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Jetlag

[2002-06-09-BattlARTS] Yuki Ishikawa vs Katsumi Usuda

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Our only BattlARTS main event of the year, but it's a good one. These two always have good matches, and this time they went for a full blown 19 minute main event. What was cool about this was that normally you had Usuda as the aggressive striker with Ishikawa working counters. Here Usuda was still aggressive but Ishikawa gave him back good, so Usuda was also using his defensive tools more, which is something he does very well, and you had a match basically built around who could turn the others aggression against himself first. Match has lots of good matwork and also some insanely stiff headbutts and kidney shots. I especially like anytime Usuda would get aggressive on the mat, normally you would go to the mat to seek safety from a striker, you aren't safe from Usuda though. It really is a crying shame Usuda was so underutilized on the indie scene, atleast Ishikawa got himself a spot on Michinoku Pro undercards that year. Usuda takes as good as he gives, taking some crazy crazy suplex bumps. There are some excellent submission teases and the finish was pretty epic with multiple face shattering kicks and Ishikawa just rattling Usuda with a big punch. The finish plays up the story of the match as it was all about who would get the deciding counter.

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I was dismayed to see Ishikawa in MMA trunks, but this ended up being one of the more memorable Ishikawa vs. Usuda fights. Anyone who thinks Low Ki vs. Danielson is a straight MMA/shoot style knock off needs to watch the real thing. This was a better MMA/shoot style bout than Low Ki vs. Danielson, but it lacks the hype of two US indie workers defying the norm. You can argue that it doesn't have the three act structure that Danielson and Low Ki tried to use even in their tap out match, but the work itself is superior to the tape influenced Low Ki and Danielson. 

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