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[2007-05-13-BattlARTS] Yuki Ishikawa vs Munenori Sawa

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An excellent teacher vs. pupil bout. Ishikawa busting out ridiculous counters to Sawa's offense was really clever from a narrative standpoint because who knows Sawa's style and approach better than Ishikawa? At the same time though he sells a lot and puts Sawa over as a resilient and dangerous opponent. A great, complete performance. Lots of struggle and many intense, dramatic mat and strike exchanges. ****

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Lots of counterwork by Ishikawa to open, mixed with some hard strikes and Sawa trying to be a little flashier than usual, only to get taken down by Ishikawa into some kind of submission hold. It's the story of the master schooling the former pupil, knowing what to counter when. I like that at one point, Sawa escapes a leg hold by punching Ishikawa in the face a bunch. There are a ton of hard slaps to the face, Sawa dumps Ishikawa with a dragon suplex, and then the finish is pretty great, as they're both exhausted, throwing out whatever they have left in the tank. Ishikawa catches a kick and turns it into his sweet leg-trap German but Sawa won't stay down so Ishikawa punches him, kicks him head, and then continually headbutts him in the back of the skull until the ref calls for the bell.

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