowns. York timed Thompson onto a stiff jab as he charged in, knocking him down, causing the referee to stop the fight. Say what you want about James Thompson, but he always brings an exciting fight.
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal has done all you could ask of him to make himself the shining star of the Sengoku promotion. After entering the ring amidst all his usual pomp and ceremony, Mo took apart Ryo Kawamura without any problem. The King suffered almost no opposition whenever he elected to take Kawamura to the ground, whether by simple takedown, or by any slam of his choice. Lawal may begin to rival Rampage Jackson as king of slams, if he continues to rag doll opponents around like this. Once on the deck, Lawal did little more than retain position and fire a few punches at Kawamura, who spent most of his time cowering away. Although Lawal landed some of the better shots standing, when Kawamura pushed forward on the feet he made him look vulnerable, although Mo could easily duck under punches and get the takedown. Probably the least impressive display of King Mo’s career, but he has stated he was injured and has promised to look to end his future fights early. He remains an exciting prospect indeed.