Though he was slated to face Scott Lighty in a featured light-heavyweight matchup at this Friday’s Strikeforce Challengers event at the Stockton Arena in Sad City, Olympic gold-medalist judoka Satoshi Ishii has been forced to withdraw from the fight. Strikeforce announced this morning that due to the recent natural disasters in Japan, Ishii was unable to acquire a visa permitting him to leave his homeland in time for the event. Stepping in for him will be Lorenz Larkin, an undefeated knockout-artist who is currently 9-0 as a pro, following a 7-0 amateur career.
The Stockton Challengers show — headlined by a lightweight meeting between Justin Wilcox and Rodrigo Damm — would have been Ishii’s first MMA appearance in the United States. After losing his MMA debut in a decision to Hidehiko Yoshida on New Year’s Eve 2009, Ishii went 4-0 in 2010, with notable victories over Ikuhisa Minowa and Jerome Le Banner. Maybe when his visa issues are sorted out, a judoka vs. judoka bout between Ishii and fellow Strikeforce light-heavyweight Rhadi Ferguson is in order.