The previously reported lightweight tilt between Satoru Kitaoka and Jorge Masvidal at Sengoku - "Eleventh Battle" is now official.
On Tuesday, Oct. 13, World Victory Road held a press conference at the Harajuku location of Gold Gym in Tokyo to announce two additional bouts for the upcoming Sengoku - "Eleventh Battle," scheduled for Nov. 7 at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.
Besides the Kitaoka vs. Masvidal bout, WVR also unveiled a Featherweight showdown between Shigeki Osawa and Ronnie Mann.
Kitaoka (25-9-9) returns to the ring after his demoralizing loss to Mizuto Hirota at Sengoku: "Ninth Battle" in his first title defense. Kitaoka tore through the competition in the Sengoku Lightweight Grand Prix last year to become the tournament winner. He rode the momentum to dispatch the floundering former PRIDE champ Takanori Gomi in less than two minutes to become the inaugural Sengoku Lightweight champion.
At the press conference, Kitaoka confessed that he had contemplated retirement in the wake of his defeat to Hirota -- not merely as a knee-jerk reaction to the loss but as a lucid decision. The predicament was short-lived, as the initial sting of defeat abated after about a week and he realized that MMA was his chosen path after all. He stated that he would like to avenged his loss to Hirota and reclaim the belt; however, he added that he is not fixated on the belt.
Regarding his opponent, Jorge Masvidal (18-4), he praised the American Top Team prospect as perhaps "his toughest opponent to date" and the "best non-Japanese Lightweight in Sengoku." At the conference, Masvidal's disparaging and combative pre-fight barbs toward Kitaoka were read out loud: Kitaoka easily deflected the "oompa loompa motherf**ker" and "I'll kick his ass" comments from Masvidal and declared that he will defeat Masvidal by submission like he has done to numerous opponents.
Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal comes off his stint in the inaugural season of the Bellator Fighting Championship. One of the two blue-chip entrants in the Lightweight tournament, along with the eventual winner, Eddie Alvarez, Masvidal ultimately went 2-1 with victories over Nick Agallar and Eric Reynolds. He has also gone 2-1 in his three previous appearances in Sengoku, with victories over Ryan Schultz and Seng Hwan Bang and controversial stoppage loss to Rodrigo Damm. In his last few fights, he has unveiled his development into a complete fighter, with improved cohesiveness of his MMA game. Against Reynolds, he picked up his first submission victory of the career to complement the 9 (T)KO finishes.
Shigeki Osawa (4-0), a fighter under the Sengoku Fighter Development program with prodigious amateur wrestling resume, is ready to climb the Featherweight hierarchy with a win over British prospect, Ronnie Mann (16-2-1). The ambitious amateur wrestling dynamo voiced his desire to slug it out with the Sengoku Featherweight champion, Masanori Kanehara, if he had his way.
His opponent, Ronnie Mann, last fought at Sengoku - "Eighth Battle" in the quarterfinal round of the Featherweight Grand Prix. In the bout, he succumbed to the tournament favorite, Hatsu Hioki in the first round via triangle choke. He made his Sengoku debut at Sengoku - "Seventh Battle" where he defeated the eighteen year-old ZST prospect, Tetsuya Yamada via unanimous decision in the preliminary round of the tournament.
Elsewhere, WVR PR Director, Takahiro Kokuho told the media that the current Sengoku Middleweight titleholder, Jorge Santiago, will most likely fight a non-title bout at the upcoming event. Santiago, Akihiro Gono, and Kevin Randleman, all slated for appearance at Sengoku - "Eleventh Battle," will have their opponents confirmed by the end of the week.
Regarding the monumental New Year's Eve event, Kokuho revealed that the Featherweight, Lightweight, and Welterweight title will be on the line at the event. As he previously alluded, he will pick the next Lightweight title challenger from the winners of Eiji Mitsuoka - Kazunori Yokota and Kitaoka - Masvidal bouts at Sengoku - "Eleventh Battle."
When asked about the future of the emerging Light Heavyweight, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal in Sengoku, Kokuho smiled with resignation and said that he thinks "(Lawal) probably won't come back to Japan," given his potential signing with Strikeforce.
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