Final Preparations! The Ninth Unsheathing
I’ll be gone for around a week. So don’t worry if there aren’t any updates.
#14: “The Man Who Defeated Fedor” Has Arrived
Blagoy Alexandre Ivanov arrived to Japan yesterday and talked with the Japanese press today. Since he has trained in South Korea for this fight, there’s no jet lag. He says that his first impressions of Japan are good.
When talking about his victory over Fedor, Ivanov says that his life hasn’t really changed much and is as always. However, he says with a smiling face that he was happy to have been able to beat Fedor in the 70th year anniversary of Sambo.
Ivanov doesn’t really think that he has a strong point. He says that he’s OK if it goes to the ground or if it stays standing. He doesn’t mind whether he wins by KO or by submission.
Ivanov has seen Fujita’s old fights, especially impressive were his fights against Fedor and Karam Ibrahim. He thinks that Fujita’s right punch is strong and will be watching out for that in the fight. When asked about Fujita’s weak point, Ivanov said: “You’ll know after the fight”.
While his current objective is to defeat Fujita, his objective in SENGOKU is to try his hands on its Heavyweight division (he mentions Travis Wiuff, who defeated Fujita last year).
#13: Kitaoka Owning People
Footage of Satoru Kitaoka owning some other professional fighters like Caol Uno in grappling training at Lotus PARAESTRA.
#12: Gono – Better Than Ever
Akihiro Gono had an open training session at GRABAKA in Tokyo today. He says that his weight cut is going according to schedule, and that he only has 6 kg left to cut to get to 76 kg.
Since March of this year Gono has had “Strongest Referee” Ryogaku Wada as a physical trainer. Gono says that the quality of his muscles has gone up. Gono didn’t really see much difference in the mirror in the beginning, but fellow GRABAKA member Yuki Sasaki told him: “You didn’t have any strength around the time you fought John Fitch, but now it’s different”.
To show his new confidence, Gono not only displayed his strong point (striking) in his public training session, he also displayed middle kicks as well as front kicks.
All preparations for his entrance is ready (costumes, meeting with staff, etc.). All that’s left is to perform. He didn’t reveal anything about the performance though.
About his opponent, he has only seen his one SENGOKU fight, but Gono thinks that if he (Gono) fights as normal, he can win. Gono ends by talking about how he doesn’t want to lose to Professional Baseball and that MMA will catch up.
#11: The Lightweight King
Satoru Kitaoka had an open training session at Lotus PARAESTRA in Tokyo today. After a two minute grappling spar, where he tapped his partner with all kinds of submissions, he talked with the press.
Something Kitaoka still has trouble with is cutting to the 70 kg weight limit. For him the match starts from now on (final preparations to make weight). He says that he talked with “Mach” 2-3 months ago, and “Mach” talked nothing but how hard summertime is.
His opponent, Hirota, said at his training session that Kitaoka having his picture as wallpaper on his cellphone is unpleasant/gross. When Kitaoka heard this he said that he always has his opponents picture as wallpaper, and he was also a little irritated on why Hirota talks about such things now (so close to the fight, after so long).
Kitaoka is also irritated about Hirota saying that he (Kitaoka) makes light of him/puts him down. Kitaoka says that he wouldn’t have made such preparations for the fight if he didn’t take him seriously. Hirota also made comments about Kitaoka’s style of fighting in relation to the audience.
Hirota said things like he would make Kitaoka want to quit MMA. Kitaoka’s answer to that is that Hirota doesn’t have such power. Kitaoka continues to mention Hirota quotes which has irritated him and commenting on them.
#10: Bae Speaks
Choi Mu Bae was recently interviewed by Korean MMA site mfight.co.kr. Bae starts by saying that his abdominal muscles are making a comeback for this fight.
About the training for the fight, he says that he trained quite hard for this fight compared to before. He currently weighs 110 kg (he weighed 118 kg for his last SENGOKU fight) and his body fat percentage is 10%. He has trained to be able to move fast.
