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Charles (Loss)

[1991-12-07-RINGS] Akira Maeda vs Volk Han

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The chronological yearbook debut of Volk Han. He looks awesome here. You may have seen submissions before, but he also has a lot of what I like to call subsubmissions, for lack of a better term. For example, applying a larger submission hold, like a leglock, while at the same time applying a smaller submission hold, like an ankle lock. He is amazingly crafty and seems dangerous from any position. This match really captures the essence of what made him great.

 

Maeda is doing the same takeovers and submission attempts that everyone in UWFI was doing at the time, so I guess it's fair to say that the distinguished RINGS style is more because of Han's ring work than Maeda's. That said, I thought Maeda looked good here too, especially with the surprise high kick that popped the crowd and did a great job teasing a finish. I liked the acutal finish too, as they were playing tug of war with limbs.

 

This feels like a really good intro for RINGS, for this style and for Volk Han.

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Volk’s striking was inconsistent at times where some strikes didn’t look good and then he’d hit a great palm strike. He was adding headbutts to the sternum to finish off combos. Might be not wanting to show too much on the strikes. His take downs are very nice and he is always trying to finish it on the mat which is a plus for these type of matches. Maeda throws a really wild kick that actually hits and knocks down Volk. Liked the finish too with the duel submission attempt.

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Han makes a great impression right off the bat, hitting a gorgeous takedown into a cross armbreaker. Then a bit that I LOVE where Maeda does the standard defense of grabbing his own hand, so Han simply reaches over and starts pulling on the other elbow, forcing a rope break. An instant sign that Han is simply on another level when it comes to submissions. I didn't think Maeda was doing a whole lot for most of this, but that spin kick was fucking awesome and the crowd let us know about it. I could have bought that as the finish easily, but instead they get tied up on the mat and Maeda wins the duel, which is a better way of keeping Volk looking strong since he lost a battle that could have gone either way instead of getting KTFO'd.

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This felt like the first match in a series. They were feeling each other out and weren't sure how to work together yet. There were hints of what was to come from Han.

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I thought the first 10 minutes were great. I was really zoned in on it and just enjoying the story of Han being a bit quicker, and better on the ground than Maeda. It's a good intro to Han and his ability to always grab *something* and just start twisting it. Then after the first 10, Han just sort of stands around looking winded for a minute, they hit the spin kick, then go to the finish.

 

Not a perfect match by any means but still compelling viewing. Probably the best intro match for RINGS just as a good example of what it is about. I think UWFi often got it wrong by letting fights drag on too long which often resulted in just massive periods where guys lay around in leg locks because they are limited in what you're allowed to do in this style, where as this is really a better sort of length for the style to work towards. Shoot style can be really enjoyable stuff when it is done well.

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I agree that the opening really reeled me in, really everything up until the Maeda false finish kick. Then, I was shocked to see him kind of just abruptly end the match from there. I understand that the way the match was set up, it could have ended at any time, however I was still left disappointed. Han does look great in this though and maeda hangs right with him. I agree that this would be a good starting off point for RINGS and it is my barometer of a great match in 1991.

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This match kind of sucks. This being Han's first match he forgets that he's supposed to make it seam like an actual struggle and not two buddies playing around. Han constantly turns his back on Maeda and doesn't protect himself to which Maeda responds by doing nothing. Not only that but Han's gassed fairly quickly and is constantly resting to which Maeda responds by once again doing nothing. Volk Han is clearly the superior shooter as he still able to block or counter pretty much ever move Maeda makes. Embarrassing.

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I really couldn't get into this much. Shoot style is hit-or-miss for me as it is, and this was one of the misses. I appreciated Han's superior athleticism, and that's about where it ended. The submission sequence confused me because it looked like a massive tangle of legs, and since Han had the better of the offense just prior to that, I assumed he had the winning hold on Maeda instead of the other way around. The only really exciting moment came when Maeda almost took Han's head off with a spin kick. Other than that, this was all a mishmash.

 

I hope Han gets better as he gains more experience, because tight now he looks about the same as most other rookies, though he's a tad more athletic, as I mentioned above.

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Slightly disappointing but still a very good match. I really liked Han's focus and urgency here and he looked impressive right out of the gate. Maeda didn't really do much here I thought but this was a great indication of Han's submission wizardry and skills. Smart finish too. *** 3/4

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You already see the greatness that is to come from Han. Sure, awkward moments pop up from being unsure how to hold back or dropping the illusion of defense. Conditioning, or lack thereof, also plays a big factor, which allows Maeda to take his head off with a big spinning heel kick near the end. He’s never been a big striker, although he’ll throw a couple face slaps here and there, or the occasional chest headbutt, but his meat-and-potatoes are his takedowns and submission attempts. He manages a cool rolling armbar or kneebar takedown, and at one point, he seemingly DDTs Maeda. The last couple of minutes are a lot of fun, with Maeda pissing off Han and eating a uranage before snagging Han’s leg to pick up the submission win.

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It surprises me that Han throws better kicks than Maeda throughout. His palm strikes are far better when he is in close and they connect , might be him taking it easy on Maeda though. It strikes me that Volk may have given the striking advantage to people later in his career to create more drama. Han is winded very quickly and only gets worse as the match goes on. Maeda clearly not fighting at all while Han was catching his breath was just plain not good. I love Volk but both of these guys have better matches in them.

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