Friday Fight Facts: Digging deep in Japan

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Makoto Takahashi meets Yuya Shibata for the DEEP flyweight title. Photo: Akihito Tatematsu.

There’s several big titles on the line in Japan this weekend as DEEP, Pancrase and Shooto step forward in a big way. Singapore FC returns with a pretty cool Muay Thai and amateur MMA show on Saturday, along with the incredibly busy ONE Pride crew in Jakarta. So saddle in and let’s take a look at what’s in store.

DEEP 90 Impact

DEEP gets things underway this weekend from the legendary Korakuen Hall, where the promotion’s vacant flyweight title will be up for grabs. Yuya Shibata and 18-year-old Makoto Takahashi clash in the main event in what pits an experienced veteran against a hungry, young lion. After an unsuccessful run at DEEP’s strawweight title last year, Shibata returns with two back-to-back wins to challenge for the flyweight belt. His opponent might still be a teenager, but Takahashi is one to watch. At DEEP 86 last year he outgrappled Haruki Nakayama to a decision win and Nakayama is no pushover. His only loss to date is against ONE Championship fighter Tatsumitsu Wada. The event will stream live on YouTube from around 5:30pm local time.

One Pride MMA

One Pride returns for its 29th fight night with a featherweight contender bout between Yordan Hilapok (3-2) and Aep Saepudin (3-4). In previous outings, Hilapok’s boxing has seen him systematically destroy his opponent’s defense. Come Saturday he will face a formidable Saepudin, who likes to throw down. So expect fireworks. The winner should go on to challenge featherweight champ Hafid nur Maradi at some point soon. Download the tvOne Connect app for live streaming.

SFC 7: Eight Limbs

Saturday night sees the return of Singapore FC after almost two years on the bench. SFC 7 goes down at Juggernaut Fight Club with two Muay Thai belts on the line. The first sees Brandon Ng face Andre Seah in a welterweight clash, while Wynn Neo meets Vincent Chew for the WBC featherweight title. They will be joined by WBC Asia super bantamweight champion Nurshahidah Roslie. She takes on Thailand’s Siriphon Chanbuala. There’s also three amateur MMA bouts on the lineup. Check The Fight Nation for results.

Shooto 30th Anniversary Tour 5th Round

Shooto ain’t doing things in halves for its 30th Anniversary year. The promotion makes its way to Osaka this Sunday where Mitsuhiro Toma defends his featherweight title against Akira Takano. The 12-fight card sees the return of Yoshida Maeda, who meets Miki Naito in the co-main event, while strawweight “Onibozu” Tadaaki Yamamoto looks for his second win of the year against Yohei Komaki.

Pancrase 306

A welterweight King of Pancrase will be crowned when the promotion returns to Studio Coast on Sunday for Pancrase 306. Hiroyuki Tetsuka is set to face Kenta Takagi for the vacant title, alongside a flyweight scrap between Ryuichi Miki and Manabu Inoue. Two veterans Ikuhisa Minowa and Eiji Ishikawa meet at middleweight, while former Shooto and Pancrase champ Akihiro Murayama faces JJ Ambrose in what will be his fourth fight of the year. It’s a stacked 18-fight card that includes the Neo Blood welterweight tournament semifinals.

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