In the second of two semifinals, Teruto “Yashabo” Ishihara and Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura met to decide the final finalist for UFC Japan’s homegrown featherweight tournament.
The contrast in opponents was vivid in the appearances of Wicky’s twins and Yashabo’s party escapades, however, both fighters were equally p for this tournament.
Wicky entered first, walking out to Rapanese space music. Then Yashabo entered with his bespoke Reggae theme. Urijah Faber was in attendance to watch.
Yashabo threw the first kick, then kept it up, with Wicky looking to corner him. Yashabo shot but Wicky whizzered him and remained standing. Yashabo kept trying for the takedown at the cage but Wicky spun out and took the center again. Yashabo did an Imanari fake punch to a leg grab that total failed him and let Wicky get on top. Yashabo tried to back out and stand but Wicky stuck on and kept on top. Yashabo finally turtled, creatively reached for a leg and tried to get out.
Wicky kept a seatbelt on him from the back, tying up Yashabo’s arms until Yashabo could only use his strength to power out. At one minute left, he finally did. Yashabo darted in and tagged Wicky, but he wasn’t fazed. Wicky stayed patient and looked for a way in until he counter kicked Yashabo and almost had him down again.
A quick kick smack and Wicky finds himself stumbled and working to stand. Yashabo takes the back but Wicky gets to the cage and fights off repeated single legs and ankle grabs until he gets out at the halfway mark.
Wicky takes the center and jabs, finally kicks, and throws a right hook when Yashabo shoots again. Wicky stays up. Wicky pressures to the cage but he’s not following up with strikes. Finally at 30 seconds let he lands another jab, Yashabo shoots at ten seconds and they stand at the bell.
Yashabo kicks and comes in with punches and tries a shoot, and Wicky looks for the jab then tries a high kick. Wicky starts smiling and then his combination comes out! It’s baited Yashabo to get aggressive which is just what he wants but Yashabo uses the takedown attempt to stave off Wicky’s stand up.
Yashabo only has single punches now and Wicky thinks he can slip in on them. Wicky rushes in and gets caught in a forced shoot but Yashabo defends well. Wicky punches his way out. Yashabo tries to ramp up his attacks in the last 30 seconds and Wicky looks to counter but gets caught in the process.
Yashabo defeats Wicky by Unanimous Decision
Wicky did not show his normal striking pace and Yashabo was not able to end anything with his shoots, so both might have been a bit too cautious for the audience’s appreciation.
After the fight, Wicky called home to tell the news. Yashabo showered and then called his mom, along with flashbacks of his dad’s photograph cage side.
The final match will be Hirota versus Yashabo at UFC Fight Night Japan on September 26, 2015.