Sengoku 9 fight card begins to take shape for Aug. 2; Akihiro Gono set to compete

World Victory Road recently announced more match-ups for its next event, Sengoku 9, which will take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on August 2.

The man who recently dispatched of Fedor Emelianenko (albeit in a Sambo competition), Blagoy Alexandre Ivanov, is set to make his mixed martial arts debut at the event. He will take on hard hitting Kazuyuki Fujita, who has faced off against Emelianenko himself back at PRIDE 26 in 2003.

In fact, Fujita came just a whisker away from putting the heavyweight deity away by rocking him with a thunderous right hook; however, in typical fashion, Emelianenko was able to quickly recover from the scare and later reclaim the bout with a rear naked choke.

World Victory Road also announced the acquisition of former PRIDE and UFC veteran Akihiro Gono. He is booked to make his debut for the promotion at Sengoku 9, but an opponent is unknown at this time.

Elsewhere on the card, Satoru Kitaoka, is set to defend his Sengoku lightweight title for the first time against Mizuto Hirota. Kitaoka won the championship by making short work of former PRIDE FC poster boy, Takanori Gomi, at Sengoku: "Rebellion" back in January, dousing the flames of "The Fireball Kid" with a fight-ending Achilles lock just 1:41 into the opening stanza

Hirota earned his shot at the gold by recently disposing of highly regarded lightweight standout, Mitsuhiro Ishida, ending the bout via technical knockout in the very first round earlier this month at Shooto Final Tradition.

And in what is being regarded as a title eliminator bout will be Kazuo Misaki who is set to do battle with judoka Kazuhiro Nakamura, with the victor going onto face Sengoku Middleweight Champion Jorge Santiago at a later date.

The pairings for World Victory Road's featherweight grand prix semifinals are also set to go down at Sengoku 9.

The often overlooked Michihiro Omigawa — who earned his spot in the semifinals by dominating and garnering a hard fought decision victory over L.C Davis and then firing off an impressive performance against Nam Phan — will have another tough test when he faces the always dangerous Marlon Sandro.

Sandro -- the Featherweight King of Pancrase -- has been impressive in his own right throughout the tournament, submitting Matt Jaggers at Sengoku 7 with a standing arm triangle. He then went on to defeat Nick Denis at his own game by knocking "The Ninja of Love" out with a well placed uppercut only 19 seconds into the opening stanza at Sengoku 8.

Tournament favorite and promotion poster boy Hatsu Hioki will collide with Masanori Kanehara. Hioki has been a dominant force thus far in the tournament, submitting American Top Team (ATT) jiu-jitsu coach Chris Manuel by triangle armbar at Sengoku 7. He then went on to submit formidable grappler Ronnie Mann with a triangle lock earlier last month. Kanehara has garnered decision victories over Jong Man Kim also Chang Sung to earn his spot.

The winners from both semifinal matches will meet in the featherweight tournament finals, which will be held later in the same evening.

Here is the current line-up for Sengoku 9:

Sengoku lightweight title bout:
Satoru Kitaoka (24-8-9) vs. Mizuto Hirota (11-3-1)

Sengoku featherweight grand prix semifinals:
Hatsu Hioki (19-3-2) vs. Masanori Kanehara (13-5-5)
Marlon Sandro (14-0) vs. Michihiro Omigawa (6-7-1)

Sengoku featherweight grand prix final:
Hatsu Hioki (19-3-2) or Masanori Kanehara (13-5-5) vs. Marlon Sandro (14-0) or Michihiro Omigawa (6-7-1)

Sengoku Gold Cup Lightweight (154lbs) Final

Sengoku Gold Cup Featherweight (143lbs) Final

Sengoku Gold Cup Bantamweight (132 lbs) Final

Non-tournament bout:
Kazuo Misaki (21-9-2) vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura (13-9)
Blagoy Alexandre Ivanov (0-0) vs. Kazuyuki Fujita (15-7)
Akihiro Gono (29-14-7) vs. TBA

Keep it dialed in to MMAmania.com for more information on this fight card as it develops.

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