The 2009 ADCC Japan Trial was held at Chuo-ku Sogo Sports Center. Under 66 kg, the division with the most number of entries at 27, Kouhei Yasumi surprised everyone. He defeated a fourth place finisher of the 2007 World ADCC Championships at this weight class Testu Hada-iro (Suzuki) and a veteran Katsuya Toida conquered this toughest weight class. It’s been nine years since Yasumi last competed in the world championships. UFC vet K-taro Nakamura won the under 77 kg division, PRIDE and UFC vet Kazuhiro Nakamura took the under 99 kg division. For women it was all team AACC. Megumi Fujii, the co-founder of the team, and her best friend Hitomi Hiraiwa (used to be Akano before getting married) won two existing divisions, which is under 60kg and over 60 kg.
Four seeded competitors, Yasumi, Toida, Hada-iro, and Masato Shiozawa all won early. Yasumi faced Hada-iro in the semi-final. This was a fast moving grappling action and neither fighter gave up any points and it went into the extra period. At the end it was Yasumi who kept on shooting in, scoring a couple takedowns, edging out a grappler from Wajiu-tsu Keishu-kai and advancing to the final.
In the other bracket, Toioda faced and defeated his ex-team mate Shioda, and came into the final.
Yasumi said before the bout, "Today, my goal is to beat Keishu-kai", and that was the situation in the semi and the final. Yasumi is taking on two top Keishu-kai grapplers in a row.
Right from the beginning Yasumi took control. He fainted a couple then shot in for takedowns. At one point Toida literally had to run away to not get into Yasumi’s rhythm. Even then Yasumi continued his attack and took down Toida more than a few times but Toida switches his position to avoid giving away points. The bout went into the extra period.
Yasumi shot in for a takedown, then got on the back but Toida somehow escapes then back on their feet Toida went for a single leg. Both fighters didn’t score points so this one was headed for a double extra period.
Then finally Yasumi nailed a beautiful take down and took the side mount. Toida was out of stamina. Yasumi moved in with a head and shoulder lock and it was all over.
For Yasumi this was the first time competing in the less than 66 kg division and finally he got his right to compete in the world championships, "I don’t want to experience the same thing again. (Lost in the first round in 2000 world championships) I chose under 66 kg to win in the world."
Yasumi was always looking ahead into the world championships.
The overwhelming favorite, K-taro Nakamura, just dominated this weight class and got the right to compete in the world championships. Nakamura submitted both the first round opponent Masahiro Aihara and semi-final opponent Kenji Mizuno. Then in the final, he faced Yoshinao Shitabayashi, who caused maybe the trial’s biggest upset by defeating Shooto vet Shinji Sasaki in the semi-final.
But in the final, it was all K-taro. He pulled guard, then slipped onto Shitabayashi’s back, then executed a near perfect rear naked choke. Shitabayashi did try to escape for a bit but couldn’t do much and tapped out. It was a quick and blazing win for K-taro.
Yuji Arai snapped on a rear naked choke and heel lock to advanced to the final. In the first half, where points will be scored under the ADCC rules, Arai overwhelmed Yukinori Haruhara. He threw Haruhara with a side throw and almost finished him with a guillotine. Haruhara was force to fight off his back. Then in the second half Arai, in the standing position, got on Haruhara’s back, and slipped in his leg to score a point by getting a back-mount. However Haruhara dropped Arai to the ground. Arai quickly got up and Haruhara, from the bottom, went for a heel lock. This one was in deep and Arai just couldn’t get out and tapped. This was a classic come from behind win for Haruhara.
This was the first ADCC experience for Kazuhiro Nakamura. After the competition he looked back and said, "I was so nervous. It was like when I was competing in the Inter-national high school championships." In the first round bout against Naoto Watanabe, he did look like he was feeling a bit uncomfortable adjusting into the rules but in the second half, Nakamura easily passed the guard, got the side mount for points, then finish the bout with a heel lock. Then Nakamura defeated a wrestler Animal Yasunishi with an armbar and advanced to the final. In the final, Nakamura faced another MMA fighter Yukiya Naito from Wajiu-tsu Keishu-kai.
Nakamura executed a beautiful uchimata throw then from the half mount went to the side and almost got on the mount position but Naito took him back to his guard. Back in the standing position Naito shot in but Nakamura sprawled, then got on the mount position. Then with five minute left in the bout Naito pulled guard and was penalized for a point. Nakamura executed another throw for a take down which gave him 2 points. Naito went back on his feet, and then shot in but Nakamura sprawled, grabbing both arms for a suplex. Again, takedown points for Nakamura. Then Nakamura passed guard, getting on the side position for another 3 points. From there Nakamura went for a kimura and then an armbar but Naito defended well.
