It's a busy weekend ahead for combat sport in Japan! While we wait for more information on the promotional plans of former PRIDE FC brass Nobuyuki Sakakibara and Hiroyuki Kato and the future direction of FEG/K-1/DREAM, we’re lucky enough to be tied over with lots of great action from the smaller promotions.
Kicking things off Friday, Jewels Lightweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki (4-0) will headline the JEWELS 12th Ring show against American Top Team's Jessica Aguilar (10-4) in a non-title match. Lisa Ward was originally scheduled to face Hamasaki however she was inujred training and is unable to compete. Jessica Aguilar steps in after her fight scheduled for this weekend in Michigan was cancelled.
Injuries also affected the main event for Shooto's SHOOTOR'S LEGACY 2 which takes place on Saturday at Korakuen Hall. World Shooto Flyweight Champion Rambaa "M16" Somdet was injured late last month and forced to drop out of his title fight against Junji Sarumaru. The match is now scheduled to take place on April 29th. Yuki Shojo (10-5-2) vs. Noboru "Shinpei" Tahara (9-5-1) has been moved up to the main event slot. Yuki Shojo is an exciting fighter who ranks as one of the top Flyweights in the world and Shinpei Tahara is a former 114-pound title challenger. Also on the card King of Pancrase Flyweight Champion Kiyotaka Shimizu (7-3-2) will make his Shooto debut as he's set to take on Shinichi Hanawa (8-7-1) who’s won his last four fights.
Speaking of Pancrase, The Impressive Tour 2011 makes a stop in Osaka on Sunday. In the main event, 2010 Bantamweight Neo-Blood tournament winner and former Karate champion Motonobu Tezuka (15-3-3) meets Judo specialist Hiroshi Tomita (8-2-2) of Pancrase Inagakigumi. The semi-main event is a Womens ‘Athena’ match billed as JEWELS vs VALKYRIE, Osaka native Hitomi Akano (16-8) will fight for the first time in her home town when she takes on the much outclassed Chisa Yonezawa (1-3).
DEEP is holding a Rock/MMA fushion event on Sunday called ANNIHILATE! It's a smaller card featuring a one night four-man Megaton GP tournament along with a bunch of hard rock/metal bands. In Block A of the GP, Baru “Seiryu” Harn (1-1) is set to meet Seigo Mizuguchi (7-8) and in Block B Ryota (0-1) takes on Gerogian judoka and Yoshida Dojo's Levan Razmadze (1-0). The winner will get a future title shot against newly crowned Megaton Champion Kazuhisa Tazawa.
Rounding out the action on Sunday, HEAT 17 takes place from Nagoya with two former K-1 veterans squaring off when Hiromi Amada will defend his HEAT Heavyweight Kick title against Tatsufumi Tomihira and over in Shoot Boxing they kick off the 2011 edition of the Young Ceasar's Cup tournament.
3/11 – JEWELS 12th Ring – Tokyo
3/12 – SHOOTO ~ SHOOTOR’S LEGACY 02 – Tokyo
3/13 – SHOOTBOXING ~ Young Caesar Cup – Nagoya
3/13 – DEEP 10th Anniversary DEEP ANNIHILATE! – Tokyo
3/13 – HEAT 17 – Nagoya
3/13 – PANCRASE 2011 IMPRESSIVE TOUR 3.13 – Osaka