Kyle Noke struck first against Keita Nakamura on Wednesday night in Sioux Falls, S.D., but it was the Japanese veteran who finished matters in their main-card contest. Noke came out and rocked Nakamura repeatedly in the first round with his striking.
The Aussie’s stiff jab, in particular, appeared to do the most damage in the first round. Nakamura survived the initial onslaught, however, and got a second chance in the second round.
The two got back on their feet, each welterweight scoring nicely at different times. Late in the round, however, Nakamura landed a right knee strike to Noke’s head, flush.
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Noke fell and Nakamura followed him to the mat, landing more strikes and looking to secure dominant position. He did, taking Noke’s back while both men faced the mat.
It initially appeared as though Noke would be able to make it to the third and final round as Nakamura had only moments to secure a choke. It was all "K-Taro" needed, however, as he sunk in the rear-naked choke and forced Noke to submit with just one second left in the round.
The finish came at 4:59 of the second round. "I’m so happy I can’t even say," Nakamura said, afterward, calling the victory the most important of his long career.
The win improves his record to 32-7-2-1. Noke’s loss drops his mark to 22-9-1.