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Sengoku 9 preview and analysis for August 2 event

World Victory Road is set to present Sengoku 9 taking place this Sunday on August 2 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

For fans in the North America it will be aired on HDNet via tape delay next Friday August 7, at 10:00pm ET.

The event will of course host the conclusion of the promotion's featherweight grand prix, with the semifinals and finals all set to go down in the same night.

First up will be Tournament favorite and promotion poster boy Hatsu Hioki who will collide with fellow countryman Masanori Kanehara.

Hioki earned his way into the final four by firing off two impressive submission victories in his preliminary bouts, with both wins coming in the first round.

He firstly submitted American Top Team (ATT) prospect Chris Manuel (6-2-2) with a slick fight ending triangle armbar this March at Sengoku 7. Then just 2 months later in a quarterfinal bout Hioki locked on a triangle choke that forced UK grappler Ronnie Mann (16-2-1) to tap at Sengoku 8.

His opponent Kanehara reached the semifinal stages by garnering decisions over a couple of Korean imports, firstly in Jong Man Kim (21-9-2) and then he would score another decision in a closely contested battle with hard hitting slugger Chan Sung Jung (6-1) this May.

On the other side of the brackets will be featherweight King of Pancrase Marlon Sandro taking on Judo player Michihiro Omigawa.

Since making the drop from lightweight to featherweight Omigawa has found much success.

He entered the tournament with an abysmal record of 4-7-1, taking on L.C. Davis (13-2) at Sengoku 7 this March many expected Omigawa to be trounced, though he had a uber impressive outing by dominating Davis en route to a unanimous decision victory.

He then took on the dangerous Nam Phan (15-6) in the tournament quarterfinals and once again proved his worth with another impressive display and by garnering a TKO stoppage over his foe.

Though Omigawa’s unlikely success story could come to an end when he faces off with undefeated Marlon Sandro who has also been on a tear throughout this tournament himself.

The Nova Uniao product in his round of 16 bout put Matt Jaggers (11-5) to sleep by putting him in a standing arm triangle which Jaggers was unable to escape from and ended up getting choked unconscious and crashing to the mat, gasping for air. Sandro then made short work of Nick Denis by scoring a knockout with a well placed uppercut just 19 seconds into the bout.

The victors of the semifinals will then be given time to rest and will meet in the tournament final near the end of the show.

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 in May at Shooto: "Final

Also in non tournament action will be a middleweight showdown between Kazuo Misaki and Kazuhiro Nakamura, in a contest that apparently doesn’t have much upside for Misaki.

That’s because should Nakamura win he will get a crack at Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago (21-7), while should Misaki win he will not. He is also apparently fighting without pay and all of his purse will go to charity.

The reason? Well that all stems from a traffic incident involving Misaki earlier this year, which lead to the stipulations of the bout.

2008 Combat Sambo World Champion Blagoi Ivanov is set to make his mixed martial arts debut at the event against hard-hitting Japanese mainstay Kazuyuki Fujita.

Ivanov is likely best known to mixed martial arts fans as the man who dispatched of Fedor Emelianenko (albeit in a Sambo competition), last year. His opponent Fujita has faced off against Fedor himself back at PRIDE 26 in 2003.

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

Ivanov is certainly not easing in slowly to mixed martial arts — he appears to be jumping into the deep end by debuting against the likes of Fujita and is also scheduled to take on Aleksander Emelianenko in
September. We won’t have to wait much longer to see if he sinks or swims.

Here is the official 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 Featherweight reserve bout:
Matt Jaggers (11-5) vs. Chang Sung Jung (6-1)

Sengoku Gold Cup Lightweight Final:
Ikuo Usuda (4-0) vs. Koji Ando (2-0-2)

Sengoku Gold Cup Featherweight Final:
Toru Harai (6-2) vs. Shigeki Osawa (2-0)

Sengoku Gold Cup Bantamweight Final:
Takeshi Numajiri (1-1) vs. Ryosuke Komori (3-1)

Non-tournament bouts:
Kazuo Misaki (21-9-2) vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura (13-9)
Eiji Mitsuoka (15-6-2) vs. Clay French (16-5)
Akihiro Gono (29-14-7) vs. Dan Hornbuckle (17-2)
Blagoi Ivanov (0-0) vs. Kazuyuki Fujita (15-7)
Yoshihiro Nakao (7-2) vs. Choi Mu Bae (9-3)

For more on Sengoku, click here.

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