Hayato Sakurai def. Phil Baroni by Decision (Unanimous)
On the third bout of the merged DREAM 18 and GLORY 4 card for NYE, Hayato Sakurai took on Phil Baroni in a welterweight contest.
During the opening round, the fighters engaged in a stalemate on the clinch, until Baroni was able to take Sakurai down. The NYBA was able to maintain top position and land very good ground and pound for a good portion of the round. During the last few seconds, Sakurai was able to mound some offense standing, landing a few punches right before the bell ended.
In the second round, Sakurai clinched with Baroni again, but this time, it was the Japanese fighter who got a good takedown. Sakurai was able to transition to dominant positions, landing in side control and even mount briefly, but he was unable to do damage with these. Baroni was able to get up, and secure a takedown of his own, continuing the ground and pound work he did for most of the first round. Baroni retained top position and kept on landing good shots until the round ended, and Sakurai was unable to mount much offense apart from a few upkicks.
As the third went on, both fighters exchanged in a very entertaining brawl with both fighters landing very hand shots. Baroni landed a big punch, and Sakurai immediately shot for a takedown. Baroni sprawled well and landed very good knees. The brawl continue afterwards, and after a great scramble that saw Sakurai land some knees on his own, Baroni was able to retain top control once again. After some ground and pound, they get stood up and the brawl continued.
Baroni looked to be winning up until the last few minutes, but when the American looked to have been exhausted, Sakurai was able to mount some big offense of his own during the final seconds. Baroni was on the ropes, and ate tons of punches as the Japanese fighter went for the kill. Baroni took the punishment, but managed to survive until the final bell.
The fight is judged as a whole, and not round by round, and eventually the judges gave the fight to Hayato Sakurai.
Here are the gifs courtesy of BE’s Zombie Prophet:
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