Sengoku 15 group shot: Taro Irei | Sherdog.com
TOKYO – All fighters except for visiting American lightweight Brian Cobb came in on weight for Saturday's Sengoku Raiden Championship 15, going down at the promotion's now-usual venue, Ryogoku Kokugikan.
According to World Victory Road officials, Cobb initially weighed in at 73.3 kilograms (161.6 pounds), and was thus allowed to skip the pre-fight press conference to shed the excess 3 kilograms (6.6 lbs) to make the 70.3 kilogram (155 lbs) limit.
WVR brass later reported that Cobb was cleared to fight as of 9:30 PM Japan time, when he weighed in at 71.3 kilograms. Despite still being one kilogram over the lightweight limit in Sengoku, WVR officials asserted that a one kilogram difference was permissible per their rules. Cobb's final weight also reportedly met the approval of his opponent, Kazunori Yokota, who at the press conference brushed aside the American's weight issues for what Yokota claimed were more pressing personal concerns.
“Despite my opponent not being physically at his best at the moment, my physical state on the other hand is good. However, since I've been promising at press conferences and public workouts that I'd be saying something interesting on the mic after the fight, the pressure has gotten to the point that I couldn't sleep yesterday. I'm going to give it my best shot on the mic after the fight tomorrow, but even if I fail at it, please just smile or laugh,” pleaded Yokota in mock seriousness.
Yokota has developed a reputation in Sengoku for pleasing the local crowd with his post-fight antics on the microphone, most notably in SRC 11, when he bemoaned the status of his receding hairline rather than talking about his winning performance over Eiji Mitsuoka.
WVR president Toru Mukai apologized for the absence of both former featherweight champion Masanori Kanehara and lightweight Nova Uniao product Leonardo Santos from the SRC 15 bill. Originally slated to face Doo Ho Choi, Mukai claimed that Kanehara's opponent was forced off the card with a recurring injury, which ADCombat.com reported as a spinal issue. Similarly, a C-spine injury sees Maximo Blanco's original opponent in Santos replaced by Japanese MMA veteran, Kiuma Kunioku.
“I'm very well prepared, so I can fight against anyone,” said a confident Blanco, unperturbed by the late change.
When asked how he saw his bout against the dynamic Blanco turning out, Kunioku tentatively responded, “I have a very vague idea [of tomorrow's fight], but it's really difficult and unrealistic to talk about it now.”
Blanco was more assertive in his assessment of the coming bout, claiming, “The way I see it, sooner or later, I'll win by knockout.”
Elsewhere, SRC welterweight tournament opponents Yasubey Enomoto and Taisuke Okuno traded respectful comments, particularly after Enomoto invoked the notion of “samurai spirit” inherent in Okuno's scintillating third round knockout of Nick Thompson in August's SRC 14. On the other half of the welterweight tournament semifinal bracket however, UFC and Dream veteran Keita Nakamura had uncharacteristically strong words for his opponent Takuya Wada, claiming that he hated his opponent and looked forward to hurting him on Saturday.
When probed as to why he harbored an intense dislike of his opponent, Nakamura joked, “He said he was a stylish, good looking guy, but I don't think that's true.”
Sengoku Raiden Championship 15
October 30, 2010
Hiroshi Izumi (92.3 kilograms / 203.5 pounds) vs James Zikic (91.8 / 202.4)
Kazunori Yokota (70.2 / 154.8) vs Brian Cobb (73.3 / 161.6)
Maximo Blanco (70.3 / 155) vs Kiuma Kunioku (69.5 / 153.2)
Yoshiaki Takahashi (92.4 / 203.7) vs Chang Seob Lee (93 / 205)
SRC Welterweight Grand Prix 2010 Semifinals
Keita Nakamura (77 / 169.8) vs Takuya Wada (77 / 169.8)
Taisuke Okuno (77 / 169.8) vs Yasubey Enomoto (77 / 169.8)
SRC Asia Bantamweight Tournament 2010 Quarterfinals
Taiyo Nakahara (61.1 / 134.7) vs Shintaro Ishiwatari (61.1 / 134.7)
Akitoshi Tamura (61.2 / 134.9) vs Shoko Sato (61 / 134.5)
Shunichi Shimizu (61.2 / 134.9) vs Wataru Takahashi (61.1 / 134.7)
Manabu Inoue (61.1 / 134.7) vs Jae Hyun So (61.1 / 134.7)