Fans of women’s mixed martial arts felt fortunate when Greatest
Common Multiple announced its new all-female promotion, Valkyrie.
Now, they've got something else to smile about.
GCM's Valkyrie, which will hold its first card on Nov. 8, will not
be the only all-female fight promotion in Japan, as from the ashes
of Smackgirl, newly formed parent company Marvelous Japan has
announced its own upstart organization, Jewels.
Yuichi Ozono, an executive from Japanese event production company
Archery Inc. will lead Marvelous Japan. After learning of the
languishing Smackgirl and its business woes, Ozono formed Marvelous
Japan and acquired the assets and rights formerly belonging to
Smackgirl parent company Kilgore.
"I always liked the martial arts, especially Smackgirl, and when I
read that they were in trouble, I wanted to find out the truth,"
Ozono said. "I met with [former Smackgirl President Motoki] Shino
and heard that it was impossible for the promotion to continue, so
I proposed to him to let me take over the promotion. After several
discussions, we reached an agreement, and he gave me the management
team of Smackgirl."
Smackgirl itself was born out of another promotion's death. The
watershed, all-female promotion ReMix lasted only two events but
eventually was transformed into Smackgirl in May 2001. Smackgirl
went on to promote over 50 MMA and grappling events featuring a
large crop of the sport’s top women.
However, over its seven-year run, Smackgirl acquired considerable
debt, and, earlier this year, parent company Kilgore was plagued
with the unexpected departure of major sponsors and television
network deals, leaving the promotion in a terminal situation.
Smackgirl was originally set to stage its 2008 ReMix tournament
finale card on July 24 but was forced to postpone the event twice
before ultimately throwing in the towel.
“Smackgirl's name was tarnished with all the postponements and
sponsor troubles,” said Ozono. "I thought if we changed the name
and made a fresh start, it would let us develop.”
Jewels will also have a strong working relationship with Deep,
which may foster the participation of sterling female competitors,
such as Deep female champions Satoko
Shinashi and Miku
"I thought about creating a new female MMA event, but after I heard
about this new promotion, I have decided to work with them,” said
Deep boss Shigeru Saeki. "The most important thing is that [female
MMA] continues. We have to avoid a situation where fighters can’t
For now, Jewels will use the same rules once employed by Smackgirl,
featuring restrictions on ground-and-pound techniques for most of
its bouts. However, Ozono stated that the first priority of Jewels
was to build talented fighters, and that rules considerations will
come later. The promotion will also, at least temporarily, telecast
its events on Japanese combat sports-centric satellite channel
The promotion will stage its debut offering on Nov. 16 at Shinjuku
Face in Tokyo. Four bouts have been announced thus far, pitting
Mika Nagano against Saori
Takimoto against Masako
Yoshida, Sachi against Kazumi Kaneko and Harumi against Shizuka
Sugiyama. At least four more bouts will be announced for the
"K-Taro,” Osawa, Urushitani, Monma on tap for
Before its Cage Force bantamweight and featherweight tournaments
wrap up in December, Greatest Common Multiple will head back to its
familiar digs at Differ Ariake in Tokyo with one of its EX-Eastern
Bound events, and a sterling line-up will be in tow.
The Nov. 8 card, which will follow the Valkyrie promotion debut in
the afternoon, will feature several of Wajyutsu Keisyukai’s bigger
names, as Keita "K-Taro" Nakamura, Kenji Osawa,
Monma and Yasuhiro
Urushitani will all be in action.
While Nakamura’s opponent has not been announced, Monma and
Urushitani will see soft touches. Monma -- who was brutally punched
out by Hayato “Mach” Sakurai at Dream’s debut event in March --
will take on the debuting Andre “Napao” Mafetoni, the cousin of
stalwart heavyweight Gabriel
Gonzaga. Urushitani, who was shockingly submitted by Yuki Shoujou
in the Shooto ring in September, will meet Kiyotaka
Osawa, owner of just one win in his last five fights and coming off
of a unanimous decision loss to Scott
Jorgensen in the WEC in August, will meet scrappy Deep regular
Miyashita, who has been beaten just once over his last 14
The show was originally set to feature a Cage Force bantamweight
tournament semi-final between Takeya
Mizugaki and Taiyo
Nakahara, which was postponed from the Sept. 27 card after
Nakahara sustained an undisclosed injury in training. However,
Nakahara will not be healthy enough to compete Nov. 8. As a result,
Mizugaki will receive a walkover into the December final against
Hioki sets sights on Sato at Shooto ‘Tradition
After a nightmarish 2007 campaign, Hatsu Hioki
has rebuilt himself over the course of 2008 and will have the
chance to end the year with a bang. The young featherweight will
finally meet up with Shooto icon Rumina Sato at
Sustain's Shooto “Tradition 4” card on Nov. 29 at Korakuen Hall in
Hioki sustained heartbreaking losses to Antonio
Carvalho and largely unknown Jong Man Kim
in 2007 but is undefeated over his last five bouts, four of them in
2008. His latest victory was a first-round submission of rugged
Quenneville on Oct. 3. Sato, Shooto's tragic hero, has lost
four of his last five, having been choked out by former Shooto
world champion Akitoshi
Tamura in a crackling bout this past May.
