Yoshiyuki Nakanishi | Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
On Wednesday, Japanese promotion Deep added to its first card of the year, “52 Impact,” announcing four bouts for the Feb. 25 bill at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
Deep 137-pound champion Masakazu Imanari was booked to face little-known South Korean Jae Hun Moon at Deep’s ill-fated “Mayhem in Macau” earlier this month, but will now instead take on former Shooto standout “Iron” Hiroshi Nakamura in a non-title affair at “52 Impact.”
Imanari has notched five straight wins in Deep and has not tasted defeat since he was eliminated from Dream’s 2009 featherweight grand prix by eventual winner Bibiano Fernandes. Nakamura has earned back-to-back decisions since dropping his Deep debut to Isao Terada last February.
Deep’s light heavyweight ace Yoshiyuki Nakanishi will cut down to middleweight to take on former Deep champion Ryuta Sakurai.
Nakanishi became Deep’s first 205-pound champ last April, when he upset the favored Christian M’Pumbu and then took out Ryuta Noji to claim the gold. Since then, the 25-year-old has competed just once, knocking out Dream vet Katsuyori Shibata at October’s “50 Impact.”
Sakurai comes off a violent August loss to new UFC signee Riki Fukuda. The R-Blood fighter’s only other outing last year was a narrow May draw with Mamed Khalidov in Poland.
Jewels 115-pound standout Saori Ishioka will have a chance to avenge a loss when she faces South Korea’s Seo Hee Ham, who defeated Ishioka under the Smackgirl banner in 2008.
At bantamweight, Tatsumitsu Wada will look to build off his December win over prospect Takeshi Numajiri when he takes on Kasuya Sakai.
While details have not yet been released, the event will also feature a charity exhibition match or tournament for Tomoya Miyashita, who was diagnosed with a mediastinal tumor last October.