1. Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara (8/18/95) - 6
2. Gary Albright vs. Kiyoshi Tamura (8/18/95) - 4
This is done using their patented system of rules where each fighter has 15 points and every time you use the ropes to break a hold or suffer a knockdown you lose points. Grappling early and jockeying for leverage but Kanehara scores big first with some shots that daze and drop Kazushi. Kanehara goes up 12-6 after a series of brutal knees to the midsection followed up by a high kick. I want this bobblehead for Christmas. Hiromitsu is really one of the best pure strikers in UWFi and it's a shame he didn't make this set more. Kanehara finishes the fight with some vicious knees in the clinch.
Gary has such a natural size advantage that the beginning stages feel a bit like a cat toying with its prey. Albright is the first to score big with a real great belly-to-belly throw but it only serves to ignite Tamura who goes on a striking fury with elbows, slaps, and a flying kick in the corner that was ballistic. The finish was cool as Albright was fishing for a German suplex but Kiyoshi was smart enough to slide into position for an armbar upstaging his behemoth opponent.
3. Billy Scott vs. Kenichi Yamamoto (10/23/96) – 6
4. Nobuhiko Takada & Naoki Sano vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Yoji Anjo (10/23/96) – 5
I’m not familiar with this Billy Scott character but I’m guessing he must have some sort of amateur background because I noticed him using the famed “Gable grip” on occasions blocking Yamamoto from locking in armbars. Not sure how Scott got his forehead busted open but it doesn’t look pleasant. Scott’s open palm strikes were pretty crazy. Yamamoto kicks were just fantastic. I saw one well placed kick to Scott’s side that doubled him over. There were some nasty suplexes offered up by both guys as well but the highlight of the match for me was when Yamamoto hit a dropkick for a knockdown, after which there was a wild and stiff strike exchange.
The prospect of a tag match in a shootstyle fed in an interesting one, however it’s one that I don’t think worked well, especially when two guys (Takada and Anjo) are on opposite teams wearing the same attire. The ground work was fairly solid and unoffending but was there really a reason for this to be a tag match? Some of the highlights I found in this were Sano knocking the loving shit out of Sakuraba with a jumping spinning back kick, a sick knee from Takada that knocked down Yoji (or Yogi as I accidentally listed him as in my notes). Finish seemed rather sudden with Takada applying a quick armbar and Yoji almost as quickly tapping out.
5) Kazushi Sakuraba v. Yoshihiro Takayama (11/20/96)- 7
Takayama looks like a killer with his slicked back dark ponytail and lean body, all he needs is a pinstripe suit and a tommy gun. There ain’t no time to be wasted here as they both go full guns blazing with strikes and Sakuraba seems more comfortable on the ground. It takes me a second to figure out the 10 point system using the rope breaks and submissions and such but once you do, It makes the fights infinitely more fun. Takayama gets first knockdown with a vicious knee that would pretty much sap the lifeblood out of Rich Franklin’s career in MMA years later. I know now where Taz aped that suplex where he cradles one leg up on his shoulder- it’s Sakuraba’s pet move and it looks damn pretty. The whole middle is both guys trying to lock in submissions, with varying degrees of success, as they finish strong, with more kicks, both men get a huge flurry and some nasty throws. This was a great start for me in this fed.
6) Masahito Kakihara/ Kenichi Yamamoto v. Hiromitsu Kanehara/ Kazushi Sakuraba (12/27/96)- 5
This is sort of mind blowing, a tag team faux-MMA bout? Dana are you watching? No that would be mayhem, as the only flaw you see here that completely gives this away is how un-defensive almost everyone is. They are constantly letting their opponents move out of holds and into their own. Kakihara I’ve seen wrestle a few times, it looks no different than what he’s doing here. Kanehara isn’t holding up his end of the bargain, as Sakuraba is trying to pick up the slack and is getting schooled at every turn, even when he is about to lock in a submission he is taking brutal head shots. His opponents are slick too; they always follow up with a lock of some sort if they land a strike. There’s a ton of time with all 4 guys feeling each other out, on the feet and ground and feels like an empty void, as this thing was def. getting a score of “4” until the end, but I’ll be damned if the finish wasn’t hella entertaining so it’s bumped up.
Nobuhiko Takada vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (12/27/96) - 5
Takada vs. Takayama sounds like a 10, no doubt. While this match wasn't as great as I expected, it was still good, nonetheless. Takada seemed to have this shit all under control and was taking his time. I sincerely hope he realizes that beating up horses is frowned upon by PETA. Takayama was having none of Takada's shit, and was taking it to Takada harder than a pregnant woman trying to birth a 15lb child. The strikes in this weren't some of the best I've seen on this set, but they were still pretty damn stiff. The take-downs were textbook in that both guys seemed to have a body part in mind that they wanted to pick apart. Takada chose the arm -- such a wise decision. He kept returning to the arm in an attempt to fucking dislocate Takayama's shoulder by hooking on one hell of a cross arm-breaker. Like I said, it wasn't the strongest match by any means, but it was fun and well executed.