For a fight that has been built up for over half a year featuring the guy who was supposed to save Japanese MMA, Satoshi Ishii vs Hidehiko Yoshida sure was a dog. Maybe it was the fact that the fight was 7 hours into the Dynamite broadcast (and 25 hours since I’d gotten any sleep), or maybe it was because I don’t get all wet in my vagina over Olympic medals, but this fight did nothing for me.
The first round was somewhat exciting because Ishii did so poorly and Yoshida came close to finishing him with strikes, but any momentum the fight had died during the second after Ishii landed a knee straight to Yoshida’s family jewels that stopped the fight for several minutes and cost Ishii a point. A whole lot of nothing followed right up until the dying seconds of the third round where Ishii swung for the fences and basically hit nothing.
In the end, it was the elderly big bellied Yoshida who won the fight on the judge’s scorecards even though pretty much everyone had the fight scored as a draw due to that point deduction for the low blow. While Ishii showed all the grace and style of a three legged hippo with his striking, he was more active in the second and third rounds and did enough to clinch the win – err, tie. But then again, we don’t know what kind of crazy scoring criteria the judges were using for this event.
As for how Ishii looked as a prospect … not all that promising. If his team put together an offensive plan that was deeper than ‘Wade in and swing’, you wouldn’t know it from watching the fight. There was no ability or attempt to use his judo skills during the fight, and by the end of the third round he was sucking more air than the 40 year old Yoshida.
Still, it’s important to remember that this was Ishii’s first fight. In time Ishii could get better, even though I say that in the same way I’d say anyone practicing anything will probably get better at it. I honestly didn’t see any natural promise or ability for the sport in this fight, which is strange because you’d figure an Olympian and champion judoka would have at least a little bit.