Santiago Stops Misaki, Retains Sengoku Crown

By Brian Knapp Aug 22, 2010
Jorge Santiago has these fifth-round rallies down to a science.

In clearly one of the year’s best fights, Santiago stopped Kazuo Misaki on a fifth-round technical knockout in the Sengoku Raiden Championships 14 headliner on Sunday at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. The end to the epic encounter came with less than half a minute remaining, as Misaki’s corner threw in the towel to save its man from further punishment.

After four grueling rounds that saw both middleweights on the verge of being stopped, Santiago sealed the deal in the fifth. He buckled Misaki with a knee, swarmed him with strikes and ultimately mounted the Japanese veteran. Misaki reversed into top position, only to be swept by the American Top Team-based Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Having returned to a dominant position on Misaki’s back, Santiago flattened out his foe and unleashed a stream of punches. The towel flew in soon after, 4:31 into the final round.

Santiago -- who submitted Misaki in a dramatic fifth-round comeback in January 2009 -- traveled a treacherous path to victory. Misaki controlled the first two rounds, weathered a knockdown in the third and leveled Santiago with a left hook early in the fourth. The finish seemed near for the 2006 Pride Fighting Championships welterweight grand prix winner. Known for his questionable chin, Santiago survived a swarm of hammerfists and rolled through the ropes to escape, accepting a point deduction for his crime. The strategy proved wise. Late in round four, he put down Misaki with a right hand in a precursor of what was to come.

The 29-year-old Santiago has rattled off 11 wins in 12 fights and avenged his only loss -- a November technical knockout to Mamed Khalidov -- in that timeframe.

Narantungalag Upsets Gono on Points

Jadamba Narantungalag outstruck, out-grappled and outworked Akihiro Gono in the clinch en route to a unanimous decision, as the Mongolian underdog spoiled the UFC veteran’s lightweight debut in the co-main event. Scores were 30-28, 30-29 and 30-28 for Narantungalag.

The 34-year-old Narantungalag routinely beat Gono to the punch, scored effectively in close quarters and delivered five takedowns against the Japanese standout. Short-circuited by his opponent’s relentless attack, Gono spent the last half of round three on his back defending against ground-and-pound and an attempted guillotine choke.

The defeat halted a three-fight winning streak for Gono, a well-traveled 35-year-old who owns victories against former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi and current Bellator Fighting Championships middleweight titleholder Hector Lombard.

Hioki Submits Lawson

World-ranked Shooto champion Hatsu Hioki needed a little more than two minutes to dispatch British import Jeff Lawson, as he cinched a triangle choke for the tapout 2:09 into round one of their featherweight duel.

Lawson unfurled wild punches from the start, none of which landed on the calm, cool and collected Japanese star. Hioki secured a takedown inside the first minute, took back control and ultimately mounted Lawson. The British Association of Mixed Martial Arts veteran reversed into Hioki’s guard, only to fall into the triangle choke. After a brief struggle, Lawson surrendered.

The win, Hioki’s seventh in eight fights, moves him closer to a crack at reigning Sengoku featherweight champion Marlon Sandro, who was seated at ringside.

Okuno KOs Thompson; Enomoto Advances

In the first round of the Sengoku welterweight grand prix, UFC veteran Nick Thompson was carried out of the ring on a stretcher after a brutal encounter with a Taisuke Okuno left hook.

Down on the scorecards, Okuno stormed out of his corner for round three and dropped the former Bodog Fight welterweight champion with a right hook inside the first 10 seconds. Thompson fought valiantly to survive and regained shaky footing, only to meet with the fight-ending punch. The blow left Thompson facedown and unconscious 27 seconds into the third stanza.

The knockout wiped out two strong rounds from Thompson, who kept his Japanese counterpart on the end of a stiff left jab, scored with four takedowns and mounted him late in the first round. The 29-year-old Minnesota Martial Arts Academy representative has now lost three consecutive fights -- the longest such streak of his career.

Okuno was one of two men to advance in the grand prix, as Yasubey Enomoto submitted Kenta Takagi with a bulldog choke 53 seconds into round two of their first-round match. The 26-year-old Enomoto has rattled off back-to-back wins since his technical knockout loss to Bellator veteran Tyler Stinson in June 2009.

Other Bouts
Leonardo Santos def. Sotaro Yamada -- Disqualification (Knees to Groin) 3:56 R1
Takuya Sato def. Motoki Miyazawa -- Unanimous Decision
Shintaro Ishiwatari def. Kil Woo Lee -- Submission (Guillotine Choke) 2:20 R1
Shoko Sato def. Takuya Eizumi -- TKO (Doctor Stoppage) 1:38 R2
Wataru Takahashi def. Tatsuya So -- Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 4:34 R2
Jae Hyun So def. Hirokazu Nishimura -- Unanimous Decision

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