Here are the five title bouts to take place at next weekend’s DEEP 57th Impact:
Bantamweight champion defence
As Takafumi defends his belt for the first time, he will be desperate to maintain his tenuous hold on the title, as well as looking to avenge a previous decision loss to Maeda. Maeda will be hungry to assert himself as still the better fighter than Takafumi, proving they aren’t on the same level. Takafumi thinks he hasn’t begun to reach his peak yet. Maeda’s a seasoned warhorse not ready to leave the battlefield. Given these fighters’ do-or-die styles, this should be a very entertaining and bloody war.
|Keith Mills – Sherdog|
Choi DooHo is a young and brilliantly shining star on the MMA scene right now. At only 20 years old, he’s already gone 8-1 in M-1, Sengoku and DEEP. In his last fight, he only needed a minute and a half to KO his opponent by a knee and punches – the former Shooto Pacific Rim welterweight champion Mitsuhiro Ishida, veteran of PRIDE, DREAM, and Strikeforce. Just a short six weeks prior, Choi went two full rounds stuffing single legs by the former Deep lightweight champion and PRIDE vet Nobuhiro Obiya, and KOed him with a flying knee less than a minute into the third.
Kazunori Yokota is a judo black belt veteran of Sengoku and a former DEEP Lightweight champion with a hefty record of 14-5-3. After being KOed by upstart Mongolian and now Legend FC Lightweight Champion Jadamba Narantungalag in the final Sengoku show, he dropped to featherweight and came back in 2011 to dominate former lightweight King of Pancrase Shoji Maruyama winning a unanimous decision, then soccer kicked Shooto stalwart Katsuya Toida in the second round.
Choi has been thrown to the wolves and he is making wolfskin jackets. Kazunori has shown what could be the makings of a born-again career at lightweight. Choi formulates excellent strategy against every opponent with a goal to finish, but Kazunori is a pro at three round wars. This could be fight of the year.
**Hideki fought once in 2011, and has a record of 14-11-3. He is a Shoot champ. This would have been a good match three years ago.**
Lightweight Champion defense
Mizuto Hirota 廣田瑞人 (CAVE) versus Seichi Ikemoto 池本誠知 (総合格闘技スタジオSTYLE)
Mizuto Hirota is 13-4-1. He was the Cage Force champion, the Sengoku champion, and is now the DEEP champion, but will forever be known as “the guy who got his arm broken by Aoki”. After he recovered from it, Hirota came back to the ring against Karateka Katsunori Kikuno and punched his way to a three round unanimous decision.
Seichi Ikemoto has a mammoth fight career with 20-17-5 since 1999. He has fought in almost every Japanese promotion you’ve heard of (and some you haven’t) and is the former DEEP Welterweight champion. He was on the end of the famous Zaromskis… backflip.
Hirota thinks he wants to fight at featherweight. Ikemoto is a natural welterweight. Both of them have only fought once in 2011. Hirota handed Satoru Kitaoka a TKO with his knees two and a half years ago. Ikemoto hasn’t had a KO with his double-punch or a single one in three years. Hirota won the title, and the proof will be on Ikemoto to see if he can take it away.
Female Openweight championship
Amanda Lucas, at only 3-1, is facing her toughest opponent in Yumiko – a pro wrestler who hasn’t been in the ring in 12 years. That being said, there isn’t much to talk about at this weight division in MMA. Except that Amanda is the daughter of George Lucas.
Katsuya Toida versus Makoto Kamaya
ADCC grappler and Shooto veteran Toida is 12-11-3 and coming off two back to back loss KOs from Kazunori Yokota and Issei Tamura. Makoto at 20-10-1 is on a seven fight winning streak, five of which were in 2011. This should be a grapplefest in the making.
Daiki “DJ.taki” Hata versus Yusaku Nakamura
DJ.taiki is 11-9-4. Yes, he’s lost to Imanari, Miyata, Sandro and Maeda, BUT he’s never been KOed or submitted. He’s also only got one win by submission. Nakamura at 4-2 may not have developed a steady record yet, but with his first 3 wins by KO, he will be setting DJ’s head in his sites as he climbs the ladder. After four hard decision losses, DJ needs to start rattling some heads too.
Yuki Niimura (Team Tackler gym) versus Bernard Ackah
Yuki started as a K-1 fighter then transitioned to the DEEP cage and ring last year earning two wins – one by stomp and one by KO – in just over two minutes total ring time. Hereo’s and DEEP vet Ackah will be looking to put his 5-5 record on the positive side by finishing Yuki quickly. The ring time for this one may be a bit longer than five minutes because those big guys are hard to carry out of the ring.
Ryuta Noji 野地竜太 (TEAM GARO) versus Levan Razmadze
Levan Razmadze is megaton from Georgia. As a Judoka, he entered MMA and went 4-0 in 2011, his first year of competition. Ryuta Noji is a Karateka with a record of 15-6 with ten knockouts and was the DEEP Light Heavyweight GP runner-up. This will be an excellent first round test for Levan to see if he really can hang with the big boys.
Other fights on the card:
Yoshitomo Watanabe (DEEP vet) versus Naoki Samukawa
Makoto Shingo versus Fujiyama
Masato Kobayashi (the Outsider) versus Tatsuyuki Nakamura
Hiromitsu Kanehara will face Daijiro Matsui
Megaton Seigo Mizuguchi versus Hirohide Fujinuma
Noboru Samurai versus ?
There will be a memorial exhibition match for Tomoya Miyashita including Hideo Tokoro and Takeshi Yamazaki among others.
砂辺光久(TEAM reversal)、山崎剛(GRABAKA)、堀内佑馬(TANG TANG FIGHTCLUB)