For the first time in a while it feels like there is a lot of movement in Japan when it comes to New Year's Eve. Inoki will be holding his annual Inoki Bom Ba Ye event, Nobuyuki Sakikabara has returned with RIZIN FF and there has been talk of TBS's Kyokugen airing a special exhibition bout between KID Yamamoto and MASATO.
The KID Yamamoto vs. Masato bout was lining up to be a bit of a strange one. Kyokugen is not a fight show, in fact, it's just a New Year's Eve variety show, but TBS, remembering the crazy ratings that they got from KID vs. Masato before, were dedicated to trying to rekindle some sort of spark with a rematch of sorts. Of sorts. The bout was originally planned to be an exhibition bout between the two men, most likely happening in a television studio and not in an arena. Oh yeah, and it was scheduled to be one round. There was never going to be a real fight because Yamamoto is under contract to the UFC. But none of that matters now as it looks like the fight is in danger due to KID Yamamoto's chest tattoo. Over the past few years Yamamoto has gone deeper into the realm of tattoos and now has a giant bird and snake on his torso and this is a big deal in Japan. I'm not sure that I get it, either, just make him wear a rash guard. For what it's worth the fight is still listed on TBS's official site.
IGF Inoki Bom Ba Ye will the the standard issue Inoki event that mixes MMA fights with professional wrestling and hopefully he bring in some bigger name kickboxers for pro wrestling like he has in the past. Not that the wrestling is ever good, just that it's a pretty cool spectacle is all. There are currently only two matches on the card thus far, one of which is a pro wrestling match, the other is Shinya Aoki against former K-1 kickboxer Montonha Silva.
As for RIZIN, man, who even knows. There is so much going on with RIZIN right now and most of it is just crazy. Fedor Emelianenko was originally to fight Jaideep Singh and then we heard that they changed that because fans were upset, then we heard that Jaideep was out of shape anyway, so he couldn't fight. Then it was Tsuyoshi Kosakha, but now TK is fighting someone else instead.
On the 29th RIZIN will hold an event that supposedly is Sakuraba's retirement (yeah, right). Sakuraba is scheduled to face Shinya Aoki. Tsuyoki Kosakha is scheduled to fight James "The Colossus" Thompson, AJ Matthews against Anatoly Tokov and Yuki Motoya vs. Nam Jin Jo.
The 31st is the big one, though. That is the event that is featuring Fedor Emelianenko against a mysterious question mark, Estonian sumo wrestler Kaido Hoovelson will step into the ring against another set of question marks as well, hoping to usher in a new era of sumo superstardom not seen since Akebono. BJJ dynamo Gabi Garcia makes her MMA debut against professional wrestler Lei'd Tapa and RENA from Shootboxing is scheduled to fight Jleana Valentino.
Just announced today was the rematch to end all rematches in Bob Sapp vs. Akebono. Originally they met at K-1 PREMIUM 2003 Dynamite!! in a bout that saw Sapp take the win during his rise to prominence in Japan. Now, many years later, both men will meet again. This time not in K-1 rules, but instead MMA rules. Yikes.