Hello, Japan: Shooto Never Sleeps

Nnw47k_mediumThe dust has settled following Shooto's star-studded final 20th Anniversary celebration and it appears the show was a success on all fronts: there were some great scraps, tickets to Tokyo's JCB Hall were sold out well in advance, and the event drew the attention of a number of hardcore MMA fans and journalists who don't normally follow the organization.

So, what does the world's longest-running MMA promotion do for an encore? How about reviving its dormant "Vale Tudo Japan" series, which once hosted the likes of Rickson Gracie, Frank Shamrock, Dan Severn and Enson Inoue? No further details have been set, but "Vale Tudo Japan 2009" was announced for "autumn" in the ring at Sunday's show, and an ad was featured during the Samurai TV broadcast.

Nightmare Of Battle pointed out another potential big deal which I missed:

SENGOKU’s big sponsor Don Quijote was on the ring posts at the Shooto event this past weekend. It seems like the relationship between WVR and Shooto promoter Sustain might start to take off. Could Vale Tudo Japan be something that they are working on? If I remember correctly the VTJ 2009 rumor started around the same time that WVR and Sustain announced their relationship.

- Speaking of Samurai TV, the Japanese satellite network has begun airing a new series called Shooto Legend to celebrate 20 years of shooters. Each hour-long episode focuses on the Shooto career of one fighter; the first installment was Hayato "Mach" Sakurai, and the second is Caol Uno. Both are highly recommended if you can get your hands on them, as they feature tons of rare mid-90s footage. An episode dedicated to Takanori Gomi is said to be next up.

- During Sunday's show, Shooto announced an event for July 19th (the day before DREAM.10) which will feature bantamweight champ "BJ" Kojima (10-3-5) defending his title against an opponent to be named, plus what's sure to be a fantastic featherweight title bout between champion Masakatsu Ueda (9-0-2) and #1 ranked Brazilian Eduardo "Dudu" Dantas (7-1). Also announced for the show: Masaaki Sugawara (7-3-1) vs. Yasuhiro Agaki (6-4) in a bantamweight bout, and fan favorite flyweight "ATCH Anarchy" (6-4-2) vs. #3-ranked "Heat" Takeshi Sato (8-6-1).

- Still more Shooto announcements: the "Shooting Disco 9" show on June 6 will be headlined by a flyweight bout between #2 "Shinpei" Tahara (5-3-1) and #4 Shinya Murofushi (5-1-1). The two were involved in a rankings shake-up last month when then-#2 Murofushi suffered his first loss to "Heat" Takeshi, and Tahara took Murofushi's spot. Also, after a disappointing Sengoku debut, Shintaro Ishiwatari (6-2-3) will return to Shooto against roots product Taiki Tsuchiya (3-2).

- DEEP boss Shigeru Saeki called the final "Shooto Denshou" card "truly splendid" on his promotion's blog, and said that DEEP will probably do a similar show for its 10th Anniversary next year.

- The DEEP middleweight title rematch between champion Yuichi Nakanishi (9-8-3) and Riki Fukuda (14-4) has been officially announced for DEEP 42nd Impact on June 30th at Korakuen Hall. No other bouts have been scheduled, but the following participants were announced:

Ryuta Sakurai (18-15-4; R-Blood), Takeshi Yamazaki (14-9-2; GRABAKA), Hiromitsu Kanehara (17-22-1; UKR), Toshikazu "Ise" Iseno (6-5-2; PUREBRED Omiya), Kazuhisa Tazawa (4-0-1; Thug Life), Yusaku "99" Tsukumo (6-3; Tiger Place), Shigetoshi Iwase (7-11-3; T-Blood), Tomoya Miyashita (10-5-5; Power Of Dream), RYOTA (0-3; Kingdom Ehrgeiz), Hiryu Okamoto (3-1-1; Mach Dojo)

- June 28th will see DEEP's first major show in Toyama prefecture: "DEEP TOYAMA IMPACT" was announced during a press conference today. Women's lightweight champ Miku Matsumoto (20-4) will attempt to defend her title and wipe the last unavenged loss off her record when she faces American Lisa Ward (12-4), who subbed Miku in Smackgirl back in 2006.

The rest of the card so far:

Yoshiro "Barbaro44" Tomioka (12-7-4) vs. Takafumi Ito (34-28-10)
Takahiro Kajita (9-9-3) vs. Yuya "Jacare" Osugi (4-3-1)
Yuichi Ikari (10-6-3) vs. Takaaki Aoki (4-4)
Kenji Arai (13-13-3) vs. Kunihiro Watanabe (4-3)

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