Brad's Friday Fight Bodega - Aoki vs. IkemotoAuthor : Brad Taschuk
This weekend will serve as the calm before the storm that is the fall slate of MMA we are soon to bear witness to. The next five weekends will all feature at least two cards that fall under either a Zuffa banner, or those of Bellator and DREAM. If that doesn’t make the MMA portion of your brain a little bit giddy, I recommend you see a specialist.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s just run down what’s going on this weekend, one always serving as the last remnant of Summer.
A nice way to start your Saturday morning (if you’re in North America, like me), is to wake up with some Pacific Rim MMA action. AFC 2 features the best fight and fighter all weekend, as Hector Lombard (#9 MW) takes on Jesse Taylor. In addition, the preeminent Pole in terms of actual MMA relevance, Marcin Held, will be in his first action since losing to Bellator Lightweight contender Michael Chandler. The most intriguing card of the weekend, especially for fans of the Eastern scene, has to be One FC‘s debut effort. Featuring fights like Eduard Folayang vs. A Sol Kwon, Yoshiyuki Yoshida vs. Phil Baroni, as well as fighters including: Gregor Gracie, “The Warrior” Andy Wang, and the debut of Yodsanan Sityodong - one of the most accomplished boxers to transition to MMA – the upstart promotion already has dreams of grandeur in the sport’s modern landscape.
The following day, the eye of the MMA world will stay in the East, but shift to a more traditional locale, as Japan plays host to its three longest running promotions. Pancrase, Shooto and DEEP all have cards taking place on September 4th. Pancrase – Impressive Tour 9 is headlined by Tomonari Kanomata, who is best known for almost being ended by Marlon Sandro, but now sports a 5-fight unbeaten streak. Also making appearances are Shungo Oyama, Masahiro Oishi, Rin Nakai, Katsuya Inoue, and Naoyuki Kotani, a true mix of solid Japanese talent well past their primes and one of the brighter female fighters in the game.Shooto – Border 8: Roaring Thunder (what a name) focuses on the 2011 Shooto Rookie Tournaments, and two 2010 Rookie Champs, as Masayoshi Kato looks to extend his unbeaten record and former Bodegee Kosuke “Rambo” Suzuki looks to rebound from his first career defeat. Last (and honestly, least), DEEP – Osaka Impact will show off such over-the-hill talent as Seichi Ikemoto and Jutaro Nakao. Surprisingly, my pick for the Bodega fight this week is inspired by the DEEP card, although perhaps not in the most flattering way.
Shinya Aoki vs. Seichi Ikemoto
DEEP – 15th Impact
July 3, 2004
This fight goes all the way back to Shinya Aoki‘s third professional MMA bout. He was not nearly the fighter who supplanted Takanori Gomi as the top Japanese Lightweight in the world, but instead a impressive grappler focused on making waves in MMA. Seichi Ikemoto was what he has always been, an entertaining journeyman. However, despite the apparent mismatch, Ikemoto made things decently competitive, and the fight ended up being a fun one. The connection with Ikemoto is obvious, but interestingly enough, Aoki suffered his first career loss in his next fight, with fellow DEEP – Osaka Impact competitor Jutaro Nakao.
Enjoy One FC streaming on Sherdog.com, and this weekend’s other fights however you can end up finding them, and remember to check back next week to see what gladiatorial goodies we’ll have then.