Despite the big experience gap, Zeke Tuinei-Wily put up a fight against Satoshi Ishii at PFL 3 2019, ultimately losing a split decision.
Satoshi Ishii is one of PFL’s biggest additions for the 2019 season. The Japanese heavyweight won the Olympic gold medal in Judo in 2008, and has had a successful MMA career afterward. Ishii is currently on a six-fight win streak with the first five wins of the run being stoppages. The 32-year-old holds wins over KSW champion Phil De Fries, Jeff Monson, Tim Sylvia, Pedro Rizzo, and kickboxing legend Jerome Le Banner. He’s also competed against the legendary Fedor Emelianenko.
Zeke Tuinei-Wily joined the PFL roster to replace 2018 champion Philipe Lins, who is out for the season with an injury. The Hawaiian recently returned to MMA after a near three-year layoff in February with a submission victory. His record is just 3-1, holding a win over TUF alum Darrill Schoonover. Tuinei-Wily has yet to reach the final bell.
Zeke Tuinei-Wily came in with a punch that Satoshi Ishii ducked right under to drive his opponent down. Tuinei-Wily popped up and landed a nice body knee on the Olympian. After they separated, Ishii landed another brief takedown but Tuinei-Wily was looking fine on short notice, standing right up. The Hawaiian rushed Ishii with punches and pushed him against the cage. The fighters separated and traded heavy blows, and a body kick sent Tuinei-Wily backward. Ishii landed a heavy combination, but was unable to seriously damage his opponent before the end of the round.
It looked as if Ishii was inadvertently poked in the eye during an exchange, but it was not noticed as he quickly shot for an unsuccessful takedown. Tuinei-Wily hit him with a hard right straight, then stuffed a takedown. Tuinei-Wily was really giving Ishii a run for his money. The Japanese veteran pushed him against the cage, then landed a knee below the belt. Tuinei-Wily blitzed forward with strikes, but Ishii used his footwork to escape trouble. There was a clash of heads that rocked Tuinei-Wily, but his toughness shined through, taking the blows of the swarming Ishii before the round ended.
A right hook landed for the Olympian early in the final frame, followed by a takedown attempt against the cage. After Tuinei-Wily resisted the first attempt, Ishii finally got his first takedown and began working from half guard. Tuinei-Wily worked his way to his feet only to be slammed down by the judoka. He popped back up, but did not break free of the grip, leading to another takedown. Rinse and repeat one more time. The Hawaiian got up once more, then spun to get Ishii off his back. Ishii was able to land one more takedown despite this, ending the round in guard.
Satoshi Ishii def. Zeke Tuinei-Wily by Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)