Sato's May meeting with Tamura was originally scheduled to be
against Hioki, but the lanky Nagoyan was unable to recover from a
nagging knee tweak after his March thumping of Baret
Sustain has also announced a 115-pound bout between “ATCH Anarchy”
Takeuchi and Katsuya
Murofushi for the bill. Takeuchi has lost three straight,
including a split decision to Murofushi's younger brother, Shinya,
in September 2007. Both fighters are coming off losses to Noboru
“Shinpei” Tahara, who stopped Murofushi on a cut in May and
armbarred Takeuchi just six weeks later.
The pair of bouts joins the already announced card, featuring the
143-pound world title fight between champion Hideki
Kadowaki and former titleholder "Lion Takeshi" Takeshi
Inoue. Bouts pairing Hiromasa
Ogikubo with So Tazawa and
Kazeta with Yutaka Ueda are also on tap. In addition, Shooto
world 154-pound champion Takashi
Nakakura will compete against a yet-to-be-named opponent in a
Inoue-Oishi 2 to crown new lightweight
Pancrase has crowned two new kings this month alone, and it will
put another fighter on the throne before 2008 is over.
Kawamura avenged his loss to Keiichiro
Yamamiya and won the vacant light heavyweight King of Pancrase
on Oct. 1, and undefeated Brazilian prospect Marlon
Sandro took a decision win over veteran Masaya "J-Taro" Takita
on Oct. 23 to become Pancrase’s featherweight king.
Pancrase has since announced that its Dec. 7 installment of the
2008 Shining Tour at Differ Ariake in Tokyo will crown a new
lightweight King of Pancrase, when Katsuya
Inoue and Koji Oishi meet
for a second time.
Inoue, a former -- albeit undersized -- welterweight King of
Pancrase, made the drop to the lightweight division in April but
hasn’t found a victory in the division yet, drawing with Russian
Kurbanov before getting spanked by Nick Diaz.
Oishi, another small welterweight who recently dropped to
lightweight, was set to fight for the vacant lightweight King of
Pancrase throne in August, but his opponent, Shinsuke
Shoji, inexplicably announced his retirement shortly before the
event. Oishi is coming off a unanimous verdict victory over UFC
veteran and ZST torchbearer Naoyuki
Kotani on Oct. 1.
Inoue and Oishi met as welterweights in May 2007, when Inoue
punched out Oishi in the second stanza.
The Dec. 7 Pancrase bill will also feature the welterweight King of
Pancrase eliminator between Hiroyuki Noazawa and Tomoyoshi
Iwamiya, and hardluck veteran Daijiro
Matsui taking on Ichiro
Kanai. Light heavyweight champ Kawamura is scheduled for
non-title action, while hot prospects Seiya
Kawahara and Maximo
Blanco will face yet-to-be-determined opponents, as well.
'DJ.taiki'-Uematsu rescheduled, Obiya
un-retires at Deep 39 Impact
As quickly as Deep put its 38 Impact card in the books on Oct. 23,
promotional shot caller Shigeru Saeki is already laying plans for
Saeki got the ball rolling for the 39 Impact bill, scheduled for
Dec. 10 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, by announcing the formerly
postponed Daiki “DJ.taiki” Hata-Naoya
Uematsu bout as the first fight for the card. Uematsu and Hata
were originally scheduled to meet on Oct. 23, but a training injury
forced Uematsu off the card, and there was not sufficient time to
find the charismatic Hata an opponent.
The card will also feature the return of former Deep lightweight
Obiya, who has ended a brief retirement to head back into the
ring against a yet-to-be-named opponent.
Obiya won the vacant Deep lightweight crown against Ryan Bow in
April 2006 but was destroyed by Gilbert
Melendez and Luiz “Buscape” Firmino in his follow-up
performances in Pride Bushido. After losing his Deep crown to
Yokota in February 2007, the close compatriot and training
partner of Takanori
Gomi opted for temporary retirement.
Saeki also announced that the 39 Impact bill would feature one of
the promotion's thematic fight series, which will pit Deep
mainstays against fighters from the Wajyutsu Keisyukai network. No
matchups have been named yet.
Powergate revises rulebook for ‘Paradigm
After establishing its brand in western Japan over the last
three-plus years, quirky Kansai promotion Powergate is switching up
its rules for its next event.
Powergate has established its own profile in the Kansai region with
quirky aesthetics, including a hexagonal ring, restricted
ground-and-pound, a knockdown count, a rule prohibiting closed
guard and copious techno music. However, the promotion's Nov. 1
event at the Abeno Ward Hall in Osaka, aptly titled “Paradigm
Shift,” will feature the introduction of punches on the ground, the
allowance of closed guard and the abolition of the knockdown
Atsushi Tanabe, the president of Powergate parent company Versus,
explained that, as Powergate fighters begin fighting in other MMA
promotions with less restrictive rules, they were unprepared or
adversely impacted by their Powergate experiences.
Powergate featherweight champion Daiki Ozaki
took part in this year's ongoing GCM Cage Force featherweight
tournament but was eliminated by Takeshi
Yamazaki in the opening quarter-final round. Powergate poster
boy Hiroki “Goodman” Tanaka will compete on the Nov. 8 Cage Force
"This was well thought out,” said Tanabe. "We requested cooperation
with all the representatives from major gyms in Kansai, made an
independent committee and carried out deliberations.
"But, the greatest features of Powergate -- the six-sided ring and
background music -- will stay,” Tanabe added.
The Nov. 1 event will be headlined by promotional regular Fumihiro
Umezono, as he takes on former Shooto rookie champion Hiroshi