At their big 20th Anniversary show in May, Shooto promoter Sustain announced that October 30th would see the resurrection of their legendary Vale Tudo Japan series, following a ten year hiatus. Past iterations of the show hosted a slew of MMA notables, from Rickson Gracie (winner of both the '94 and '95 tournaments) and Dan Severn to "Mach" Sakurai and Enson Inoue, who's acquired both a classic win over Randy Couture and one of the funniest Fight Finder entries around ("DQ (Egan Inoue Ran Into the Ring)") at the event.
Since then, Sustain has been rather quiet, though word came out in July that the 3,100-seat JCB Hall had been booked for the show. As of the first week of September, no participants or bouts have been confirmed.
One match that's likely to take place is the 155-pound title scrap between champion Takashi Nakakura and South American belt holder Willamy Chiquerim. The Nova Uniao-trained "Chiquerinho" will try to run his win streak to nine straight on an as-yet-unannounced date in October against Nakakura, who would look to rebound from a crushing TKO loss in his May non-title bout with Takanori Gomi.
Speaking of the "Fireball Kid," the former PRIDE ace is rumored to fight Krazy Bee's Kotetsu Boku, despite Gomi's assertion that he won't fight again in 2009. (Though the post in question seems to have been removed from his blog...)
Japanese fight mag Kakutougi Tsushin reported last month that 143-pound champ "Lion" Takeshi Inoue will take on Shooto legend Alexandre "Pequeno" Nogueira. "Lion's" last opponent, VTJ mainstay Rumina Sato, will supposedly face a Japanese opponent - the rumor being unbeaten featherweight ace Masakatsu Ueda. (132 lbs. seems like a tough cut for the "Moon Wolf," but then again, he really wants a title.)
One other fight being discussed would be, as SKILL MMA rightfully put it, a "historic moment" for Japanese MMA. Longtime Pancrase disciple and recently dethroned Sengoku lightweight champ Satoru Kitaoka has been rumored to fight in Shooto for the first time at VTJ '09. (Check out SKILL's history of the Pancrase-Shooto beef here.) His opponent would be #2 ranked LW Yusuke Endo, whose last fight was a guillotine loss to Chiquerim.
So: take this all with a grain of salt, but here's what the rumored card would look like.
Vale Tudo Japan '09
October 30, 2009