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Tag: Japan MMA

Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Shinya Aoki Reportedly Booked for Next DREAM Event

Kazushi Sakuraba Ricardo Arona photo eye face bloody MMA photos gallery
(Kazushi Sakuraba during his PRIDE glory days in 2005.)

By Elias Cepeda

When does a person not eagerly anticipate the next time one of his favorite fighters competes? When that fighter should have retired years ago due to the damage he’s endured over the years. That’s the way I’ve feel each time Kazushi Sakuraba gets a new match — not excited, but filled with genuine concern for his well-being. The legendary “Gracie Hunter” may be the best MMA fighter the warrior-nation of Japan has ever produced, but he’s lost four fights in a row, hasn’t won a bout since 2009, and has suffered enough beatings for 12 lifetimes. (This guy knows what I’m talking about.)

What makes Saku’s situation worse is that so many of his early losses were the result of savage abuse at the hands of much larger opponents (Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Cro Cop, Ricardo Arona, etc.), leaving him completely broken down at the age of 42. Sakuraba competed just once in 2011 — getting choked out at Dream 17 by unheralded Brazilian prospect Yan Cabral — and has yet to fight this year, while venturing back into pro wrestling just to stay active.

It is now being reported that Sakuraba will return to the ring at Dream’s next event, for a welterweight match against Shinya Aoki. If there’s a silver lining to rolling out Saku for another pay day, it’s that Aoki is foremost a grappler like Sakuraba, so it’s possible that we could see a technical wrestling and Jiu Jitsu match with minimal blunt strikes hitting the legend. Also, Bloody Elbow’s Anton Tabuena is reporting that the fight, now signed according to him, could be Sakuraba’s final MMA appearance.

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UFC Announces Return to Japan on February 26th, 2012

UFC Japan Japanese fighters 2012 Kid Yamamoto Yushin Okami Yoshihiro Akiyama Takeya Mizugaki
(“…In situations that the Planeteers cannot resolve alone, they can combine their powers to summon ‘Prime Sakuraba‘, a magical entity who possesses all of their powers magnified.” / Photo via BloodyElbow)

The UFC held a press conference earlier today in Tokyo, formally announcing their plans to host an event at the Saitama Super Arena on February 26th, 2012. No matchups were announced, but Japanese stars including Yushin Okami, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Takanori Gomi, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, Hatsu Hioki, and Michihiro Omigawa were all mentioned as likely participants. Former PRIDE stars like Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Cro Cop, Quinton Jackson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira are also possibilities.

Though the UFC held four events in Japan from 1997-2000, this will be the first Japanese show organized by the UFC while under Zuffa ownership. The prelims will begin at 10 a.m. local time (with the main card starting at noon) so that the event can be broadcast live at the usual time slot for North American viewers. It’s not clear yet whether UFC Japan 2012 will be a pay-per-view or “Fight Night” card, and no details were given regarding the event’s local broadcast plans.

Following a recorded video message from Dana White at the press conference, Zuffa LLC Asia Executive Vice President and Managing Director Mark Fischer addressed the media in attendance, saying:

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Aoki vs. ‘Chiquerim’, Hansen vs. Ishida Added to DREAM.17

Shinya Aoki Lyle Beerbohm Strikeforce MMA
(Subtlety has never been Shinya’s strong point. Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle)

Fresh off his first-round neck-crank victory over Lyle Beerbohm, Shinya Aoki will be returning to his homeland to compete at DREAM.17 (May 29th; Saitama, Japan). MMAWeekly reports that Aoki will take on former Shooto champ Willamy “Chiquerim” Freire, an 18-4 Nova Uniao product who was recently cut from the UFC after a single unsuccessful performance against Waylon Lowe at Fight for the Troops 2. The loss snapped an 11-fight win streak that included victories over Patricky Freire (no relation) and Yusuke Endo.

Also supporting the Japan Bantamweight Tournament at DREAM.17 will be a featherweight meeting between PRIDE Bushido/DREAM mainstays Joachim Hansen and Mitsuhiro Ishida. Hansen’s last DREAM appearance was a first-round submission of Hideo Tokoro last September, while Ishida is riding back-to-back decision victories over Daiki Hata and “Wicky” Akiyo Nishiura. Speaking of Wicky, he’s also been booked for a DREAM.17 date against 15-year MMA veteran Caol Uno, who has gone winless in his last five fights.

Of course, Uno has previously suffered losses to Aoki and Hansen, while Aoki and Hansen have fought each other three times. Basically, everybody mentioned in this article shares germs.

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Sengoku Death Watch: Primary Sponsor Pulls Out, Promotion Circling Down Drain

Sengoku ring girls Japanese MMA photos
(Sadly, the Sengoku Girls have already been disassembled and sold for scrap.)

Well, it’s not like we expected something miraculous to happen after Sengoku started granting releases to their biggest stars. The Japanese promotion posted an “urgent report” on its website yesterday, saying that primary sponsor Don Quijote has pulled all of their financial support from the company, and if they can’t find another sponsor to replace DQ, Sengoku’s collapse will be unavoidable. More details via FightOpinion:

The note says that Don Quijote was backing the company fully, including office headquarters. The note says that a lot of money was lost and that rather than stay in the ball game, Don Quijote left and that the ‘heartless mass media’ comments made about them didn’t help matters. Sengoku’s note claims that Don Quijote will continue sponsoring other MMA organizations but that everything is under further review.

