The year-long suspension handed down to the first and only Elite XC Heavyweight Champion, Antonio Silva (11-1), following his positive steroid test in July apparently won't keep the Brazilian giant from competing after all.
The Japanese promotion World Victory Road has signed "Bigfoot" to compete on its next Sengoku event scheduled to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on January 4. Yoshihiro Nakao (7-1) -- the man who Heath Herring infamously knocked out before their fight even started after getting kissed -- has been confirmed as his opponent.
As of right now Silva is eligible to re-apply for a license to fight in the United States in July of 2009, but taking a fight in another country that doesn't recognize the suspension is not going to look good on that application. In fact, he could face an uphill battle in the future with this move.
Time will tell.
Silva is undefeated as a heavyweight with wins over Wesley "Cabbage" Correira, Jonathan Wiezorek, Ricco Rodriquez and Justin Eilers under the Elite XC banner.
Nakao is probably best known for his "fight" against Heath Herring at a K-1 event on New Year's Eve in 2005. The bout was ruled a no contest when Herring struck and knocked out the Japanese fighter during the pre-fight staredown after a bizarre attempt at intimidation from Nakao turned into a straight up kiss on the lips.
In Herring's defense, there's probably a lot of fighters out there who would have done the same thing. Nonetheless, Nakao will always be known as "the guy that kissed Heath Herring and got knocked out before the fight even began."
It was extremely weird to say the least.
Since that time Nakao has compiled a record of (3-1), including his most recent second round knockout of Jim York at another Sengoku event in May. He holds notable career wins over Don "The Master" Frye and Cabbage Correira.
Former Pride FC Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi will face off against Satoru Kitaoka for the vacant World Victory Road title in the night's featured bout. In addition, Strikeforce fighter Kazuo Misaki will battle three fight UFC veteran Jorge Santiago for the company's vacant middleweight strap.