Nakamura couldn’t finish Naito but at the end it was all Nakamura on points.
After the competition, Nakamura told the reporters about his real wish at the world championships, "If possible, I would like to compete at under 88 kg. At under 99 kg, even against a Japanese, I felt little bit of pressure so I want to properly cut weight and compete in the under 88 kg." This means unless he can compete at a different weight class Nakamura might not go to the world championships.
The final of the heaviest weight category was a battle between two wrestlers – Takahiro Shimonaka from Kokushikan Wrestling Club and Kouji Kanechika from Yoshihiro "KISS" Nakao’s TEAM TACKLER.
The first half was like a wrestling match, as both fighters were cautious and could score a takedown. In the second half, Shimonaka shot in for a take down and scored 2 points. Then this bout became very active. Kanechika passed the guard and got on the side for 3 points and from there went for a kimura finishing the bout with an armbar.
2007 world champion at the under 55 kg division Sayaka Shioda and a third-place finisher at the same category Megumi Fujii advanced to the final.
Sayaka finished Sophia McDermott from Australia in the semi. On the other end, Megumi faced a third place finisher of the 2007 world championship (under 60 kg) Takayo Hashi. Both fighters engaged in a wrestling match but couldn’t score any points so this one went into the extra period. But from there it was all invincible "Mega Megu". She shot in for a beautiful take down, then quickly got on the mount and snapped on a perfect armbar. Hashi couldn’t do anything but tap.
This was a super impressive performance by Megumi who also holds a perfect record of 16-0 in MMA. Considering how she really does belong to the under 55 kg division, again, she has proved that she is more than a notch above anybody else in Japan.
In the final, Sayaka, from the clinch, went for a jumping armbar but Megumi was calm. She pushed Sayaka away and got on the top. From Sayaka’s half guard, Megumi gradually pressured, then passed the guard and quickly got the mount position.
From there Megumi went for a triangle choke but Sayaka held on.
With five minute left in the bout Megumi again executed a take down and tried to pass the guard but this time Sayaka defended and this one was headed for an extra period.
Megumi then took over. She quickly nailed the take down for 2 points. Sayaka tried to reverse from the bottom, and even went for her signature move, a knee bar, but Megumi was calm as ice and pushed everything down with superior positioning. With ten seconds left Megumi scored another take down and then went for an armbar but the bout ended there. At the end it was Megumi’s superb positioning skill that was the difference in this bout.
Mizuho Sato aggressively went for a take down but Hitomi Hiraiwa (*used to Akano) countered with leg locks. When Sato came in for a single leg, Hitomi calmly grabbed the right arm for a kimura. And from there, Hitomi threw Sato then twisted the kimura even further for a quick tap out win. It was a complete domination by Hitomi.
ADCC Japan Trial
Sunday February 22nd, 2009
At Chuo-ku Sogo Sports Center, Tokyo, Japan
Kouhei Yasumi def Katsuya Toida via submission (head and shoulder lock) in the extra period
K-taro Nakamura def Yoshinao Shitabayashi via submission (rear naked choke)
Kouji Kanechika def. Takahiro Simonakavia submission (armbar)
Men’s Under 77 kg – K-taro Nakamura (Wajiutsu Keishukai Tokyo Headquarters)
Report and photo by Yoshi Kubo (www.boutreview.com)
PIC 1: Invincible Megumi "Mega Megu" Fujii was better than ever on this day. In the semi-final she finished Takayo Hashi with this armbar.
PIC 2: Megumi Fujii (top) defeated 2007 ADCC world champ at under 55 kg Sayaka Shioda with superior ground control.
PIC 3: Hitomi Hiraiwa (*used to be Akano) was way better than Mizuho Sato, her opponent in the final.
PIC 4: UFC and DREAM vet K-taro Nakamura dominated under 77 kg division.
PIC 5: PRIDE and UFC vet Kazuhiro Nakamura was another dominant figure in this year’s Japan trial.
PIC 6: Kouji Kanechika (top) finished a grappler from Japan’s powerhouse in wrestling Kokushikan University with an armbar.
PIC 7: Kouhei Yasumi was celebrated by his training partners and his master. (From left to right) Satoru Kitaoka, Shinya Aoki, and Yuki Nakai.
PIC 8: Kouhei Yasumi (front) defeated Tetsu Hada-iro in the semi-final and went on to beat Katsuya Toida in the final at Under 66 kg division.