Akihiro Gono vs. Yoon Young Kim
Gono may be the more experienced and proven fighter, but he has lost three in a row. At 35 years old and with 51 bouts under Gono’s belt, Father Time has started to look more like the Grim Reaper. Kim wields one of the sport’s great nicknames, and that’s reason enough to take him over an obviously fading Gono. Logic says Gono will rebound and win a mediocre fight, but who could forgive themselves for going against a guy who calls himself the “Snake Eater?”
Yuji Hoshino vs. Marlon Sandro
After getting shafted by the judges in the featherweight grand prix, Sandro gets a chance at some redemption at the expense of an overmatched Hoshino. A solid fighter in his own right, Hoshino has nothing to offer Sandro, a far more talented grappler who has a huge advantage in power on the feet. One way or another, this will turn into a lopsided win for what is sure to be an exceptionally irritated and motivated Sandro.
Dave Herman vs. Jim York
In the big brawling heavyweight special, Herman and York will make for an entertaining scrap, especially when Herman knocks York into next week. The more talented and relentless striker of the two, Herman’s swarming style and superior athleticism will give the lumbering York problems, as he has struggled with bigger, more talented strikers in the past. Considering York’s limited ground game, this fight will quickly turn into an extended highlight reel for the man they call “Pee Wee.”
Shigeki Osawa vs. Ronnie Mann
Now that World Victory Road has a talented young Japanese prospect in Osawa, it has decided to throw him in there with a 19-fight veteran. Consider this sink or swim at its worst. Expect Osawa to sink, as his still reckless style and lack of finishing ability puts him in a bad spot against Mann. He may not be a premier grappler, but Mann knows his limitations and will work an effective top control strategy en route to a decision win.
Ryota Uozomi vs. Yuichiro Yajima
Yajima’s record reflects his skills, as he has spent most of his career fighting at the bottom of the ZST heap. Meanwhile, Uozomi has at least managed to beat most of the no-name opponents who have been served up for him. In other words, take Uozomi.
Hirokazu Konno vs. Tomoaki Ueyama
Two anonymous fighters with sub-.500 records battle in a matchup no one will remember. How this fight ended up on this card is anyone’s guess, but by using the patented who-has-the-cooler-nickname system, Konno becomes the clear pick.