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Akihiro Gono Bio

Akihiro Gono (郷野聡寛, Gōno Akihiro) (born October 7, 1974) is a Japanese mixed martial artist. He is best known for his clever and deceptive fighting style, and for his flashy ring entrances. His fighting style is characterized by skillfully avoiding strikes, using fast counter punches and generally getting the opponent to fight his way. He is one of only four men to beat Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard, and one of six to beat the DREAM Light Heavyweight Champion and former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi.

Contents

  • 1 Mixed martial arts career
    • 1.1 Shooto and Pancrase
    • 1.2 Pride Fighting Championships
    • 1.3 Ultimate Fighting Championship
    • 1.4 Sengoku
    • 1.5 ONE Fighting Championship
    • 1.6 Bellator & First Retirement
    • 1.7 Return to MMA
    • 1.8 Training & Fighting in Brazil
  • 2 Kickboxing
  • 3 Mixed martial arts record
    • 3.1 Mixed rules
  • 4 Submission grappling record
  • 5 Kickboxing record
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Mixed martial arts career

Shooto and Pancrase

Akihiro Gono began fighting mixed martial arts in 1994, competing in the Lumax Cup tournaments as a sambo representative. He got a win over Kazunari Murakami via head kick, but lost to him in their rematch the next year. Gono originally debuted in Fighting Network Rings's undercard, but he moved to Shooto after the Lumax Cup. His run there was uneventful, although he drew Jutaro Nakao and led Matt Hughes to a decision in his first years. The 2000 would be his breakout year, winning about veteran Masanori Suda, knocking out Ivan Salaverry via spinning kick and drawing with Murilo "Ninja" Rua.

Gono left Shooto for Pancrase in 2001 and became a member of Sanae Kikuta's Grabaka team. He again showed improvement, beating twice renowned Keiichiro Yamamiya and Chris Haseman and having a spirited match with Yuki Kondo, as well as a draw with Chael Sonnen. He stopped fighting for Pancrase in 2005 in order to focus in Pride Fighting Championships, though still as a Grabaka member.

Pride Fighting Championships

He began fighting in Pride Bushido with Bushido 2 in 2004, facing Murilo's brother Maurício "Shogun" Rua. Gono avoided Rua's first flurries with an elusive style, throwing Rua to the mat twice, but he was knocked out via punches and kicks when Maurício finally caught him. However, Akihiro recovered from his defeat at his next event, facing Gracie family member Rodrigo Gracie. The match was heated, as Rodrigo had submitted Gono's fellow shooter Hayato Sakurai in his debut while Gono had defeated Cesar Gracie's student Tim McKenzie back in Pancrase. During the match, Gono traded strikes with Gracie and was taken down and pressed at the first round, but he came back at the second, stopping takedowns and capitalizing with strikes, including a head stomp which bloodied Gracie.

In September 2005, Akihiro took part in the Pride Welterweight Grand Prix. He became controversial for criticising Ryo Chonan and Masanori Suda's performances and right to fight in the tournament, somewhat they called off on him back. At the first round, Gono won an upset over Daniel Acacio, showing one more time his ability to avoid damage in stand-up and counterattack. The same night, at the second round, he faced Dan Henderson, suffering an accidental headbutt before losing the match by KO.

In 2006, Gono returned to Pride, this time playing a new character, DJ Gozma, a parody of Japanese musician DJ OZMA. His entrances involved Gono wearing a vintage suit, including shoes and an orange wig, and accompanied by oddly dressed male dancers while the song age♂age♂EVERY☆Night by DJ OZMA played in the background. Also, when the fighters were introduced in the ring, Gono would drop his suit's pants to reveal zebra stripped fighting briefs.

He participated in the next edition of the Welterweight Grand Prix, defeating Cuban Olympic judoka Hector Lombard on the first round. Characteristically, Gono avoided the damage from Lombard's aggressive initial combinations and countered him with hard punches, keeping his hands unorthodoxly low and throwing spinning backfists. His next round match would be against Gegard Mousasi, which he won again, deflecting his attacks and working an armbar for the tap out. However, Gono was eliminated at the semifinals by Denis Kang.

Gono's last apparition in Pride was at Shockwave 2006, fighting a revenge match with Yuki Kondo which came from their Pancrase days. Despite injurying his hand earlier in the match, Gono won the match by unanimous decision.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Gono defeated Tamdan McCrory at UFC 78, by verbal submission due to an Armbar at 3:19 of the second round. It was reported (first by Dave Meltzer) that he came out to his usual entrance with his DJ GOZMA persona.

Gono then took on Dan Hardy at UFC 89, but suffered defeat via split decision. Gono was left swollen and bloodied by several of Hardy's left hooks. Gono rocked Hardy on more than one occasion. In the third round Gono pushed Hardy to the canvas, and subsequently landed an illegal knee to the face of the downed fighter. This caused the fight to be stopped for a short period. Hardy recovered and went on to win the split decision. The judges saw the bout 29-28 (twice) for Hardy, and 29-28 for Gono.

Gono lost to Jon Fitch in a preliminary bout at UFC 94: St. Pierre vs. Penn 2. Following his loss to Jon Fitch, Gono was released from the UFC. He left the company with a 1-2 record.

Sengoku

After being released by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Gono fought Dan Hornbuckle at World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 9 losing via head kick knockout in the third round.

Gono then fought Yoon Young Kim at World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 11 winning the fight via unanimous decision.

Gono fought fellow Pride veteran Hayato Sakurai at Dynamite!! 2009 winning the fight via armbar, late in the second round.

Gono fought Diego Gonzalez at World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku Raiden Championships 12 winning the fight via unanimous decision.

Gono made his Lightweight debut against Kyokushin kaikan expert Jadamba Narantungalag at World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku Raiden Championships 14 on August 22, 2010. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.

ONE Fighting Championship

Gono was photographed in the VIP area at ONE Fighting Championship: Champion vs. Champion leading to multiple websites speculating that he was about to sign a multi fight deal with ONE Fighting Championship.

Bellator & First Retirement

After losing to Michael Chandler at Bellator 67 on May 4, 2012, Gono announced his first retirement from MMA.

Return to MMA

Just under a year after he announced his retirement, Gono returned to MMA when he faced Taisuke Okuno at DEEP – 62nd Impact on April 26, 2013. He lost the fight by KO. Gono then fought to a draw against Yuki Okano at DEEP – Cage Impact 2013 on November 24, 2013.

Training & Fighting in Brazil

After training for months in Brazil at Oxygym in the city of Gramado, Gono back to action facing Brazilian prospect Eduardo Garvon at The Hill Fighters 1 in his Brazilian home-town city of Gramado. Gono had problems in the standup fight against the taller Brazilian, but seconds away for the end of the fight, Gono submitted Garvon via technical submission (arm-triangle choke).

He won his second fight in Brazil at The Hill Fighters 2 against André de Jesus via split decision.

Kickboxing

He lost to Bovy Sor Udomson via TKO (referee stoppage) in round one at Shootboxing 2012 – Act 4 on September 17, 2012, in Tokyo, Japan, failing to qualify for the 2012 S-Cup.

He lost to Satoru Suzuki by TKO at the end of round one in a reserve bout at the Shoot Boxing World Tournament 2012 in Tokyo, Japan on November 17, 2012.

Mixed martial arts record

Mixed rules

Submission grappling record

Kickboxing record

Legend: Win Loss Draw/No contest

See also

External links

MMA Shirts



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