Ryo Kawamura, Hiroshi Izumi, Maximo Blanco and Shigeki Osawa at today's press conference. Photo by GBRing.
Lightweight heatseeker Maximo Blanco (5-2-1, 1 NC) will face his toughest test to date on June 20th when he meets Brazilian Rodrigo Damm (9-3) at Sengoku Raiden Championships 13. The match was announced by the promotion today at a press conference in Tokyo.
One of Sengoku's prized prospects and the current 155-pound King of Pancrase, Blanco has fought Japanese and Korean opponents exclusively thus far in his burgeoning MMA career. The well-traveled Damm - best known to American audiences for being on the receiving end of a brutal Gilbert Melendez knockout in Strikeforce last April - represents a considerable step up in competition for the man Japanese fans call "Makishi."
Damm last fought in February, when he took a unanimous decision over top Peruvian lightweight Ivan "Pitbull" Iberico on a Jungle Fight card in Brazil. Blanco, meanwhile, started his 2010 campaign with a highlight reel knockout of South Korean submission specialist Chang Hyun "Armbar" Kim at SRC 12 in March. In nine pro bouts, the Venezuelan freestyle wrestling convert has yet to go to a decision.
Also announced for SRC 13: a light-heavyweight tilt between 2004 Olympic silver medal judoka Hiroshi Izumi (1-1) and Korea's Chang Seob Lee (3-4), as well as the participation of Sanae Kikuta (28-6-3, 1 NC), Ryo Kawamura (11-5-2) and "Sengoku training player" Shigeki Osawa (5-1).