Ryo Chonan (left): Daniel Herbertson | Sherdog.com
Less than a week before the event, Dan Hornbuckle has been forced to withdraw from his Dec. 30 bout with Ryo Chonan at Sengoku Raiden Championship’s “Soul of Fight.”
Chonan broke word of the shake-up on Dec. 25 via Twitter. Monday, SRC parent company World Victory Road confirmed that Hornbuckle will not fight due to influenza, and will be replaced by Sengoku welterweight grand prix semi-finalist Taisuke Okuno.
Chonan has emerged victorious in three of his last four bouts. After returning to Japan following an unsuccessful stint in the UFC, the 34-year-old “Piranha” defeated Jutaro Nakao and Andrews Nakahara under the Deep and Dream banners, respectively.
Chonan was knocked out by little-known South Korean Jung Hwan Cha in April, and sought to avenge that loss in October, in the Deep ring However, Cha withdrew from the rematch, and Chonan instead defeated Jun Hee Moon via third-round stoppage.
After spending five years in the Shooto ranks, Okuno made a name for himself in 2010. After dispatching former Deep welterweight champ Hidehiko Hasegawa in February, Okuno entered Sengoku’s welterweight grand prix, where he pulled off an upset against well-traveled veteran Nick Thompson via brutal knockout. However, Okuno was eliminated in his next fight, a unanimous decision loss to tournament favorite Yasubey Enomoto.
The 28-bout “Soul of Fight” takes place at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo. The all-day card is populated not only by mixed martial arts, but also kickboxing and grappling contests.