Column: Koco’s Corner #9 – (The Three Combat Sports “Stars of the Week” of 7/29 to 8/4 2012)

In ice hockey, the three stars of a match are the three best players as chosen by a third party, with the first star considered the best of the three players, akin to the man of the match in other sports. So once a week on Koco’s Corner I will choose the three stars of the week from all of the Combat Sports.

1. Kayla Harrison (Judo)

America finally has an Olympic judo champion — a 22-year-old from Ohio who was sexually abused by a former coach as a child, became a self-described “teenage punk” who hated everything about her sport and then found a way to turn everything around.

Harrison took the final step in the journey Thursday. She beat Britain’s Gemma Gibbons 2-0 for the gold medal in the women’s under 78-kilogram division.

Olympic Judo Gold Medalists in London

Kayla Harrison How I Won Gold

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2. Lyoto Machida (MMA)

A four-man shootout for the next UFC light-heavyweight title shot ensued on Saturday night, and at the end of it Lyoto Machida was the man who stood out above the others.

The Dragon, the only man to ever take a round off reigning champion Jon Jones, delivered a knockout of Ryan Bader that saw Bader fail to lay a glove on his rival.

UFC on Fox (4): Shogun vs. Vera Quick Results

Dana White: Lyoto Machida Deserves Title Shot More Than Shogun Rua

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3. Kaori Matsumoto (Judo)

Fighting in the women’s 57K division Monday, Matsumoto defeated Romanian Corina Caprioriu, using footwork to gain an advantage throughout the match. Caprioriu was disqualified during overtime for an illegal attack from behind, but still got the silver medal.

Despite their top seeding, the Japanese women had failed to make it to the podium. Before her fight Monday, Matsumoto said one of her ousted teammates told her: “You are going to win gold for us.”

Matsumoto said she talked to herself on the way to her final, telling herself to remain focused and calm.

“On behalf of my teammates, I am very happy that I was able to get a gold,” Matsumoto said.

Improve your overall Judo Game with Workouts for Judo!