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Video: Mark Coleman’s Latest ‘Fight’ Didn’t Go as Planned


(Props: densetsug via MiddleEasy. Match starts at the 2:01 mark)

UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman hasn’t competed in a legit MMA fight since he was choked out by Randy Couture at UFC 109. What you see above is Coleman performing in a worked MMA-style wrasslin’ match at the IGF Genome 13 event back in September against Shinichi Suzukawa (who will be appearing against Bob Sapp on the Dynamite!! 2010 card). The thing is, this particular work was supposed to be worked in Coleman‘s favor. We’ll let Phil Baroni tell the story:

"It was supppose to be a pro wrestling match. It was suppose to be 3 min.
Coleman was suppose to win. The fat fucking douch scum bag didnt do the match the way it was suppose to be. That film was eddited. The Fat didck was suppose to tap from a head lock. He would not and kept rope escaping. Coleman squeezed hard a few times and burnt him self out trying to get the guy to tap.

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‘Sengoku Raiden Championships 12′ Bout Order and Preview

Yoshihiro Kiss Nakao MMA
Yoshihiro Kiss Nakao MMA
(Yoshihiro "Kiss" Nakao — still pretty creepy. Photos courtesy of src-official.com.)

A day after WEC 47 pops off in Columbus, Sengoku will be holding their latest event at the Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Unfortunately the card won’t be broadcast live on HDNet — they’ll be airing it next Friday at 8 p.m. — but we’ll be sure to put up videos of the best fights by Monday. Check out the complete eight-match lineup, via japan-mma.com:

8. Jorge Santiago (21-8-0, champion) vs. Mamed Khalidov (20-3-1, challenger), for SRC Middleweight Title
7. Akihiro Gono (31-15-7) vs. Diego Gonzalez (13-3-0), welterweight
6. Maximo Blanco (4-2-1) vs. Chang Hyun Kim (15-5-0), lightweight
5. Marlon Sandro (15-1-0) vs. Tomonari Kanomata (15-4-5), featherweight
4. Yoshihiro “Kiss” Nakao (8-2-0) vs. Henry "Sentoryu" Miller (6-9-0), heavyweight
3. Yuji Hoshino (16-7-7) vs. Nick Denis (9-1-0), featherweight
2. Kiuma Kunioku (34-22-9) vs. Leonardo Santos (6-3-0), lightweight
1. Shigeki Osawa (4-1-0) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (4-2-0), featherweight

Some important points…

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Fights Announced for ‘DREAM vs. Sengoku’-Themed Dynamite!! 2009 Card

Dynamite!! 2009 MMA poster Japan New Year's
(The appropriately epic poster for Dynamite!! 2009.)

Members of FEG and World Victory Road held a press conference earlier today in Japan to discuss their collaborative effort for New Year’s Eve, Dynamite!! 2009: The Power of Courage. A batch of fights were announced, and the lineup (via Nightmare of Battle) is looking like this so far…

MMA Heavyweight Feature:
Satoshi Ishii vs. Hidehiko Yoshida

Super Hulk Tournament Final:
Ikuhisa "Minowaman" Minowa vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

DREAM vs. Sengoku Raiden Championship:
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto vs. Masanori Kanehara
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Michihiro Omigawa
Hideo Tokoro vs. Marlon Sandro
Hayato “Mach” Sakurai vs. Akihiro Gono
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hiroshi Izumi
Alistair Overeem vs. Kazuyuki Fujita

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Josh Barnett Likely for 11/7 Sengoku Event, Will Be Drug-Tested in Japan

Josh Barnett Fedor Emelianenko MMA
("So listen, you got any clean urine I can borrow?" Photo courtesy of MMA Junkie.)

According to a story on Sherdog, Sengoku is planning to book American steroid aficionado Josh Barnett for their November 7th card, but not against Antonio Silva as was originally suggested; Silva is currently scheduled to fight at Sengoku 10 in September. Conveniently, World Victory Road Director Takahiro Kokuho is giving Barnett the benefit of the doubt regarding his latest positive test in California:

Kokuho expressed skepticism over the handling of [Barnett's] test samples by the California State Athletic Commission. Citing Kazuhiro Nakamura’s three-month suspension by the CSAC in September 2007 for a positive marijuana test, Kokuho said Nakamura’s protest and ensuing request to be retested using hair samples were denied. The encounter, according to Kokuho, left him wary of CSAC drug testing procedure. However, Kokuho said he plans to subject Barnett to drug testing before his November appearance with the promotion.
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Aoki vs. Hansen III, Super Hulk Semis + Featherweight GP Finals Set for DREAM.11

Joachim Hansen Shinya Aoki MMA DREAM
(In the animal kingdom, playing dead can be considered an intelligent defense. In an MMA fight, not so much. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

Yesterday’s event may have been low on spectacle, but DREAM plans to come back strong for their next show. Here’s what’s on the card for DREAM.11 (October 6th, Yokohama):

— The long-awaited rubber-match between Shinya Aoki and Joachim Hansen. The two top-ten lightweights first met at PRIDE Shockwave 2006, where Aoki took out Hellboy via gogoplata. But Hansen got revenge last July, scoring a brutal TKO over Aoki at DREAM’s lightweight GP finals. Hansen has been inactive since that fight, while Aoki has gone 4-1, earning victories over Eddie Alvarez and Vitor Ribeiro, with his only loss to Hayato Sakurai in an ill-advised welterweight match.

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DREAM.9: Blow by Blow

Jason Miller Mayhem Ronaldo Souza Jacare MMA DREAM
(You know, Jason, it would be nice if your junk transitioned to a renewable energy source. Photo courtesy of DreamOfficial.com)

The return of Kid Yamamoto. Light-heavyweights fighting super-heavyweights. Desperate baseball players possibly dying in the ring. Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to see some crazy shit. DREAM.9 kicks off in a few minutes, and if you’re reading this live, God bless you. Round-by-round updates from the HDNet broadcast are after the jump; refresh the page every few minutes to get all the latest. If there’s a long stretch of time where there’s no updates, it just means that I’ve fallen asleep. Let’s all hope that doesn’t happen.
 

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