About Nakao he says that he has trained with him before in Japan so he has a grasp of his abilities. He doesn’t think it will be an easy fight.
The reporter then asks him what he would do if Nakao kisses him before the fight. Bae jokes and says that he will oppose Nakao’s tongue in his mouth. He then finishes the interview by talking about among other things wanting to expand his own gym, and having mental, financial, and physical troubles.
Source: Kamipro Korea Column
#9: Strong Rating
Yesterdays SENGOKUG! episode got what might be the highest rating for the show ever with a strong 2.7%.
#8: Fujita Returns
Today Kazuyuki Fujita returned to Japan after training at Marco Ruas gym in Los Angeles for 4 weeks in preparation for his fight against Blagoy Alexandre Ivanov. Fujita said that since his opponent is a natural southpaw, he brought Yoshihisa Yamamoto with him to Los Angeles as a sparring partner.
Fujita will be careful since he has no experience of Sambo. Another reason he brought Yamamoto with him is that he has a lot of experience with Sambo fighters from the old organization RINGS. So Fujita says that he was able to do good training abroad.
Fujita says that he focused more on the physical part before leaving and more on the technical part while in Los Angeles.
What he worries about with Ivanov is that he doesn’t have an image of him in his head. The only thing he has seen of him is the short segment of him on SENGOKU’s TV program. Because he doesn’t know much about Ivanov he is anxious and anticipating it at the same time.
From the footage of Ivanov he did see his thoughts are: “Hairy (laugh)”. He has respect for Ivanov though, since he did beat Fedor, even if it wasn’t in MMA, and he is looking forward to the fight. He says that even in America people called Ivanov “the man who beat Fedor” (more people know that than his name) at a sports club he went to.
Fujita is a little bewildered by Nakao who earlier said that he might enter the ring if Fujita wins. He says that they weren’t really acquainted during their Amateur Wrestling days and they haven’t really met. However, he isn’t thinking about it now, he is concentrating on his own fight.
#7: Nakao Wants GP
Yoshihiro “KISS” Nakao held a public training session at Gold’s Gym in Tokyo today. This will be his first fight since losing due to a knee injury against Antonio Silva at SENGOKU NO RAN 2009. Nakao’s knee is completely OK now according to himself. He is able to train as usual.
Nakao still wants to settle things with Silva, and will continue to win until that day comes. He wants to rematch Silva in a SENGOKU Heavyweight GP. So that’s something SENGOKU must put together he says. He thinks a GP would be something good since SENGOKU has many good fighters at Heavyweight.
Nakao trains and is immersed in MMA from Monday to Saturday, something his wife isn’t too happy about. He says that even when he has a fight, he starts training the day after. Something he thinks has to be done when looking at the top fighters of the world.
Someone who Nakao has asked for and who he is still hoping to fight is Kazuyuki Fujita. Nakao says that he might go up in the ring if Fujita wins his fight at SENGOKU IX, which takes place after his own.
#6: SENGOKUG! Episode 41
This episode contains previews of most fights on the card.
#5: Freelancer Mitsuoka
Eiji Mitsuoka will have his first fight ever as a freelancer since leaving the gym which he was affiliated with for 10 years.
On July 22nd he held an opening training session together with current UFC fighter Caol Uno at the J-ROCK workout studio in Tokyo. After a 3 minute MMA spar Mitsuoka talked with the press. Since leaving WK he has trained at the J-ROCK workout studio, Lotus PARAESTRA, Akiyama’s Cloud Gym, Ranger Gym Shinagawa, and done physical training under I believe Ryogaku Wada.
He says that while the training in WK was good, there were a lot of juniors. Now he can test his skills at Lotus PARAESTRA since top Lightweights gather to train there (Aoki, Kitaoka, etc.). Mitsuoka has recently talked about the results of his physical training, something that trainer Wada has put his seal of approval to as well.
