Koubousen Companion: Takaya to WEC
The "Streetfight Bancho" is set for stateside action.
A source has confirmed to Sherdog.com that standout 145-pounder
(Pictures) has signed a multi-fight
deal with Zuffa-owned World Extreme Cagefighting. The 30-year-old
Japanese fighter is expected to debut on the February WEC card,
which is tentatively scheduled to feature a lightweight title clash
between "Razor" Rob
McCullough (Pictures) and Jamie Varner (Pictures), as well as a welterweight title
defense by reigning champion Carlos Condit (Pictures).
Takaya last saw action in November, when he stopped Antonio Carvalho (Pictures) in the third round of a
sensational striking clash. The bout came on the heels of Takaya's
return to the featherweight division in September, which brought a
knockout win over American Jarrod Card (Pictures) in Cage Force. Following the
victory over Card, Takaya revealed that he wanted to move stateside
and was especially interested in fighting WEC 145-pound kingpin
Urijah Faber (Pictures).
Takaya began his career in pro Shooto at 143 pounds. He was quickly
targeted as a future contender for then-champion Alexandre Franca
Nogueira (Pictures). However, following a December
2004 loss to Gilbert
Melendez (Pictures), Takaya opted to move to 154
pounds for the opportunity of more lucrative paydays in K-1
Smack Girl has taken the title of its "Starting Over" card quite
The organization has announced that for its Dec. 26 seventh
anniversary card at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, it will do away with
the much-maligned 30-second ground time limit. Smack Girl has
imposed the limit for nearly all of its bouts over the last seven
Also, the promotion will cease "Smack Girl Special Rules." The
rules had been used for bouts with elite fighters, such as Yuka Tsuji (Pictures) and Megumi Fujii (Pictures), and allowed for no ground time
limits and full ground-and-pound. Since the removal of these
provisions will not allow for ground-and-pound, Smack Girl is
currently considering launching a sister event for top females that
would allow full MMA rules.
The Dec. 26 bill will feature a wide array of top female talent. In
the main event, Smack Girl 115-pound champion Yuka Tsuji (Pictures) will put her title on the line
against South Korean striker Su Hi Ham (Pictures).
Tsuji is coming off a crushing first-round KO of Michelli Tavares
(Pictures) in September that avenged
the only loss of her career. Ham made her organizational debut on
the same card, besting Tsuji's teammate Ayumi "Edge" Saito by
Additionally, female superstar Megumi Fujii (Pictures) will return to Smack Girl, taking
on Mika Nagano. The undefeated Fujii dominated Kyoko Takabayashi
(Pictures) in the Shooto ring last
month and has posted a 4-0 mark on the year. The bout figures to be
a mismatch of sorts as Nagano, a former amateur wrestler who has
dabbled in Smack Girl grappling tournaments, is making her pro MMA
debut in the fight.
In another mismatch involving a star female, Smack Girl 106-pound
queen Satoko Shinashi
(Pictures) will find easy duty against
novice Muay Thai convert Ann.
In more relevant action, former Smack Girl open-weight champion
(Pictures), loser of her last three
bouts, will look for a much-needed win in difficult waters against
physically imposing American Lana Stefanac (Pictures). The 5-foot-10, 210-pound
Stefanac has destroyed her first four opponents in MMA in less than
a combined five minutes.
Furthermore, Smack Girl revealed that the event will be broadcast
on Jan. 26 in a two-hour format on BS Fuji, a popular satellite
subsidiary of one of Japan's six major television networks, Fuji
Television. Smack Girl events are typically televised only on
J-Sports, the Japanese affiliate of ESPN.
Smack Girl also released plans to double up the World ReMix
tournament in 2008.
After milestone tournaments in 2000 and 2004, Smack Girl will host
two ReMix tournaments next year. As has been tradition with the
ReMix tournament, one of the tournaments will be an open-weight
bracket. The other bracket will be contested at 115 pounds, where
Smack Girl executives feel the greatest concentration of female
The tournaments will be contested over a series of three events,
with cards on Feb. 14, April 25 and July 24, all at Korakuen Hall
Smack Girl has not released a list of potential competitors for the
tournaments. However, given the inclusion of a 115-pound
tournament, there is much speculation that the promotion will
attempt to include both 115-pound champion Yuka Tsuji (Pictures) and superstar Megumi Fujii (Pictures) in order to potentially set up a
much-anticipated finale that may also be the biggest bout in female
mixed martial arts to date.
