We’re waiting for the ball to drop in North America, but New Year’s Eve is said and done on the other side of the world — and as we reported earlier this month, there were two big MMA events to mark the occasion in Japan.
The night reminded some of the heyday of Japanese MMA, when three New Year’s Eve events (K-1 Dynamite, PRIDE, and Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye) would attract giant crowds on Japan’s biggest entertainment night of the year.
The 2014 version wasn’t quite to that scale, but did feature some solid MMA talent.
First, Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye, at the Ryougoku Kokugikan (or Sumo Hall) in Toyko, featured Mirko Cro Cop against Satsoshi Ishii in the main event. Cro Cop, who quietly enjoyed a busy 2014 by appearing in four bouts (two in kickboxing, two in MMA), would score a spectacular TKO at the end the second round. The old PRIDE/K-1 favorite landed one of his trademark left high kicks and followed with punches with seconds remaining to earn the victory — and successfully defend his Inoki Genome Heavyweight Championship.
Shinya Aoki, the One FC Lightweight Champion, notched a victory on the undercard with a “Twister” submission of Yuki Yamamoto.
DEEP Dream Impact 2014 was the other big MMA event, at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama. Satoru Kitaoka defeated Yoshiuki Yoshida by unanimous decision in the main event. The undercard was packed with some of Japan’s best, including Satoko Shinashi who recorded her 19th victory by armbar. “The Princess'” latest victim was Rika Hamada.