ROAD FC 24 recap and photos: Fukuda wins a belt and a golden contract, Goliath felled

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New ROAD FC Middleweight Champion Riki Fukuda
New ROAD FC Middleweight Champion Riki Fukuda

ROAD FC 24 was the South Korean promotions first foray onto foreign soil and they went large, by bringing in the Korean PRIDE and K-1 old guard into massive Ariake Coliseum.

The lasers and fireworks were missing, but the production was seamless otherwise. The end stage set up for the arena was about 50% capacity at the start of the main card and it wasn’t lost on the Japanese media that it was a surprisingly good turnout. Lenne Hardt’s voice came on in a big way for the announcements, and sent a wave of excitement through the educated crowd. Then the in cage announcers – ROAD FC’s main guy and DEEP’s funnel man – went back and forth announcing the Korean and Japanese matches in a game of who is better.

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The first fight was a striker’s battle of style versus style as frenetic, rangy tactician Juri Ohara faced aggressive KO commander Lee Kwang-Hee. It was only a matter of time before one of them got in and did the dirty work, and it turned out to be Crazy Lee with the KO.

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ROAD FC 24 Shinashi Satoko def Lee Ye-Ji.JPG
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The second match up was a women’s battle between Shinashi Satoko – the once and future queen – against a complete mismatch on paper, Lee Ye-Ji. But those on the ground on Korea knew what they were up to. The 16-year old sambo vet Lee gave Shinashi her money’s worth. It was a fun scramble that the Japanese audience were quick to appreciate, and it took almost all of two rounds for Shinashi to lock on a submission. Look to see more of both women – or the woman and the girl – in ROAD FC.

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PRIDE vets Yoon Dong-Sik and Daiju Takase didn’t quite live up to their hype when they took to combat. But perhaps the most unusual thing – besides Takase’s pink hair and eyebrows and choreographed dance ensemble entrance – was that the Japanese crowd was firmly behind Yoon. Yoon got the edge over Daiju on the scorecards because of his control of the fight once it his the ground.

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Kim Soo-Chul and Taiyo Nakahara did live up to the billing of a match between two of Asia’s best bantamweights. In the first round, Kim scored a knockdown and got frantic with it, almost allowing Taiyo to triangle him. Taiyo’s clever shoots were met with Kim’s fists, so Taiyo changed up his levels a bit in the second. But Kim was quick to see it, grabbed Taiyo’s neck as he shot for a single, and calmly walked over to mount to secure the lock and tap.

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Probably the best thing about Minowaman’s match with Kim Dae-Sung was watching Minowa wonder why the Korean wouldn’t do down with his punches. Kim’s not the strongest tactician, but he has hard punches and a face made of concrete. So Minowa tried to get him to the ground a few times, but it didn’t work and they just winged punches to the bell. Minowaman eked out all the rounds on the scorecards.

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Carlos Toyota spoiled the Techno Goliath’s return to MMA under a cloud of misfortune. Before the event, some Korean media outlets were saying that someone was suing Choi Hong-Man for fraud, because he hadn’t paid back a loan from long ago. The news was obviously timed to impact the event, and according to ROAD FC boss Jung Moon-Hong at the post-fight presser, it worked. Apparently Choi was disturbed by the news so much that he wouldn’t give interviews before the fight, and didn’t eat or sleep. But, not to take any credit away from Toyota, he went in and did his job brilliantly. After faking out Choi, he swarmed him with big hooks, and one caught the giant’s chin and crumpled him to the canvas. In just 30 seconds is was all over.

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In the main event, consummate warrior Riki Fukuda and young prospect Jeon Uh-Jin battled for the Middleweight belt. Jeon’s shining moment was his game opening in which he went toe-to-toe with the slugger. However, it was rapidly apparent that Fukuda was far too much for him at this stage in his career. Jeon popped up from a double leg, but then had to duck and cover from Fukuda’s onslaught until the ref saved him. At the post fight press conference, ROAD boss Jung said that Fukuda resigned with the promotion in a title defense deal that will put him in a 6-figure salary in one year.

For full results from the Young Guns 23 undercard, please go here.

ROAD FC 24 in Japan
July 25, 2015
Ariake Coliseum
Tokyo, Japan

1st LEE KWANG-HEE defeats JURI OHARA by TKO(pounding) at 3:55 of 1R

2nd SATOKO SHINASHI defeats LEE YE-JI by TKO(pounding) at 4:53 of 2R

3RD -88KG CATCHWWEIGHT MATCH YOON DONG-SIK defeats DAIJU TAKASE by decisipn 2:1

4th KIM SOO-CHUL defeats TAIYO NAKAHARA BY SUBMISSION (guillotine choke) at 4:38 of 1R

5TH -84G MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH MINOWA MAN defeats KIM DAE-SUNG by decisipn 3:0

​6th CHOI MU-BAE defeats YUSUKE KAWAGUCHI by TKO(니킥) at 3:50 of 2R

7​th CARLOS TOYOTA defeats CHOI HONG-MAN by KO) at 1:29 of 1R

8th RIKI FUKUDA defeats JEON UH-JIN by K.O at 2:27 of 1R