On July 12, 2014 Akihiro Gono made his lightweight debut in Brazil a successful one with a split decision win over Andre de Jesus at Hill Fighters 2.
Seeking to reinvent himself, Gono has been training with Coach Andre Benkei at Oxygym for the last five months, during which time he has fought and won twice. The recent fight was a major decision to drop back to the lightweight division, which at the ripe age of 40 is no mean feat.
Gono was 4 kilos over the 70 kilo limit on the morning of the weigh ins. As he reached the 1 kilo over mark, his opponent was at the same, and privately requested a catchweight. Gono responded with a hearty “No thanks. I will make that weight. You don’t need to keep going, but I will make it.” And make it he did.
On the day of the fight Gono was 10 kilos over and very strong. According to Coach Benkei, Gono controlled the whole fight, with a dominant first round to kick off the show.
In the second, the tide turned and he received a hard knockdown. Dizzy from the punch, de Jesus got him in a deep guillotine but he was able to escape, displaying some high-level grappling he’d been picking up with Professor Edson Dinis.
In the final round, Gono picked an insane rhythm and was able to show off his ground and pound. It was what ultimately handed him the decision by the judges.
All photos courtesy of Valmir Silva, MMASul.co.br.