Vale Tudo Japan 2009 Results

Takanori Gomi Defeats Tony HerveyThe return of Vale Tudo Japan resulted in an excellent event that featured legends, current champions and future stars. In the main event, former PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori “Fireball Kid” Gomi earned a hard-fought five-round decision over reigning King of the Cage Lightweight Champion Tony “Lionheart” Hervey.

In the co-main event, Shooto Lightweight Champion “Lion” Takeshi Inoue stopped former champion Alexandre Franca “Pequeno” Nogueira in the fourth round of a five-round non-title bout.


Non-Title Bout

Takanori “Fireball Kid” Gomi vs Tony “Lionheart” Hervey

Hervey put on an impressive performance in defeat in this bout and clearly demonstrated why he is a champion in King of the Cage.

The first round saw Gomi surprisingly take the fight to the ground, in stark contrast to his reputation as a top striker. He took Hervey’s back and attempted to secure a rear naked choke, but Hervey powered out and returned to his feet. He did well to keep Gomi at bay with a variety of kicks, but Gomi controlled the action when the fight went back to the ground.

Round two was more of the same and Hervey once again tried to keep his distance with kicks and quick punches, while Gomi was content to take the fight to the mat. He worked to trap Hervey in a submission, but had no luck and had to settle for maintaining dominant positions.

The third frame began similarly to the opening two, but Gomi began to string together punching combinations to the head and body of Hervey and dictated the pace of the fight. He once again took Hervey down and nearly finished the fight with an armbar late in the round, but Hervey survived and made it to the bell.

As the fight entered round four, it was clear that both fighters were fatigued, but Hervey appeared to have the better cardio and he began to take over the striking exchanges. Gomi landed punches in reply, but Hervey was more active and more accurate.

The fifth and final round saw Hervey take control of the striking in the early goings and he had Gomi in danger with a barrage of knees and stomps that forced the former long-time #1-ranked lightweight to scramble, but Gomi persevered and battled back in the final minutes. Both fighters threw punches with all of their remaining energy and Gomi got the better of the exchanges.

All three judges awarded the fight to Gomi, but it was another tough test and he has a ways to go in order to reclaim his past status in the division.

Winner: Takanori Gomi by Unanimous Decision after five rounds. He improves to 31-5-0, 1 ND.



Non-Title Bout

“Lion” Takeshi Inoue vs Alexandre Franca “Pequeno” Nogueira

Though Inoue’s Shooto Lightweight and Pacific Rim Lightweight titles weren’t on the line, he picked up an impressive comeback victory when he knocked out Nogueira, a former long-time champion himself, in the fourth round.

Round one told the story of the first half of the fight, as Nogueira took the fight to the mat and showcased his legendary ground skills. He attempted a variety of submissions and landed short strikes, but Inoue managed to hold his own and made it through a tough round.

The second round saw Inoue stuff an early takedown and he landed a series of effective punches and hammerfists from the top. Nogueira reversed position and punished Inoue for his mistake. He moved to side-control and scored with a barrage of knees to Inoue’s head and ribs, but just missed with a stomp that likely would have ended the fight.

More of the same was on display in round three and Inoue had to fight off more takedowns and ground attacks from Nogueira, who appeared to be in complete control. Inoue scrambled free and kept himself out of danger, but his ground game was obviously a step behind that of Nogueira.

Finally, round four was a turning point for Inoue. After an opening two minutes of dominance from Nogueira, he was drilled with an upkick from a downed Inoue and allowed the reigning champion to stand. Inoue took full advantage of the opportunity and knocked Nogueira down with a particularly fierce jab. He followed with more punches on the ground and the fight was quickly stopped.

While Inoue walked away with the victory, he had all he could handle against Nogueira, who put on a performance befitting of his past years of glory.

Winner: Takeshi Inoue by TKO (Punches) at 2:58 of round four. He improves to 17-3-0.