World Victory Road today announced four exciting match-ups for Senogku X on September 23rd. Unfortunately, we'll only get to see one of them on the live broadcast, but that fight is brand new Lightweight King of Pancrase Maximo Blanco (3-2-1, 1 NC) taking on ex-"Super High School Student" Tetsuya Yamada (3-1).
Some had thought that Yamada could go deep into the Sengoku Featherweight Grand Prix, but he was taken out in the first round by the more experienced Ronnie Mann. He hasn't officially fought since then, but has been doing some grappling and tag team MMA matches in ZST. Yamada told reporters at the press conference that he's making the move to lightweight permanently, and also that he's switching gyms for this fight and plans to train harder than ever. He wants to upset Blanco and become a superstar - and he wants to do it with a knockout.
These are both young fighters who WVR seem very eager to push (especially "training player" Blanco), so it wouldn't be surprising to see either one challenging Mizuto Hirota for the lightweight title anytime soon. Blanco said he wants to add more championships to his collection, including the UFC belt.
Also made official were three opening bouts between the winners of Sengoku's "Gold Cups" in Japan and South Korea. I don't know much about the Korean participants except that I haven't really been impressed by Jae Hyun So and Ryosuke Komori should roll straight through him. (You can check out all the South Korean tournament fights here and the finals of the Japanese tournament from Sengoku IX here.) Nonetheless, these should all be great scraps, as WVR representative Kokuho said that the best of the three winners will get a spot on the next Sengoku card. I'll try to dig up some tape and break down on these fights (with GIFs) in the next week.
Kokuho also made some comments regarding the main card at Sengoku IX. He said that Hiroshi Izumi's MMA debut will be the main event at Sengoku X, but that negotiations are not going well with his potential opponent. Also, the plan at the moment is to have Antonio Silva go against a foreign fighter (clearly not Josh Barnett, if it won't be the main event) and for Joe Doerksen to face a Japanese opponent.
Updated Sengoku X card and news from today's DREAM press conference after the jump.
September 23, 2009
Saitama Community Arena
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At a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, DREAM Event Producer Sasahara outlined some plans for DREAM.12, which will be held at Osaka Castle Hall on October 25th. The promotion will hold two events in October, as DREAM.11 is set for October 6th at Yokohama Arena.
Sasahara said he'd like to use some local fighters from Osaka such as Yoshiro Maeda, and also mentioned the return of Kazushi Sakuraba as a possibility. On Thursday, Sasahara leaves for America to attend the Strikeforce "Carano vs. Cyborg" event, as well as to negotiate bringing some Strikeforce fighters over for this card. DREAM is especially interested in fighters who haven't previously fought in Japan.
I must say I'm a little worried about the way Sasahara concluded his press conference. He said he has an announcement he really wants to make, but can't yet because it's only 70% certain/done, and he still needs to iron it out with the TV station and DREAM sponsors. He said it's something that has been done in puroresu before, but never in MMA. Something involving both a ring and a cage. He said he'd like to make an announcement around the Bon Festival, which is this weekend.