Akira Maeda's The Outsider held its seventh show in Tokyo this past weekend, and those in attendance at Differ Ariake were treated to stoppage wins in 24 of the evening's 25 bouts. If you're unfamiliar with this year-old promotion from the founder of Rings, I recommend checking out some videos on YouTube. Each event has dozens of fights in every weight class imaginable, and the participants include hot-rodders, rockabilly cats, high school cheerleaders, tattoo artists and everyone in between.
Fifteen of the fights on last Sunday's card also served as qualifiers for the promotion's upcoming 65-70kg (143-154 lbs.) tournament, set to begin on October 11 and conclude on December 13.
I'd started (really, almost finished) working on a preview with all the details and tidbits I could find on each contestant, but the show snuck up on me and the work was for naught. So I rolled some of that info over into this, a list of winners from last week's qualifiers. No matches have been set for October, and we're still missing one participant, but it's never too early to start previewing. So, without further ado - watchout! Here comes trouble...
Keinosuke Yoshinaga (4-2 / 26yo / 181cm)
After losing two consecutive Outsider bouts by knockout, North Kanto "grapple tattoo artist" Yoshinaga needed only 19 seconds to choke out Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi and secure his spot in the tournament. Check out his fight from The Outsider 2 here, beginning around the 6 minute mark.
Tsuyoshi Nomura (5-0 / 32yo / 172cm)
Nomura has participated in nearly every iteration of The Outsider to date, and remains unbeaten. His only bout to go the distance was last week's tournament qualifier against tough BJJ practitioner Teppei Hori, and that fight took "Best Bout" honors for the night. Nomura's grappling base has served him well, showing good takedowns along with knockout power.
Hanamichi (1-2 / 28yo / 171cm)
Hanamichi (literally "Flower Path") is a heavy-handed brawler who, at 28 years old, claims 25 years of street fighting experience. He showcased his submission skills at The Outsider 7, punching his ticket to the tournament and earning his first victory with a speedy guillotine choke.
Yoshihiro Saegusa (2-0 / 29yo / 174cm)
With 17 years of martial arts experience and solid skills both on the feet and the floor, some pundits are picking Saegusa as the tournament favorite. He battled out of a tight leglock from grappler Satoshi Noguchi and pounded his way to a 90-second TKO victory in his qualifier bout.
Yoshikazu Kaneshima (4-0 / 22yo / 170cm)
Another favorite in the tournament, Kaneshima has racked up four straight stoppage wins in The Outsider and possesses an excellent wrestling base. He likes finishing off opponents with ground and pound, as he did against Hiroyasu Mikawa in the second round of his qualifier bout.
Shuhei Kawabata (2-0 / 27yo / 172cm)
Kawabata is a Greco-Roman wrestler from Japan's Self-Defense Forces who has trained MMA since making his Outsider debut in March of last year. He finished his Outsider 7 fight with a second-round neck crank after dominating on the ground throughout.
Takayuki Urano (3-1 / 30yo / 174cm)
After dropping his Outsider debuut, Fukuoka-based Urano has reeled off three straight KO victories, all coming in the first round. Urano has studied Muay Thai as well as Sumo, and while he will be one of the older participants, his toughness could carry him deep into the tournament.
Makoto Toriumi (2-2 / 29yo / 180cm)
Toriumi has had two fights in ZST, and though both resulted in losses, it's still a significant advantage over most of the other tournament participants to have faced talent such as Tetsuya Yamada and Kota Okazawa. Toriumi showed off his rubber guard and battered the "Mach" Sakurai-trained Daisuke Maku to a doctor stoppage in his Outsider 7 qualifier.
Daisuke "Hitman" Hayashi (4-1 / 28yo / 174cm)
Hayashi is a Krunch veteran with a Judo base and power in his hands. The "Hitman" has an affinity for armbars, though his bouts to date have tended toward decisions. He defeated Mori Dojo's Satoshi Katayama in under a minute with a left hook KO to gain entry into the tournament.
Yuichi Kishino (3-2-1 / 28yo / 18cm)
Apparently bearing some resemblance to JTV actor Shunta Nakamura, Kishino has experience in such promotions as DEEP and Powergate, and has fought professionally for over three years. While experience can be a valuable asset in a tournament such as this, one has to wonder why Kishino is still fighting in what is essentially an amateur league. Also, after his 58-second RNC victory at Outsider 7, he told the crowd he had to shed over 15kg (33 lbs.) just to make the weight limit. It'll be interesting to see how far Kishino will go in the bracket.
Malt Man (2-0 / 21yo / 165cm)
The brawler known simply as "Malt Man" may be the most diminuitive fighter in the tourney - as well as one of the youngest - but that hasn't stopped him from racking up two first-round stoppages thus far in his Outsider career. Most recently, he battered then choked out the more experienced (and ground-based) Tobimaru Kamikaze. I'm still not entirely sure what a malt man is...
Takahiro Kuroishi (1-3 / 22yo / 175cm)
The "Mad Dog of Hama" had an emotional win to qualify for the tournament, topping Yukihiro Mano with a fast rear-naked choke before addressing the crowd and dedicating the fight to a recently fallen friend. Despite being outclassed in his first three Outsider bouts, Kuroishi has been steadily improving and has vowed to work hard to win the tournament. You can see his fight from The Outsider 1 here.
Kosei Takimoto (1-1 / 24yo / 174cm)
Takimoto (who I believe also goes by the MC name "Tomahawk") hails from Kanagawa and likes to stand and bang. He's 1-1 in The Outsider, but showed improved striking (knees and punches) and stamina in his last bout, as well as some submission attempts from the bottom.
Yuki Takei (3-1 / 22yo / 170cm)
Despite coming in as an underdog, Takei ground down and pounded out former Krunch MVP and Mach Dojo fighter Tsubasa Teranishi in just over a minute to earn his tournament bid. Takei has unorthodox striking and a solid ground game, and should be another one to watch in the tournament.
This qualifier fight was scrapped due to Sano failing a pre-fight medical by the attending doctor. I imagine they'll transfer it to the opening round of the tournament instead, but we'll see. Kong is a mysterious dude from Tenryu-ku in Shizuoka prefecture. Sano is a former basketball player and Outsider MVP, who lists among his credentials "14 year professional wrestling fan."
That seems an appropriate note to end on. Stay tuned; we'll keep you updated on the tournament pairings as they're announced.
All photos from The Outsider 7 lovingly borrowed from GBRing.