Uno, who will be one of Mitsuoka’s seconds said that they have and are currently watching videos on French. They both continue to talk about Mitsuoka’s new style but Mitsuoka says that he always has a new one when asked if we will see a new style in the fight.
Mitsuoka ends by saying that he wants to have series of victories in MMA like the Chunichi Dragons currently have in baseball.
#4: Poll – GP Winner?
#3: The “Air Pocket” Is Born
SENGOKU Featherweight GP Final 4 fighter Masanori Kanehara has visited the legendary Satoru Sayama’s (founder of Shooto, first Tiger Mask) dojo in Tokyo to train his stand-up (I think Sayama’s style is called seiken shinkage ryu) for the last one and a half year. Today he held an interesting public training session there.
He did a couple of rounds of mitt training with Super Tiger (Sayama’s current character) and 3 minutes of MMA sparring with a senior from the gym he belongs to (Paraestra Hachioji). Kanehara thinks that the stand-up training in Sayama’s dojo has helped a lot and that it showed in his Pancrase fight against Kenji Arai earlier this year (the fight which got him a spot in SENGOKU’s GP).
Kanehara is taking his next fight very seriously as he has asked for a fight with Hioki more than once before. About Hioki, Kanehara says that he’s tall and that all of his techniques are textbook. He thinks that Hioki only has the basic/fundamental techniques and nothing else, nothing special.
Kanehara isn’t thinking at all about a possible same-night final. He’s in a state where, before his eyes, he doesn’t see anyone but his opponent (Hioki). With a laugh he says that the final is like an omake (bonus) to him.
He has a counter-plan for “Noppo” (means tall, but not the normal word for it, like you would tease someone who’s tall with the name of that tall Disney character). If he hits him with it he’ll be surprised to the extent that he goes down. “If that appears it’ll be bad” says Kanehara. The secret technique is from Super Tiger and is called “air pocket”.
Super Tiger also speaks highly of it. The impact is huge, Hioki hasn’t tasted anything like it in his whole career. Sayama thinks that Hioki is a “sports fighter”. While Kanehara is also an athlete he thinks that in today’s MMA, few possess a real fighting heart.
Kanehara really doesn’t care about the final. He says that besides reserve fighter Chan Sung Jung, anyone is fine. He says with a bitter smile: “I don’t want to fight him ever again” (I don’t know if he means that he thinks he’d lose or if he’s tired of the talk).
For Kanehara, this fight is the decisive fight of his life.
#2: Future LW Champ – Ikuo Usuda
2002 All-Japan University Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships 66kg 1st Place
2002 World University Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships 66kg 3rd Place
2007 Amateur Shooto East Japan Open Welterweight Champion
2008 Shooto Welterweight Rookie Of The Year
The next big fighter coming out of the legendary Kiguchi Dojo, Ikuo Usuda, will look to secure a future with SENGOKU on August 2nd when he faces Koji Ando.
Usuda never fought in a fight that allowed knees to the head of a grounded opponent, but his use of them in his first SENGOKU fight was as if he had used them for years.
#1: Marlon Sandro Public Workout
Marlon Sandro is already in Japan where he today had a public training session at the Fight Fit Sports Club (Nova Uniao Jiu-Jitsu Academy) in Kanagawa-Ebina City. Sandro arrived in Japan around 3 weeks ago, not only to prepare for the fight and destroy any possible jet lag, but to also help teammates Eduardo Dantas and Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro for their fights in Shooto and DREAM.
For the training session Marlon sparred with SENGOKU Lightweight Leo Santos for 2 minutes. About Omigawa, Marlon thinks he’s a strong fighter. His judo and takedowns are good. Sandro thinks it’ll probably be a fight where he will use all of his skills.
Regarding two fights in one night, Sandro says that he has trained to finish the fight early. He will be looking for the early KO or submission. While he’s currently concentrating on the fight, he mentions that he would be very happy to have another belt in addition to his Featherweight King Of Pancrase belt.