Menjivar Advances, Gill Tests Unoin Losing Effort At K-1 Hero’s
Menjivar Advances, Gill Tests Uno
in Losing Effort at K-1 HERO’S
By Kelsey Mowatt
Canada went one-and-one this past weekend at the quarterfinals of K-1 HERO’S middleweight (155-pound) tournament in Tokyo, Japan. Montreal resident Ivan Menjivar (20-5) defeated Hideo Tokoro (14-11-1) by majority decision, while "Black Mamba" Kultar Gill (8-4) fell prey to a second round rear-naked choke from Japanese veteran Caol Uno (21-8-4). The Nation’s hopes will now rest solely on Menjivar, as he advances to the tournament’s semifinals on October 5. The semifinal match-ups for the fall card have not yet been announced by the organization.
"I’m very happy," Menjivar tells FCF. "I’m happy because I can continue on to another fight in the semifinals. If I take on Uno, a big name or not a big name it doesn’t matter to me, I don’t do this for popularity or to fight the big names — that’s easy come, easy go. I just want to train, fight, make some money and have fun."
Menjivar’s fight with Tokoro was reportedly one of the more entertaining fights on the card, as each fighter scored points in what was a back and forth affair. Despite numerous submission attempts from Tokoro, Menjivar was able to defend against the Japanese fighter’s ground game, countering with ground-and-pound offense and submission attempts of his own. When the judges’ decision was about to be rendered, Menjivar admits he was not entirely confident at the time that he would be awarded the victory.
"I wasn’t sure," says Menjivar in admitting he had doubts about which way the judges would lean. "The last few seconds of the fight he made an armbar on me. I escaped really well, [but] at the time I thought that maybe it was going to give him the edge for the decision. Now after watching the fight again I think I controlled most of the fight. I had the advantage in the stand -up, took him down a few times and when he tried to submit me, I would escape. I got the ground-and-pound going on him, had good position on him. I think I won the fight."
Menjivar’s manager and TKO President Stephane Patry has previously stated that he was hoping to have Menjivar fight at the upcoming September 29 TKO 27 to be held at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. Menjivar’s October 5 obligations in Japan, only six days removed from the Canadian event, now make his participation in the next TKO rather unlikely.
Kultar Gill apparently impressed in his losing effort to UFC veteran Caol Uno, nearly stopping the highly regarded Japanese lightweight in the first round, as Gill landed a devastating knee to his opponent’s head as he shot in for a takedown. Gill, a former kickboxing champion and noted striker, used the same technique to finish Tokoro at May’s K-1 HERO’S 5.
"I was surprised he didn’t stay down from the knee I landed," Gill tells FCF. "I dropped him with the knee right away but as I was punching him after he grabbed both my hands. I remember thinking I wish I was in PRIDE because with PRIDE rules I could have kept kneeing him, I would have probably won the fight. He’s a survivor though, one of the best fighters in the world."
Gill’s offense in the fight was not confined to the first round knockdown, however, as the Team Revolution fighter continued to attack Uno both standing and on the ground. The versatile grappler Uno managed to win the ground exchange in the end, however, submitting Gill at 3:30 of round two with a rear-naked choke.
"I won the first round, and I was winning the second," says Gill in scoring the fight up until he was forced to tap. "There was only a minute or so left when I got caught. Still, I think K-1 was very impressed with me; they brought me into lose to him and I gave him all he could handle. To be honest I just think I just got tired; it’s too bad I was only able to train two or three times a week to get ready for the fight. If I could just train, I really think I could beat everybody at my weight. I mean it’s MMA and anyone can lose, but if I could quit my day job and just fight I think I could be a champion. Unfortunately the bank doesn’t really care about that."