DEEP 43 – 08/23/2009: Masakazu Imanari Breezes Through Tomohiko Hori

Masakazu Imanari spent little too long in keeping the distance from Tomohiko Hori early in the fight. He did successfully pull guard and went for an omo platta but that was about it for the first round.

However, from the second round, it was all Imanari. He pulled Hori to his guard, then easily reversed, then passed the guard, then stood up and dropped a hard soccer kick to the head, and then he went for his signature leg locks. Imanari did the exact same series of moves at the end of the second round as well.

In the third round he pulled guard, then reversed, then kicked Hori’s head, and then went for a knee bar. From beginning to end Imanari was the one who controlled the fight.

Its not like Hori is medicore. Hori is actually very big and strong for this weight class. He won the DEEP Protect Cut tournament to capture the right to challenge Imanari. And just a few months ago, Hori took Sami Aziz to a decision in Switzerland, Aziz’s home country so Hori is a legit world class fighter.

But Imanari was just far better.

Everyone knows that Imanari is always looking to pull you to the ground, and go for the leg locks but he has so much variation that no one has exactly figured out what to do against him.

After all Imanari had no problem tapping out a current WEC champ Mike Brown and many fans probably already forgot about this show but he is the featherweight champ of Cage Rage in the UK.

And he can fight at 135.

Sounds like a force. Maybe someone that North American fans would like to see in the WEC?

In this fight, although he dominated the entire fight, Imanari looked like he wasn’t too motivated. He looked like he was just fighting not really looking to achieve something in there.

Maybe, after fighting for years in Japan, mainly in the same shows, Imanari could be ready for other stimulation.

Can DREAM provide something to make Imanari feel fulfilled? If not, then Imanari could be looking into the United States for next year.


Sunday, August 23rd, 2009
at Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

Complete Results:


10th Match – Welterweight Bout 5 min / 2R

Ryo Chonan (Japan / Team M.A.D.) vs. Jutaro Nakao (Japan / Freelance)

Winner: 3R Ryo Chonan by Decision (3-0)

9th Match – DEEP Featherweight Title Bout 5 min / 2R

Dokonjonosuke Mishima (Japan / MMA Dojo Cobra-kai) vs. Takefumi Otsuka (Japan / AACC)

Winner: 3R Takefumi Otsuka by Decision (0-5)

8th Match – DEEP Bantamweight Title Bout 5 min / 3R

Masakazu Imanari (Japan / Team Roken) vs. Tomohiko Hori (Japan / Freelance)

Winner: 3R Masakazu Imanari by Decision (5-0)

7th Match – Light-heavyweight Bout 5 min / 2R

Bernard Ackah (République de Côte d’Ivoire / Freelance)vs. Ryuji Yanagisawa (Japan / Freelance)

Winner: 1R 0’07” by TKO (referee stoppage – right high kick followed by g n p)

6th Match – Featherweight Bout 5 min / 2R

Toshiaki KItada (Japan / Paraestra Chiba) vs. Zach Makovsky (USA / Fight Factory)

Winner: 1R 4’42” Toshiaki Kitada by Submission (rear naked choke)

5th Match – Featherweight Bout 5 min / 2R

Kouichirou Matsumoto (Japan / Imada Dojo) vs. Shunichi Shimizu (Japan / MMA Uruno Dojo)

Winner: 2R Kouichirou Matsumoto by Decision (3-0)

4th Match – Light-heavyweight 5 min / 2R

Yuji Sakuragi (Japan / Seiken Kaikan) vs. Hans Stringer (Holland / Team Beast of the East)

Winner: 2R 2’11” Hans Stringer by TKO (referee stoppage – g n p)

3rd Match – Lightweight Bout 5 min / 2R

Yuichi Ikari (Japan / P’s LAB Tokyo) vs. Won Sik “Parky” Park (Korea / CMA KOREA

Winner: 1R 4’58” Won Sik “Parky” Park by Submission (rear naked choke)

2nd Match – Welterweight Bout 5 min / 2R

Yoshikazu Watanabe (Japan / AACC) vs. Suzu (USA / PUREBRED Omiya)

Winner: 2R 4’56” Yoshikazu Watanabe by TKO (referee stoppage – punches from the back mount)

1st Match – Lightweight Bout 5 min / 2R

Yuki Ito (Japan / ALLIANCE) vs. Sadao Kondo (Japan / BLUE DOG GYM)

Winner: 2R Draw (1-0)

Report by Shu Hirata
Photo by Yoshinori Ihara (

PIC: Masakazu Imanari (top) landed a series of soccer kick to the head of Tomohiko Hori in the second round.

PIC: Of course, Masakazu Imanari (center) just had to do display his character which is to joke around caddish actions, like sticking out a trophy from where men’s symbols reside.