Friday, January 6, 2012

Japanese MMA scene Fighter to watch out 2012

I write about up and coming Japanese MMA fighters to stay on the look out for.  Specifically I focus on those outside of the major MMA organizations.  Most likely, only die-hard MMA fans will know about the following fighters.

Kyoji Horiguchi

Horiguchi is on a three fight KO streak in 2011 after winning the Shooto Rookie tournament.  Horiguchi will next face world-ranked fighter and upcoming Bellator tournament contestant Masakatsu Ueda.  With his tremendous speed, karate skills, and knockout power, Horiguchi definitely has a chance to pull off the upset over Ueda.

Doo Ho Choi

After gaining attention from his decision victory over Ikuo Usuda in 2010, Choi seeks to improve on a breakout 2011.  He showcased vicious knees and an impressive sprawl during his wins over Mitsuhiro Ishida and Nobuhiro Obiya.  He will next face Kazunori Yokota for the vacant DEEP featherweight title and should be a strong favorite.  I’m curious to see how he will fare against a strong and powerful striker.

Jon Shores

From very early in his career, Shores has been known for his submission finishing skills.  This year, he seeks to bring his striking up to a similar level.  He defeated Tomonari Kanomata by maintaining a steady striking pace and will likely now square off against Takumi Nakayama for the Pancrase interim featherweight title.

Yasuaki Kishimoto

You might recognize this name after his victory over Un Sik Song, who currently trying to rediscover his prior form from before his military stint, Kishimoto is now in the mix for the DEEP lightweight title. After beating veteran Jutaro Nakao, I’m guessing that he will likely get a title shot soon.

Yuta "Uruka" Sasaki

Uruka’s 2011 campaign was hard fought.  He got a pair of close decision nods over Yoshifumi Nakamura and Kosuke Kindaichi.   His lack of finishing skills needs to be improved upon, which could be seen in his loss to Guy Delumeau’s wrestling/BJJ style.  Fortunately he is young enough that there should be plenty of time for improvement.

Michinori Tanaka

Tanaka is the MVP of this year’s Shooto Rookie tournament, which was actually one of the more stacked rookie tournaments in recent history.  By consistently attacking with chain grappling, Tanaka completely dominated runner-up Teruto Ishihara, who was clearly the second best rookie in Shooto this year.

Hideto Tatsumi

Although the dearth of talent in the Japanese heavier weight classes makes for some difficult comparisons, Hideto Tatsumi’s impressive judo background warrants a closer look.  After losing his debut to Christian M’Pumbu, Tatsumi upset veteran Hiromitsu Kanegara in just his third fight.  While still too early to judge, his performance is definitely promising.  Currently training with Japanese star Yushin Okami, his next test will be against Yang Hae Jun at Legend FC.

Also DEEP will crown flyweight champ with tournament.If Tatsumitsu Wada drop flyweight,it guarantee tounrament's winner quality.

SKILL MMA : Japanese MMA scene Fighter to watch out 2011

Big thanks to Dean Ryuta Adachi  ( for English editing.

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