Gracie-Kondo Announced for Sengoku II

By Tim Leidecker May 5, 2008
After months of speculation, World Victory Road has finally announced an opponent for grappling superstar Roger Gracie (Pictures). The nine-time world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu will lock horns with three-time King of Pancrase Yuki Kondo (Pictures) in a catchweight bout scheduled for Sengoku II on May 18 in Japan.

Gracie, 26, has been the undisputed king of grappling for the past three years.

In May 2005, he submitted all eight of his opponents -- including multiple-time BJJ world champion Xande Ribeiro, Alexandre Ferreira, Shinya Aoki (Pictures) and Fabricio Werdum (Pictures) as well as longtime archrival Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza -- to win gold medals in both the 99-kilogram division and the absolute division of the ADCC submission fighting world championships.

Since then the son of Maurição Motta Gomes has collected another four world championships in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, defeating a who's who of the grappling world. His lone MMA fight is a first-round submission of American wrestler Ron Waterman (Pictures) in December 2006.

Gracie's opponent, Yuki Kondo, is no stranger to the ring.

In the past 12 years, the well-rounded 32-year-old has fought a total of 75 times, making him one of the busiest mixed martial artists of all time. While most newer fans may only remember him for the devastating knockouts he took at the hands and feet of Wanderlei Silva (Pictures) and Phil Baroni (Pictures) during his three-year stint in Pride, Kondo was a top performer in his home promotion of Pancrase.

"I'm very honored that WVR gave me the opportunity to fight against an opponent of such quality," Kondo said. "In my opinion Roger Gracie is the best ground fighter in the world. He is incredibly strong on the mat. There is nobody on the planet who is better in this area. That's why I'm enormously motivated for this fight and want to give my very best."

Kondo is expected to give up around 30 pounds in weight when he steps into the ring on May 18. His fight against Gracie will be the second main event of Sengoku II in addition to the all-American encounter between Josh Barnett (Pictures) and Jeff Monson (Pictures).
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