This Saturday will crown another crop of rookies in the ring of
Sustain's 2007 finale at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo will draw the sixth
annual Shooto rookie tournaments to a close, crowning tournament
champions in six of seven weight classes. The only rookie final
that will not be contested on the card will be the 154-pound
Advancing to the 154-pound final this year were Purebred Kyoto
teammates Yutaka Ueda and
Hiroshi Shiba, who
decided among themselves that Shiba, the senior of the two, would
win the tournament by default. This has led to Shooto authorities
revealing that effective in 2008, gyms will not be able to field
more than one fighter in a single rookie tournament.
In the main event of the card, arguably 2006's most outstanding
rookie champion, Masakatsu
Ueda (Pictures), will take on ADCC veteran Tetsu
"Hadairo" Suzuki in a 132-pound contest. The 29-year-old Ueda, an
All Japan amateur Shooto champion and holder of an amateur
wrestling win over Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto, is considered one of
the best up-and-comers in pro Shooto. He fought to a competitive
draw with fellow former rookie champion Takeya Mizugaki (Pictures) in July.
The highly unorthodox and colorful "Hadairo" has had a rough go of
things in '07, posting an 0-2-1 mark, and Atsushi Yamamoto (Pictures) handled him decisively in the
Shooto ring in September.
In the 115-pound tournament final, undefeated All Japan amateur
champion Hiroyuki Abe of
K'z Factory will look to repeat his first win as a pro against
(Pictures) of Paraestra Tokyo.
Abe, who dominated Tomohiko Yoshida in the
semifinals last month, dominated Ikeda in his pro debut last
November and choked him out in the second round. Ikeda notched his
first career win in September, stopping Tatsuya Yamamoto (Pictures) with strikes on the feet to
advance to the final.
In the 123-pound finale, 2006 All Japan amateur champion Tatsuro Kamei (Pictures) of Paraestra Hiroshima will look
to seal a tournament victory against Wajyutsu Keisyukai Tokyo's
Kenji Hosoya. Hosoya received a bye into the semifinals and took a
majority decision over Yosuke Ebihara (Pictures) to advance in May.
Meanwhile, Kamei impressively defeated Kenya Kayo and Suguru Inoue
in the quarters and semis to advance, beating both via triangle
choke in less than a combined five minutes.
In a battle of former All Japan amateur champions, 20-year-old
Paraestra Matsudo product Hiromasa Ougikubo
(Pictures) will face off with Purebred
Kanayama (Pictures). The 2005 132-pound All Japan
amateur champ Ougikubo knocked off Satoru Ota in May before flattening
(Pictures) and choking him out in
Kanayama, who won his amateur title in 2005 at 143 pounds, has not
fared well as a pro, posting a 1-2-3 record. He drew both Nobuhiro Hayakawa and
Junya Kudou (Pictures) earlier this year, but he was
able to advance in the tournament both times by picking the lucky
envelope after the draws were announced.
In the 143-pound final, Tomonori Taniguchi
(Pictures), a pupil of Hayato Sakurai (Pictures), will look to even out his record
against heavily tattooed Hiroshiman Kazuhiro Ito (Pictures). Taniguchi began his pro career
0-3 before impressively stopping both veteran Yohei Suzuki (Pictures) in a non-tournament bout and
(Pictures) to advance to the finals in
Ito was dominated in his pro debut against Daisuke Matsumoto, but he
has looked sensational in tournament action, quickly armbarring
Takumi Ota (Pictures) and knocking out Toshihiko Yokoyama
(Pictures) to reach the tournament
final in a combined 58 seconds.
