On Thursday, the winners at Sengoku 10 gathered at a hotel in Tokyo for post-fight press conference to discuss the Sept. 23 "Tenth Battle" in Saitama.
After a night full of highlight reel-worthy finishes, the fighters joined the World Victory Road (WVR) officials to reflect upon their performance and share their plans for immediate future. The WVR officials, including the PR director, Takahiro Kokuho, elaborated on the New Years' Eve show and the name change for the promotion that were unveiled during the course of Sengoku 10 on Wednesday.
According to promotion officials, Sengoku will be rechristened as "Sengoku Raiden Championship." The New Year's Eve show, which will be held at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, will inaugurate the new promotional banner.
Kokuho explained that the new name has been inspired by Raiden, a legendary sumo wrestler from approximately 220 years ago. The reference reflects the ongoing Japanese feudal motif: "Sengoku" is derived from an era in Japanese history from the 15th to 17th century that was characterized by nearly constant military conflict.
No start time has been booked yet for the NYE show, but Kokuho stated that the show could start in the evening and run into 2010. Rumors have circulated lately that Sengoku has been negotiating for a new television deal with one of the major terrestrial broadcasting network.
Asked about the possible head-to-head competition with Fighting and Entertainment Group's K-1 "Dynamite" event, Kokuho explained that WVR is not concerned about the competition. New Year's Eve constitutes a prime television slot in Japan, as people across the nation tune in for special end-of-the-year events such as concerts and comedy shows.
Memorable comment delivered from the fighters in attendance:
Maximo Blanco: "Hi, this is Maxi. I ate too much after my fight last night and am suffering from nasty stomachache. I am willing to fight anybody, and will not cut myself any slack during fight preparation, regardless of who I face. I wish to become an even better fighter for my next opponent."
Dan Hornbuckle: "If I am going to fight for a title, I want to do it during a big event, like the New Years show -- I am willing to sacrifice my birthday and Christmas in order to prepare for the event."
Sengoku 11 continues to take shape:
Current Featherweight King of Pancrase and Sengoku Featherweight Grand Prix semi-finalist, Marlon Sandro (14-1) has been added to the line-up for Sengoku 11, which is scheduled to take place on Nov. 7 at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. WVR has confirmed Sandro's squaring off against the Cage Force Featherweight title holder, Yuji Hoshino (16-7-7).
Sandro last fought at Sengoku 9 against Michihiro Omigawa in the semi-final round of the Featherweight tourney. After three rounds of action, Sandro appeared the likely victor in the eyes of many; however, he managed to sway only one of the three judges, while the other two ruled the bout a draw. Pressed to choose the winner who would advance to the final round of the tournament, the two judges gave the nod to Omigawa. Consequently, Sandro suffered a split decision loss that punctuated his perfect record.
He hopes to bounce back from the first loss of his career against Pancrase/DEEP/Cage Force veteran, Yuji Hoshino. A product of Wajyutsu Keishukai, the current/former home to numerous standouts such as Caol Uno, Yushin Okami, Eiji Mitsuoka, and Hideki Kadowaki, Hoshino brings a wealth of experience competing in multiple weight classes. He holds a record of one win and a draw against the former Sengoku Lightweight champion, Satoru Kitaoka.
Before settling in the featherweight division, he has fought tough competition in higher weight classes against the likes of Kitaoka, Nate Marquardt, Shonie Carter, and Chris Lytle. Currently on an eleven-fight undefeated streak, Hoshino captured the Cage Force Featherweight crown last year, upon winning the promotion's Featherweight tournament: He defeated current DREAM featherweight, Akiyo Nishiura, and highly touted Shooto veteran, Antonio Carvalho, en route to the championship.
Big Foot coming to America?
In an exclusive interview with the Brazilian MMA site, Brasil Combate, Antonio "Big Foot" Silva disclosed that his agents/managers have been negotiating with UFC. With regards to his suspension by California Athletic Commission and the status of his license to compete in the US, Silva stated that his penalty officially came to an end on July 26. He had not incurred any additional punishment during the month-long period following July 26, and thus ready to negotiate with any American organization.
Silva explained that nothing specific has been fleshed out with regard to the proposal from UFC. For now, he wants to honor his current contract with Sengoku and then carefully ponder the best option available.
Discussing the state of UFC's heavyweight division, Silva expressed his dislike for Brock Lesnar and mocked him as a "clown." He described Lesnar as a one-dimensional fighter whose only weapon is takedown, complemented by ground-and-pound. Asked who would win between Lesnar and Fedor Emelianenko, Silva guffawed and spurned Lesnar's chance of victory.
A member of the famed American Top Team, Silva credits his teammates and trainers for his improvement in grappling. Though rightfully focused on MMA, he is open to competing in boxing, jiu jitsu, and/or submission grappling, as he believes the experience will ultimately benefit his MMA career.
In the wake of his victory over "Big Jim York" at Sengoku 10, he stated that he is willing to fight anyone Sengoku chooses, as long as he fights for the promotion. At the same time, he mentioned that he would like to face Josh Barnett, if possible.
For our complete recap of "Tenth Battle," click here.