Mamoru is the only fighter in Shooto history to hold world titles in two weight classes (123 and 132 pounds). Can he return to his dominant ways? Photo by Daniel Herbertson for Sherdog.
The 'Fro is coming back.
Former 123-pound Shooto ace Mamoru Yamaguchi (20-5-3) will make his MMA return at Vale Tudo Japan '09 on October 30th against Guam standout Jesse "The Spiderman" Taitano (6-5-2), Bloody Elbow can reveal. The news comes courtesy of Melchor Manibusan - founder of Spike 22 Athletics, from which Taitano hails - who is himself gearing up for a fight in Japan against Tatsuya Kawajiri. (Watch for more big news in our interview with the "Barracuda" on Monday...)
Following his second loss at the hands of Shinichi "B.J." Kojima last July, the all-time flyweight great Yamaguchi put his Shooto career on hold. He's spent the last year notching impressive stand-up performances and a 2-2 record in Shoot Boxing.
Taitano, meanwhile, has been hanging in Shooto's bantamweight Top 10 since his attention-getting draw with Kojima in January. (Video of that fight here.) He most recently dropped a hard-fought decision to Shooto's #1 ranked 114-pounder Noboru "Shinpei" Tahara on August 9th.
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Andrews Nakahara (2-1) tells Tatame that he's moving down to welterweight for his next fight, which should be at DREAM.12 on October 25th. So I guess we won't get to see that match with Zelg Galesic after all, but on the upside, Nakahara should be a real force at 170.
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Kazushi Sakuraba will post a message to DREAM's YouTube channel on Friday at 2PM local time (1 AM ET / 10 PM PT). Saku is expected to reveal whether he'll be participating at DREAM.11 or 12 this month.
Earlier this week, DEEP and CMA Korea announced plans to co-promote a couple of MMA/K-1/puroresu hybrid shows in November. The first is another of their "Gladiator" events on November 3rd in Okayama, for which NoB has
a partial the card posted. Nothing major on the MMA front, but there are some fun "Japan vs. Korea" matchups for the fans. Last year, Minowaman kneebarred Don Frye in an MMA contest; this year, he'll team with Minoru Suzuki in a pro wrestling match against popular wrestler Don Fujii and former sumo Akebono.
One week later on November 10th, the two companies hold their second "Thanksgiving Day" festival at Korakuen Hall. That show features a solid 170-pound scrap between Hidetaka Monma (15-9-3) and (the other) Dong Hyun Kim (5-2-3), plus a LHW match with Dool Hee Lee (4-6) facing Ryushi Yanagisawa (24-24-9). The Pancrase legend Yanagisawa will try to bounce back from a seven second obliteration at the hands of Bernard Ackah in his August MMA return.