Ward wearing shoes, so he is not allowed to kick. Body kick and left hand by Hasegawa, who changes levels and grabs a bodylock against the ropes. Ward defending well thus far and the referee breaks them up. Head kick attempt, left hand lands for Hasegawa. Counter hook and counter right by Ward. Another counter right seems to shock Hasegawa, who comes back with a hard right of his own and looks for a takedown. Hasegawa looking for the single-leg but Ward manages to reverse and lock on a guillotine. Good scramble and a knee by Ward on the way up. Hard right hand by Hasegawa.
A big counter hook by Ward hits Hasegawa hard but Hasegawa shoots in and takes him down into half guard. Hasegawa pinning down an arm with his shin, takes side control. Elbows by Hasegawa and starts landing knees and elbows to the head from side control. He moves to north-south and lands another knee before returning to side control. Ward gives up his position but manages to stand, only to get slammed down once more. Ward trying to stand with the turnbuckle, nearly falls through the ropes and the referee separates them. They resume on their feet in the center and Hasegawa quickly shoots again. Ward defending against the ropes and the referee separates them again. Ward just throws a wild right hand and manages to catch Hasegawa. Hasegawa shoots and Ward reverses into side control. Big right hand by Ward and Hasegawa scrambles out of a ninja choke, taking side control. Hasegawa drops a right hand and lets him stand before the bell.
Ward lounges in on an early shot and again looks for a guillotine. Hasegawa tries a high-crotch, denied by the ropes but he manages to throw Ward down, but Ward stands and hits a throw in return and again takes top position. Hasegawa gives up his back and Ward goes palm-to-palm with a rear naked choke and taps Hasegawa out. Ward is the winner of the Japan vs. USA con-frontation.
An interview with Brennan Ward
Looking back, how do you think the fight went?
I am very relieved. It was a really tough fight. I only got the offer to fight 3 weeks ago, and honestly, my preparation was a little short. Also, the long flight over from the US made it a very tough fight, and also the fact that he was bigger than me. I’d love to have another chance to fight in such a big arena again.
What are your thoughts on your opponent?
He’s a very tough, strong fighter. And just as I thought, he was an excellent fighter. He’s the best opponent I’ve had so far, just as good as my opponent in Bellator when I won the title. Even when I attacked, he was able to stand up and punch. He was a great opponent.
How do you feel about the Japanese fans and the atmosphere at the arena?
I fight for Bellator in the US, but this was completely different. Bellator sells out too, but the level is different. When I saw the fans on the 29th, I was really surprised. It made me a little nervous, and I knew I had to put on a good fight. I’d love to have the chance to fight here again.