Submit Shizuoka's Akihiro
Yamazaki and Shooting Gym Osaka's Tomokazu Yuasa (Pictures) will square off in the 168-pound
semifinal. The aggressive submission stylist Yamazaki impressively
submitted BJJ black belt Mateus Irie Nechio
(Pictures) in March, then edged out
Daisuke Okumiya in
September to punch his ticket to the final. The powerful brawling
Yuasa picked the lucky envelope in March after his tit-for-tat
battle with Takesuke
Kume (Pictures) was judged a draw. He then
Sugimoto (Pictures) in October to advance.
At 183 pounds, Hiroki Sato
(Pictures) of Kakuto Circle OZ will
meet Takaaki "C-Boy" Oban in the final. Sato crushed Atsushi Matsuki (Pictures) in last month's semifinal bout
with a first-round knockout, and Oban quickly submitted Seiji Furukawa in May to reach
In other non-tournament action on the bill, 2006 168-pound rookie
runner-up Taisuke Okuno
will return against Hirosumi "C-Priest" Sugiura; Noboru Asahi pupil Hiroshi Nakamura will take on
(Pictures) pupil Kyotaro Nakao (Pictures); and Italian import Paolo Milano (Pictures) will meet veteran Koumei Okada (Pictures).
MARS will return Sunday with its 10th production, "All Out War," at
Differ Ariake in Tokyo.
The card will be headlined by a 170-pound bout between South Korean
Myeon Ho Bae (Pictures) and Brazilian import Anderson Sato (Pictures) of Muay Thai Dream Team. Myeon
has picked up two victories in MMA action this year, besting
(Pictures) and Seiki Ryo (Pictures) in the MARS ring. Sato had an
unimpressive MARS debut in October, when Samuel Raposo
Kinoshita (Pictures) dominated and dispatched him via
As usual the bill will feature both kickboxing bouts and "Blast
Bouts," a MARS feature in which kickboxing rules bouts are
contested with five-ounce MMA gloves.
In other MMA action, South Korean Parky, who impressed in his
organizational debut in October with a KO win over William Animal (Pictures), will take on undefeated
Japanese-Brazilian grappler Hairan Nishimura. Also,
Shuya Arimura will meet
Vitor Toffaneri; Hiroshi
Kobayashi will take on William Animal
(Pictures); and Kim Jun Jong will face
DEEP will head to the Ishikawa Industrial Hall on Sunday for
A co-feature of both kickboxing and MMA, the feature bout will see
DEEP 106-pound queen Miku
Matsumoto (Pictures) take on hard-luck veteran
Yukiko Seki (Pictures). Matsumoto is already 4-0 on the
year, including her August title capture over Hisae Watanabe (Pictures). Seki represents merely an
opponent for Matsumoto, sporting a dismal 4-12 record and coming
off a lackluster loss to a novice Brandy Nerney (Pictures) in California last month.
Also on the bill, longtime Pride veteran Daijiro Matsui (Pictures) will take on Carlos Toyota (Pictures). Matsui hasn't fought since his
decision loss to Mark Weir
(Pictures) in England in April, and
Toyota is coming off an October win in DEEP over Ryosuke Kojima.
In other MMA action, Tomohito Watanabe will take on Shinobu Aoyama, and Masayuki Demise will face
Meanwhile, two Pancrasists will head into the heart of the Pacific
to take part in the debut of Filipino promotion Ring of Fire's
Pancrase icon Yuki Kondo
(Pictures) and contender Koji Oishi (Pictures) will represent Team Josh Barnett (Pictures) against Team Gokor Chivichyan in the first
team-based Ring of Fire show at Araneta Stadium, the home of the
landmark "Thrilla in Manila" between Joe Frazier and Muhammed
Barnett still reigns as the open-weight King of Pancrase. He
personally selected both Kondo, whom he defeated to win the title
in August 2003, and Oishi to represent his team.
In a 185-pound bout, Kondo will take on Swedish native August Wallen. The 33-year-old
Kondo has been largely disappointing since his long-desired move
down to the 185-pound division. However, he is coming off a
dominant decision win in the Pancrase ring in October over
converted karateka Yuji
At 155 pounds, Oishi will take on undefeated Hayastan standout
(Pictures). Like Kondo, Oishi recently
dropped a weight class. He made his 155-pound debut against
Canadian wrestler Chris Ade
at the August Bodog Fight Vancouver tapings, notching a third-round
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