The Japanese judoka who Michael “The Voice” Schiavello called “once the most sought after heavyweight in MMA” made his heavily anticipated professional debut last night in Japan. Satoshi Ishii, who won a gold medal in judo at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, took on seasoned PRIDE and Sengoku veteran Hidehiko Yoshida in the co-main event at “FieLDS Dynamite!! 2009”.
It looked as though it would be a short night for Ishii as the fight started. In the first round, he looked tentative, nervous, and awkward, while Yoshida appeared to be completely at home in the ring. Yoshida was landing punch after punch and even dropped Ishii with a big overhand right in the opening frame. Ishii recovered and survived the round, but things were looking dim for the national hero.
Ishii settled down and began to find his rhythm in round two. He landed more strikes and worked well in the clinch with knees and dirty boxing. Yoshida appeared to be slowing down, and took a hard knee to the groin that cracked his protective cup. Time out was called and Yoshida was given time to recover. Ishii was penalized with a red card and had a point deducted.