Last night marked the return of heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko to a Japanese New Year’s Eve lineup in over four years and, post-fight, his return to consecutive victories after enduring the roughest patch of his career with three straight losses. The fan-favorite Russian’s win came via knockout in the opening round of action against Olympic-medaling Judoka Satoshi Ishii who stood little chance against Emelianenko’s striking and never got things going in the grappling department.
Emelianekno’s win came as part of the DREAM New Year! 2011 lineup. The show had a little something for everyone including kickboxing clashes and professional wrestling pairings with MMA stars involved.
Among the other talented individuals taking to the ring in Saitama Super Arena, Shinya Aoki looked sharp against Satoru Kitaoka, controlling the bulk of their bout’s action to pick up the decision win.
Megumi Fujii, one of the top P4P females in MMA, came away with a win as well after submitting Karla Benitez, and Bibiano Fernandes emerged as the DREAM Bantamweight Grand Prix champ after beating Rodolfo Marques Diniz and Antonio Banuelos on last night’s card.
Here is a complete list of DREAM New Year! 2011 MMA-based results:
Yusup Saadulaev def. Hideo Tokoro via KO Round 1 (Slam)
Antonio Banuelos def. Masakazu Imanari via Split Decision - Bantamweight Grand Prix Semifinal
Bibiano Fernandes def. Rodolfo Marques Diniz via Unanimous Decision – Bantamweight Grand Prix Semifinal
Hayato Sakurai def. Ryo Chonan via Unanimous Decision
Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Kazuyuki Miyata via Submission Round 2 (Arm-Triangle Choke)
Megumi Fujii def. Karla Benitez via Submission Round 1 (Armbar)
Bibiano Fernandes def. Antonio Banuelos via TKO Round 1 (Punches) – Bantamweight Grand Prix Final
Hiroyuki Takaya def. Takeshi Inoue via Unanimous Decision
Shinya Aoki def. Satoru Kitaoka via Unanimous Decision
Fedor Emelianenko def. Satoshi Ishii via KO Round 1 (Punches)
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE
MMATraining Take: It’s nice to see Fedor get back on the winning track even if Jeff Monson and Ishii aren’t necessarily world-beaters. It shows he’s not completely shot and can still perform well if matched up against middle-of-the-road competitors. He will never return to the form that saw him considered the best heavyweight in MMA but I can definitely see him closing out his career with some commendable victories.