One of the United States' longest-running and most prolific MMA promotions will head to Japan for the very first time in 2010.
Southern California-based King of the Cage (KOTC) - which celebrated its tenth anniversary in October - announced plans this week for "King of the Cage: Toryumon" at the Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan, Japan, on January 30th. "Toryumon" is a Japanese word which translates to "gateway to success."
Toryumon also features former KOTC lightweight champion Tony Hervey facing Kotetsu Boku, Bellator fighter Toby Imada versus Pancrase veteran Kiichi ["Strasser"] Kunimoto, and Shigeki Matsuda making his professional debut against Tatsuya Sou [sic].
No word yet on whether KOTC plans to import more American fighters or utilize local talent, but the line-up thus far looks extremely promising. Former high school wrestling coach Baca has made a big impact on the Southwestern bantamweight division in just over a year, but he'll be facing one of the best flyweights of all time in Mamoru. Likewise, "Lionheart" Hervey -- who lost a hard-fought five round decision to Takanori Gomi at the end of October -- will have his hands full against Boku, a training partner of "Kid" Yamamoto and one of Shooto's top 154-pounders.
The only downside? KOTC pay-per-views generally don't air for weeks, or even months, after the events take place.
Here's the card so far:
King of the Cage World Junior Flyweight Championship
Mamoru Yamaguchi (22-5-3) vs. Frank Baca (6-0)
LW: Kotetsu Boku (15-6-2) vs. Tony Hervey (11-6)
WW: Kiichi "Strasser" Kunimoto (8-3, 1 NC) vs. Toby Imada (22-13)
BW: Tatsuya So (4-3-1) vs. Shigeki Matsuda (debut)
FW: Shinya Kumazawa (3-6) vs. Steve Hecht (4-1)
LW: Tsuyoshi Tamaki (2-0) vs. Byron Schnell (0-1)