For the first time in his career, Kazuhiro Nakamuta, the man who has fought for all the big promotions such as PRIDE, UFC, and Sengoku, signed with medium-sized MMA promotion, and fought in their headliner of DEEP 60 held at Korakuen Hall.
A veteran from Yoshida Dojo faced a former DEEP middleweight champ Ryuta Sakurai.
It was a see-saw battle but at the end it seems like the take downs made the difference and two judges gave an advantage to Nakamura.
After the fight, in the ring, Nakamura asked for a title shot, "Mister DEEP Ryuta Sakura, thank you very much. Can I carry DEEP on my shoulder? I was nervous so I couldn't deliver 100% today but just like you promised, please give me a title shot." Then, DEEP head Shigeru Saeki answered immediately, and Nakamura against RYO, who has defeated Yusuke Sakashita in September, for a vacant 185 lbs title in February 2013, was officially confirmed.
This is nothing really unusual.
Winning the DEEP debut fight against one of the top guys, and get a title shot.
Talking in the ring after the fight, confirming title fight on the spot. Its all pro-wrestling like show which is all too common in the Japanese MMA.
Yet Nakamura fighting for DEEP is somehow a significant turning point in today's Japanese MMA.
Almost everyone who has fought for PRIDE, UFC or DREAM has now fought for the medium to small-size promotions in Japan. Caol Uno just made a comeback to Shooto last month, Kazuyuki Miyata lead the "Team Japan" in RINGS' Japan vs Kazakhstan, and, Satoru Kitaoka, Ryo Chonan, Katsunori Kikuno, and Akihiro Gono all fought for DEEP.
So who else is left out there?
With Kazuo Misaki announcing the retirement, there are, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Hideo Tokoro, Hiroyuki Takaya, Lion Takeshi, Hayato "Mach" Sakurai and Yoshiyuki "Zenko" Yoshida.
Those are the Japanese fighters that has fought for the "big league" yet still sitting and waiting on something to happen. Of course, Zenko is an exception because he has been fairly active outside Japan but all of those other guys are still waiting.
Waiting on DREAM to come through with a show.
Just like when PRIDE was purchased by Zuffa. Many Japanese fighters can be very patient.
Well, this time, maybe not, in terms of the guys that has experienced the end of PRIDE.
Out of those guys waiting on the deck, Sakurai and Kawajiri are the only PRIDE veterans.
All the other guys that has fought for PRIDE are active fighting for the other promotions.
Maybe those guys know its too much of a burden for those former promoters of PRIDE to come through with a magic once again. They came through with DREAM and somehow continued for two years.
Maybe that was the last magic.
With no confirmed DREAM shows in 2012, Nakamura was contemplating on retirement earlier this year, but he chose to continue doing MMA and decided to go after DEEP 185 lbs instead of waiting on what might happen on NYE.
If they made PRIDE then they can come through again.
While Nakamura chose DEEP, is this what the others are thinking?
That probably is one of the most intriguing points in regards to Nakamura fighting for DEEP.
East and West Presents
Friday, October 19th, 2012
At Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The Main Event – Middleweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Ryuta Sakurai (Japan / R-BLOOD) vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura (Japan / R-BLOOD)
Winner: 3R Kazuhiro Nakamura by Decision (0-2)
11th Match – DEEP Light-heavyweight Title Match – 5 min / 3R
Yoshiyuki Nakanishi (Japan / TRIBE TOKYO M.M.A.) vs. Yuki (Japan / TEAM TACKLER)
Winner: 3R Yoshiyuki Nakanishi by Decision (5-0)
10th Match – Middleweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Katsunori Kikuno (Japan / ALLIANCE) vs. Yasuaki Kishimoto (Japan / MMA Dojo Cobra-kai)
Winner: 3R Draw (1-0)
9th Match – Featherweight Bout 5 min / 3R
SHOJI (Japan / K.I.B.A. Martial Arts) vs Ho Jun Kim (Korea / CMA KREA – TEAM POSSE)
Winner: 2R 2'01: SHOJI by TKO (referee stoppage)
8th Match – Bantamweight Bout 5 min / 3R
DJ taiki (Japan / Freelance) vs. Toshiaki Kitada (Japan / Paraestra Chiba)
Winner: 3R Draw (1-0)
7th Match – DEEP vs Pancrase Lightweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Daisuke Nakamura (Japan / U-FILE CAMP) vs. Takafumi Ito (Japan / Pancrase-ism)
Winner: 2R 0'32" Daisuke Nakamura by TKO (referee stoppage – flying knee followed by left right combination)
6th Match – Bantamweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Takafumi Otsuka (Japan / AACC) vs. Naohiro "Chokugeki Gamon" Mizuno (Japan / Freelance)
Winner: 2R Takafumi Otsuka by Decision (3-0)
5th Match – Welterweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Hidehiko Hasegawa (Japan / Academia Az) vs. Takahiro Kawanaka (Japan / BRAVE)
Winner: 1R 1'30" Takahiro Kawanaka by Submission (anaconda choke)
4th Match – Welterweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Naoki Samukawa (Japan / Bungeling Bay) vs HIROKI (Japan / Freelance)
Winner: 2R 3'22" Naoki Samukawa by TKO (doctor stoppage)
3rd Match – Lightweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Yasuhiro Kawasaki (Japan / R-BLOOD) vs Ken Hamamura (Japan / Honey Trap)
Winner: 2R Draw (0-0)
2nd Match – Lightweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Juri Ohara (Japan / KIBA Martial Arts) vs Dari Rokoku (Congo / Honey Trap)
Winner: 2R Juri Ohara by Decision (3-0)
1st Match – Bantamweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Koichi Ishizuka (Japan / Brightness Monma Dojo) vs Katsuya Ishida (Japan / NEX)
Winner: 1R 4'51" Koichi Ishizuka by Submission (rear naked choke)
Report by Shu Hirata
Photo courtesy of GBR (gbring.com)