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[1996-04-26-RINGS] Volk Han vs Nikolai Zouev

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This gets upwards of ten minutes, and my thoughts of crowd excitement being a "no rolling on the mat" were washed. They're not reacting on a historically loud level or anything, but there's tons of claps for rope breaks and yells throughout. Really good match.

 

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The story here is that Zouev is effective for quick bursts--quick strikes, sudden takedowns--but Han owns him the longer things stay on the mat. Zouev gets a *yellow card*, which adds a point to his total, which I don't think I've seen in RINGS or any other shootstyle promotion. It's a cool, legit-looking gimmick, though. At the end they turn things on their head, as Han takes Zouev down but Zouev reverses into a form of twister to get an upset(?) tapout. Watching Han is always a treat, and this felt more fulfilling than the Yamamoto/Kohsaka match.

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Love this match-up. Han continues his more aggressive approach, coming out of the gate with knees to Zouev. But when it comes to the submissions, it's largely a stalemate and the struggle for position throughout is exactly what you'd expect from two submission masters. Zouev is quick to grab the ropes whenever Han snaps something off, and vice versa. At one point, Zouev turns up the heat and you don't see Han scramble often but he does here. Zoeuv's shoot snap suplex was cool and his leg scissors into the kneebar was a thing of beauty. Of course, Han pulls out the leg extension leglock, the single leg>STF>sleeper combo, the general octopus defense and offense. In the end, Zouev is able to block the hammerlock takedown and turn Han's attempt into a modified wakigatame for the big tap out. Great stuff as usual from these two. 

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