Satoru Kitaoka will defend his belt in Deep’s first New Year’s Eve headliner. | Photo: Dean Marchand/Sherdog.com
The final cards and bout orders have been determined for two events going head-to-head on Japanese MMA’s biggest night of the year.
Inoki Genome Federation will host its annual New Year’s Eve show, “Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2014,” at Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo hall in Tokyo, while Deep will stage its first holiday special, “Dream Impact 2014,” at Saitama Super Arena.
IGF’s offering will be headlined by a heavyweight title rematch between Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Satoshi Ishii, who first met in an August bout which saw Filipovic slice open the Olympic judo gold medalist with elbows for a second-round doctor stoppage. The super-heavyweight co-main event will see once-beaten American Chris Barnett take on former sumo wrestler Shinichi Suzukawa.
In addition to a lightweight tilt pitting submission ace Shinya Aoki against Yuki Yamamoto, “Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2014” will feature a handful of pro-wrestling matches and a one-night, four-man openweight tournament. Former Pride FC greats Fedor Emelianenko and Wanderlei Silva are expected to be in attendance. The event will stream live via online pay-per-view at NicoNico.jp.
Deep will counter with a bill filled largely with Japanese talent, including a lightweight title fight where champion Satoru Kitaoka will defend his belt against UFC veteran Yoshiyuki Yoshida. Former RFA 125-pound titlist Matt Manzanares will make his first international appearance in the co-main event against Deep flyweight ace Yuki Motoya.
Other notable bouts on Deep’s hefty, 22-fight card include a 145-pound pairing between Kazunori Yokota and Isao Kobayashi, featherweight Mizuto Hirota looking to run his post-UFC win streak to three against South Korea’s Kyu Hwa Kim, and a quartet of women’s matchups topped by Ayaka Hamasaki versus “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi.