Fighters Official for Sengoku 'Sixth Battle'

By Tony Loiseleur Oct 31, 2008
TOKYO -- All 18 fighters made weight for Sengoku’s “Sixth Battle” at Friday’s pre-fight press conference.

Set to originate from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Saturday, the final Sengoku show of 2008 should close the year with a bang, as it features conclusions to the middleweight and lightweight grand prix. The winners of those two tournaments will move on to face the promotion’s uncrowned kings, Kazuo Misaki and Takanori Gomi, early next year.

“My condition is great -- so great that I can’t make any excuses if I lose,” said former Deep lightweight champion Kazunori Yokota, who checked in at 153.8 pounds for his lightweight grand prix semi-final with Mizuto Hirota (154). “When I looked into Hirota’s eyes, I felt that he was very serious about this fight. I myself am relaxed now.”

“The only thing serious about me is my hair style,” said Hirota, referring to his newly bleached hair. “I built up my stamina so I can fight twice tomorrow. Maybe I’ll get two knockouts.”

On the other side of the bracket, prohibitive tournament favorite Eiji Mitsuoka (153.8) will collide with Satoru Kitaoka (154). Their pre-fight banter centered on a handshake.

“When I shook hands with Kitaoka, my hand hurt so much,” Mitsuoka said, “I couldn’t understand why he shook my hand so strongly.”

“To be fighting in the ring, that’s all I can do to give back to the people who have helped me get here,” Kitaoka said. “I think we’ll have a really great fight.”

There was little else exchanged besides respect and platitudes between middleweight tournament semi-finalists Kazuhiro Nakamura (182.6) and Yuki Sasaki (182.2). Opposite them in the bracket, however, Jorge Santiago (180.2) and Shooto champion Siyar Bahadurzada (182.6) had a more interesting exchange.

“I’ve seen in the eyes of my opponent and have seen what I wanted to see,” Bahadurzada said. “Don’t blink when the bell goes.”

“I saw the same thing,” Santiago said. “Just wait for tomorrow because he and I both want something. We’ll see who’s going to get it.”

When asked if there were concerns regarding the one-night format and its potential for injury, Santiago pointed to his performance in a September 2007 Strikeforce tournament in which he defeated Sean Salmon and Trevor Prangley on the same night.

“So long as I got confidence and my body is OK,” Santiago said. “I’ve been training hard, fighting fights like these in the gym a hundred times already. It’s the same thing I’ll do tomorrow night. For me, fighting in the tournament is more of a mind thing -- just focus, do your duty and finish.”

In a light heavyweight super fight, Muhammed Lawal (204.2) returns to Sengoku to face Fabio Silva (204.2) in his second professional mixed martial arts bout. He delivered a stunning technical knockout victory over journeyman Travis Wiuff in September.

A product of the Chute Boxe Academy, Silva has won nine of his past 11 bouts and has delivered more than half (seven) of his 11 career victories by knockout or TKO. The 26-year-old Brazilian seemed ready to throw down at the weigh-in.

“What’s the rush?” Lawal asked. “He’s gonna get his beating tomorrow. If we fight now, the crowd won’t see what happens. Might as well wait till tomorrow so the crowd can see, and the truth will be told.”

Finally, Gomi (153.8) -- the Sengoku lightweight ace and former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder -- will return to action against Sergey Golyaev (153.8) in non-tournament action.

“I’ve never underestimated my opponent,” Gomi said. “This may be a difficult fight for me, but I will endure to the best of my ability. I’ll aim at his body for starters and then work my way to his face. This is my first fight against a Russian fighter, and he’s very tall. There are not many people in my division who are so much taller than me.”

Sengoku “Sixth Battle” Weigh-In Results:

Sengoku Middleweight Grand Prix
Jorge Santiago (180.2) vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (182.6)
Kazuhiro Nakamura (182.6) vs. Yuki Sasaki (182.2)
Izuru Takeuchi (182.4) vs. Joe Doerksen (181.9) -- Reserve Bout

Sengoku Lightweight Grand Prix
Mizuto Hirota (154) vs. Kazunori Yokota (153.8)
Satoru Kitaoka (154) vs. Eiji Mitsuoka (153.8)
Jorge Masvidal (153.8) vs. Seung Hwan Bang (153.8) -- Reserve Bout

Non-Tournament Bouts
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (204.4) vs. Moise Rimbon (204.4)
Muhammed Lawal (204.2) vs. Fabio Silva (204.2)
Takanori Gomi (153.8) vs. Sergey Golyaev (153.8)
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