For years, Shooto has been the stomping ground for international talent. And for awhile, when Miguel Torres was on top of the world and not joking about rape, hardcore fans felt like a fight between Masakatsu Ueda and Torres was a dream match. With Torres cut from the UFC (I suspect Torres may be back, and despite my "moral outrage" over the situation, firmly believe he should be), it's entirely possible this could become a reality.
At least with the news that Ueda (14-1-2) has just signed a deal with Bellator Fighting Championships according to the Fight Lounge. No word yet on his debut, but it's likely he'll be a participant for the Bellator BW tournament.
Ueda will be a solid addition to their BW roster. He already owns a win over BW contender, Eduardo Dantas back in 2009. Unfortunately hardcore fans remember Ueda best for Shuichiro Katsumura's upset of Masakatsu via an atypical maneuver: a submission set up brilliantly as Katsumura went from a failed attempt at mission control to "ninja choke".
Ueda, one of the few Japanese prospects known to be occasionally booed by Japanese fans (yes folks, Japanese people are not immune to audible displays of frustration), brings with him a grappling pedigree hard to match. He's an excellent top control grappler in the vein of Ricardo Arona. His striking is still a little rudimentary, but he's come a long way, and even found himself in a minor slugfest against faded legend Rumino Sato back in July.
Ueda is 33, so he's no spring chicken, but then that would appear to be put him right at home with Joe Warren being 35, and Alexis Vila being 40. Ueda is still expected to be in action early in January at Shooto's Survivor Tournament Final against Kyoji Horiguchi.