December 31, 2009
Akihiro Gono may have had a rough year, but he ended it with a bang, winning with a second-round armbar over Hayato "Mach" Sakurai at Dynamite! 2009 in Japan. The win helped Sengoku move ahead in the Sengoku vs. Dream battle.
After Gono made an entrance to remember, complete with a blond bouffant and a popular Japanese band singing and walking behind him, Sakurai was aggressive in the first round. Gono secured a takedown near the end of the first but didn't accomplish anything with it.
In the second, Gono seemed determined to bring the fight to the ground, and for good reason. Sakurai gave up a takedown easily, and then was pushed into the crucifix position. Gono rolled over and pulled out a beautiful armbar, forcing Sakurai to tap.
Gono started 2009 off by getting knocked out at UFC 94, and then lost his job with the UFC. After that, he was knocked out by Dan Hornbuckle in Sengoku. He won a decision in November over Yoon Young Kim, but the win over Sakurai is a sweet way to end the year for the flamboyant star.
Melvin Manhoef knocks out Kazuo Misaki ... or does he?
With his lack of ground skills, Melvin Manhoef needed to avoid the ground with Kazuo Misaki, and he did that with a flourish, knocking out Misaki (pictured on right) with a flurry of punches in the first round. The ref called the end of the fight, but Misaki protested. He never appeared to be out, but it was too late. The fight was over, and Manhoef won.
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