Bouts Added to Vale Tudo Japan 2009; Gomi to Fight Hervey

By Jordan Breen Oct 13, 2009
Promotional group Sustain announced the addition of three bouts Tuesday to the Oct. 30 "Vale Tudo Japan 2009" card at JCB Hall.

Former Pride and Shooto world champion Takanori Gomi will take on KOTC lightweight champion Tony Hervey at a catchweight of 156 pounds in what Gomi has hinted may be his last fight in Japan. Also, former flyweight king Mamoru Yamaguchi will meet Guam's Jesse Taitano at 123 pounds, and like-minded punchers Tenkei "Fujimiya" Oda and Tito Jones will square off at 148 pounds.

The Gomi-Hervey and Oda-Jones bouts will be contested under Vale Tudo Japan rules, featuring knees, stomps to the head of grounded opponents and smaller gloves, while Yamaguchi-Taitano will be fought under pro Shooto rules. Like the previously announced bout between Shooto world champion "Lion" Takeshi Inoue and former Shooto world champion Alexandre Franca Nogueira, the Gomi-Hervey bout is scheduled for five five-minute rounds, while the others are slated for three five-minute rounds.

Following his January submission loss to Satoru Kitaoka for the vacant Sengoku lightweight title, the 31-year-old Gomi returned to action in the Shooto ring in May, where he knocked out then-Shooto world champion Takashi Nakakura in the second round. In the lead-up to Vale Tudo Japan 2009, Gomi has indicated that his fighting future following the bout likely lies stateside.

Hervey, 23, gained attention this past June when he crushed UFC veteran Alberto Crane in just 12 seconds. The KOTC titlist followed up his triumph over Crane in August, stopping Victor "Joe Boxer" Valenzuela on a cut in the second round.

Yamaguchi hasn't seen MMA action since July 2008, when he was choked out by rival Shinichi "BJ" Kojima in their rubber match. He was just 78 seconds away from winning a decision that would have made him Shooto's 123-pound world champion again. Recently, the 32-year-old Shooto star has focused on his stand-up game by competing in Shoot Boxing, where he's tallied a 3-1 record over the course of 2009, emerging as the No. 1 contender in the promotion's 121-pound division.

Taitano, one of the top talents from Guam's burgeoning MMA scene, burst to relevance in January, fighting to a draw with aforementioned Shooto world champion Shinichi Kojima. However, he was defeated in August in his bout against strawweight Noboru "Shinpei" Tahara in a 119-pound catchweight bout.

Despite being opponents from opposite sides of the Pacific, Jones and Oda share circumstances. Jones, who campaigns under Urijah Faber's Team Alpha Male banner, is coming off a competitive, razor-thin decision loss to Bao Quach in Strikeforce this past May. "Fujimiya" himself lost a highly controversial split decision to Quach in August 2007 and has now lost four straight, not having fought since his September 2008 stoppage loss to Shintaro Ishiwatari.
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