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Charles (Loss)

[1992-05-08-UWFi-Combat Sports] Nobuhiko Takada vs Gary Albright

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It seems like the further back in time I go with Takada, the more I like him. I find him way more fun to watch in '92 than I did in '96. He had some matches I liked in '96, but he always felt like the passenger. Here, he's the driver. He's taking the fight to Albright and is wrestling an almost brash style -- doing lots of slapping, show off-y takedowns and what have you. The size/skill dynamic is in play, which makes spots like Albright's Germans get over big. Didn't care for the finish, only because the camera zooms in on Takada and he just looks like he's resting. But there is some fun stuff here.

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Albright's suplexes are great. Albright is really nimble on his feet. The finish is bullshit. Takada was pretty good here. The size dynamic made this interesting.

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The national anthems at the start was a nice touch in the presentation of trying to make it more of a sport. Liked this better than their 94 matches which Takada seemed to dominate too much in my mind. Here he gets to thrown more suplexes which makes me happy.

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Takada looked great here, seeking out an armbar on the ground and delivering quick, crisp strikes. He also has legit superstar charisma. No question a huge part of that is Albright, who really was a great fit in UWFI and this style with a unique presence. I still haven't figured out scoring in UWFI and can get a bit thrown by how the points are moving, but it doesn't detract from this at all. Simple spots like a back suplex by Takadda after lots of grappling and striking get big reactions. Albright's strategy throughout was to maul Takada and take things to the ground. His dead lift German was great and another finishes it.

 

***1/2

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Good match, but Albright's suplexes (and a powerslam!) were what jumped out more than what Takada did, though his escape of a German attempt by tripping Albright and applying a toehold was a nice spot.

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This is such a smart match, from a wrestling perspective. Albright and Takada are both smart enough to know what they need to do to win. Gary needs keep with what had been working for him, namely his suplexes, and not get into a striking match. Takada needs to get Gary on the ground and take out his arms (just look at the size of Gary's legs). They way they put it together is excellent. Takada seems to finally be presented with a real challenge to his throne, and Gary had mowed down everyone in his path, but he's not in for a walk in the park.

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Each man started with 15 points. They lost 1 for takedowns and rope breaks and 3 for down counts. It can get a bit confusing watching shoot style on the Yearbooks when you're bouncing around different scoring systems.

 

Allbright was a beefy dude, yet was competent on the deck. Of course it was his fine array of suplay that brought him to the main event picture. Takada maintained control for the most part with his deadly arsenal of kicks and submissions. That was before the American stormed back with a couple of Release German's for the KO. A very impressive debut and a strong bout. It was dramatic and had narrative.

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This was almost two different bouts. When the action went to the mat, Takada dominated with his leg-based submissions. But he couldn't counter Albright's pro-style throws, which included both slams and suplexes. This makes me wonder why more guys didn't use regular pro-style moves during shoot-style bouts more often.

 

The amazing thing about the finish was that it seemed to come out of nowhere. Takada had built an eight-point lead, and Albright seemed desperate to avoid being blown out of the arena. Then all of a sudden Albright hit the first suplex, but there was still not much worry, as Takada still led by five. When the second one hit, I didn't realize that Takada wasn't getting up until after the bell sounded. Talk about an upset!

 

I liked Albright's promo after the bout, and it was a nice touch for him to be helped out of the arena even in victory, selling the damage Takada's submission holds had done to his legs. I'd love to see another fight between these two soon.

 

Does anyone else notice the more-than slight resemblance between Albright and Steve Williams? Also, if I'm not mistaken, the N on Albright's singlet stands for Nebraska, which at that time was Oklahoma's mortal football enemy.

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Takada's first big UWFi "epic" and a very fun match up top, with Albright grabbing suplexes and Takada being the charismatic striker trying to kick Gary's head off. He also delivers a pretty sweet Saito suplex to Albright so lots of suplex love in this match -- loved Gary's back-to-back belly-to-bellies. The groundwork slows it down and isn't very interesting until Takada starts blasting Albright with leg kicks and counters the German with the toe hold. I liked that Gary's first shitty German suplex seemed like a result of his bad knee buckling but then he hits the second shitty German and it's definitely Takada sandbagging him -- who then just lays there like a goof to give Gary the KO victory. Cool moments but not a great match.

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