Josh Barnett, judo champion?
“The Babyfaced Assassin” from Seattle tread the path of his catch wrestling forefather Ad Santel Wednesday by submitting Japanese Olympic gold medalist judoka Hidehiko Yoshida (7-6-1) by heel hook at 3:23 of round three at World Victory Road’s inaugural Sengoku fight card in Tokyo.
A century ago, Santel waged war with judoka and proclaimed himself the world judo champion after defeating fifth-degree black belt Tokugoro Ito.
“I revived this rivalry when I fought Kazuhiro Nakamura,” Barnett (21-5) told Sherdog.com. “And, so I’m keeping it going for this century now.”
The fight was the American’s first in MMA since losing a unanimous decision rematch with current interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-4-1) on New Year’s Eve 2006.
His layoff had erased his name from most rankings which require activity in the previous 365-days; but, vanquishing the samurai establishes Barnett’s status as a top five heavyweight.
Gomi had been out of commission since tapping to Nick Diaz (15-7) in a gogoplata at PRIDE’s last American card in February 2007. After Diaz tested positive for smoking a doob’, the outcome was deemed a No Contest by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“Grabaka Hitman” Kazuo Misaki (19-8-2) got back to winning Wednesday with a guillotine submission of middleweight Afghan Siyar Bahadurzada (13-2-1) at 2:02 of round two.
Thick-skulled Japanese wrestler Kazuyuki Fujita (15-6) posted a north-south choke tapout of MMA-debuting Aussie kickboxer Peter Graham (0-1).
Santos will fight Joey Villasenor on a San Jose Strikeforce card at the end of March.
Middleweight Pancrase vet Ryo Kawamura (8-2-2) of Japan won a unanimous decision over formerly undefeated Brazilian Antonio Braga Neto (5-1).
Bodog Fight welterweight king “The Goat” Nick Thompson (35-9-1) also won a unanimous decision over Gracie Barra “Pitbull” Fabricio Monteiro (16-7).