Promoted from the FanPosts by Kid Nate. Great stuff!
With a 16-man deep field of veterans and up-and-coming prospects set to face off in the Sengoku Featherweight Grand Prix, it's very tough to keep up on some of the names that you may have never heard of that will be battling it out in the opening round on Friday night. We've already taken a look at veteran Hatsu Hioki, prospect Marlon Sandro, and up-and-comer Seiya Kawahara. Here's a rundown of the field with a little insight on their skillsets to help fans better understand these great up-and-coming fighters that I'm sure we'll all be hearing more about in the next couple of years:
Chris Manuel (6-0-2): There is a lot of intriguing things being said about Chris Manuel in the last few days, and there is a tremendous amount of hype coming out of American Top Team these days regarding Manuel's chances at Sengoku. He's ATT's jiu-jitsu instructor, which tells you a lot about his credentials and background. The WEC lists Manuel as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, but he's a highly advanced grappler on the floor.
His most competitive bout was againstt Kenji Osawa back at WEC 33 that ended in a draw, so taking on the #5 ranked Featherweight in the world in Hatsu Hioki is a huge jump in competition. He's definitely a bright prospect that Sengoku has plucked from the WEC.
Check out: Chris Manuel vs. Johnathan Sanchez - Manuel's first professional bout
L.C. Davis (13-1): This name should ring a bell to most fans. Davis saw a lot of time in the International Fight League (IFL) and most recently defeated Bao Quach at Affliction's Day of Reckoning. While Davis has a lone loss to #3 ranked Wagnney Fabiano, he's beaten some very tough competition in a powerful Conor Heun, ATT grappler Rafael Dias, and the forementioned Bao Quach.
Davis is a very well-rounded fighter. He isn't a black belt by any means in jiu-jitsu, but still has a solid base to submit opponents. He has good wrestling ability, somewhat dynamic striking, and he can end fights both on the ground and standing. He's definitely a guy with a multi-faceted skillset to watch in the Grand Prix.
Check out: L.C. Davis vs. Rafael Dias - Head Kick!
Keep reading, more prospects in the full entry.
Nick Denis (6-0): Casual fans will undoubtedly want to follow Nick's performances in Japan as he has a knack for knocking opponents out. With six careers bouts, five of those bouts have ended via KO/TKO, most of those in the first round. The KOTC veteran will be looking to impress fans with his power in his opening round matchup against equally impressive Seiya Kawahara.
Interestingly enough, Denis began his work in jiu-jitsu and holds a blue belt in BJJ under Fabio Holonda. He has some solid wrestling skills, but his main focus has been ending bouts via KO/TKO either by using those skills to gain position or catching opponents in the standup. Either way, Denis vs. Kawahara is likely going to produce fireworks.
Nick's nickname: The Ninja Of Love... and he also holds a bachelor's in Biochemistry and is currently working on his Masters.
Tetsuya Yamada (3-0): Yamada recently graduated high school in Japan, took a nursing welfare job, and is also working his way into the worldwide picture as a top Featherweight. With only 3 professional bouts under his belt, Yamada has managed to turn some heads in the hardcore fanbase with three first round victories (2 via KO, 1 via submission).
Yamada has some interesting attributes that could make him a formidable opponent and a surprise to some of the field's fighters. He matches height with Hatsu Hioki, yet has knockout power and a solid grappling background. Is this a bit early for Yamada in his professional career? Most likely, but it'll definitely give us a good look at what to expect from him in the future.
Check out: Tetsuya Yamada vs. Hirotaka Tomiyama
Ronnie Mann (16-1-1): Mann is a British import in this tournament that should be a pleasant sight to see for fans wanting to see Mann push his level of competition to the next level. Mann has been battling it out for years in Cage Rage and Cage Gladiators in England, and he'll now be putting his skills to the test against a much more competitive pool of fighters that Sengoku has put together.
Mann is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu under Italo Ferreria, and he has shown his jiu-jitsu abilities in his MMA skillset by ending 10 of his 16 wins via submission. Mann is hardly a one-dimensional fighter though. He has some very solid Muay Thai/Boxing in his skillset, and a good training camp that includes Croatian sensation Zelg Galesic.
Check out: Ronnie Mann vs. Jordan Miller
One of the sole reasons why Sengoku may very well come out on top in the battle with DREAM as the top dog in Japan is because of the moves by the promotion to bring in some of the talent mentioned in this article.
Instead of bringing in "bait" for their top names, Sengoku has set up the possibilities for some big upsets as well as a lot of matchups that could provide these guys with some idea of where they stand skillwise with some of the better fighters in the division. It should be a fantastic Grand Prix. Tune in on Friday at 12:00 PST on HDNet for a look at the future in Featherweight fighters.