Sengoku Names Tourney Pairs, Adds Thompson-York

By: Jordan Breen
Mar 4, 2009
World Victory Road has completed the matchups for its featherweight tournament, which kicks off a March 20 opener at the Yoyogi National Stadium Second Gymnasium in Tokyo.

In the tournament's opening round, early favorite Hatsu Hioki will take on WEC veteran Chris Manuel, while undefeated Brazilian and featherweight King of Pancrase Marlon Sandro meets KOTC standout Matt Jaggers. Former Shooto world champion Hideki Kadowaki will battle dynamic grappler Nam Phan, while hot prospect L.C. Davis will square off with UFC and Pride veteran Michihiro Omigawa.

The 16-man opening round will also see ZST torchbearer Masanori Kanehara meet South Korean slugger Jong Man Kim, rugged Shooto product Shintaro Ishiwatri tangle with upstart Korean Chang Son Jong, Pancrase-bred KO artist Seiya Kawahara face unbeaten Canadian Nick Denis, and slick Brit Ronnie Mann take on 18-year-old Tetsuya Yamada, who just graduated from high school earlier this week.

WVR director Takahiro Kokuho previously stated that the company was interested in promoting "Japan vs. the World" themed bouts in the future. That concept is well realized in the March 20 offering, as seven of the eight opening round bouts in the tournament pit a Japanese competitor against an international import.

WVR also formalized a second non-tournament bout for the bill. In addition to the light heavyweight bout between Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal and Ryo Kawamura, James Thompson will take on New Zealand's "Big" Jim York in a heavyweight contest.

Thompson last drew headlines on Feb. 6 when he was involved in the Titans Fighting debacle in Montreal, after his bout against Canadian hockey enforcer Steve Bosse was cut short by a rioting crowd.

York's first Sengoku appearance in May saw him get knocked out by Japanese MMA agitator Yoshihiro "Kiss" Nakao in the second round.

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