Pairings for the opening round of the Sengoku Gold Cup were revealed on yesterday's episode of SENGOKU-G.
Here's what they look like:
- Though not yet officially announced, Shooto's website now lists bantamweight ace "BJ" Kojima's (10-3-5) July 19th opponent as South American bantamweight champ Jussiê Formiga (2-0). Formiga is a Nova Uniao product with only a pair of professional bouts under his belt, though the March Shooto rankings had him in the #6 spot. Kojima's featherweight counterpart, Masakatsu Ueda (9-0-2), will defend his title against Formiga's teammate, the #1 ranked Eduardo "Dudu" Dantas (7-1), on the same card.
- Unpredictable World Victory Road prospect Maximo Blanco (2-2-1, 1 NC) will have a chance to wipe away memories of his recent in-ring troubles on August 8th when he challenges Lightweight King of Pancrase Katsuya Inoue (18-6-4) at Differ Ariake. The Venezuelan botched his return to Sengoku last month by illegally soccer kicking Akihiko Mori seconds after downing the journeyman with a solid right hook. On the heels of that performance, the title shot comes as a bit of a surprise, but a win here by either man would presumably bump them straight into Sengoku. As a member of Yoshia Dojo, Blanco was part of last week's "training camp from hell" in Chiba Prefecture.
Another title match was announced for the August card - which will also hold the 2009 Neo-Blood Tournament Finals - as 7th Middleweight King of Pancrase Izuru Takeuchi (25-10-6) will defend against the #1 ranked, Kazushi Sakuraba-trained Takenori Sato (9-5-4).
Inoue and Blanco (via Sportsnavi)