Maximo Blanco: Made in Japan
The situation at Nihon University eventually improved as Blanco learned the customs and moved up the seniority ladder, though he still does not regard that time as one of vast social growth. More than anything, it proved to be an investment period for his future prizefighting career. He went on to win international championships in freestyle wrestling in his home country of Venezuela, China and Azerbaijan before taking a bronze medal in the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Even though his goal at the time was to earn a berth in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Blanco’s eyes were fixed on mixed martial arts.
Like many Japanese fighters of his generation -- Katsunori Kikuno, Yoshiro Maeda and Satoru Kitaoka, to name a few -- “Maxi” was inspired to become a mixed martial artist after watching the monumental Tokyo Dome event, Colosseum 2000, which pitted Masakatsu Funaki against Rickson Gracie. With a solid high school and college wrestling career and impressive tournament showings throughout his amateur career, Blanco’s viability in the sport was unquestionable. His original trajectory, as devised by his high school coach, Akutsu, and his wrestling contacts, was to roll into a sponsored spot in Pride Fighting Championships after his participation in the 2008 Olympics. As history will attest, though, it did not exactly turn out as planned.
Sengoku announces its imminent collapse -- on their website!
Now just minutes ago on Sengoku's official website, the company released a report called 'Future activities of the emergency' which details how SRC lost their main sponsor, Don Quixote, and are now making plans to completely shut down. Here's a rough translation of the report.
SRC Report: Future activities of the emergency;
Emergency previous report (released February 1, 2011) As we know the history behind it, but we now are critical crossroads, we face a tough decision. Then, Don Quixote, who is also the parent company of our sponsor (the company below) from, SRC has been made official representations to the effect that withdrawing from the business...
Report: Sengoku Releases Jorge Santiago
Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago has been granted his release by the organization, MMA Fighting has learned from sources close to the promotion. Santiago's manager Malki Kawa of Authentic Sports Management wouldn't confirm or deny that Santiago is now a free agent when reached for comment, but additional sources say Santiago is looking to sign imminently with a major North American promotion. The 23-8 fighter won the Sengoku middleweight title in January 2009, defeating Kazuo Misaki via technical submission. In August, he defeated Misaki again in a fight many consider to be the best of 2010.
World Victory Road Postpones SRC 17 in Response to Media Negativity
Sengoku Raiden Championship promoter World Victory Road released a bizarre statement on Tuesday via their official Web site, announcing the postponement of SRC 17 due to an article written by a member of the Japanese press.
The article in question, a seven-page interview with SRC featherweight champion Hatsu Hioki written by Manabu Takashima in March's Gong Kakutougi, said that World Victory Road's end-of-year "Soul of Fight" event was poorly organized, with some fighters not signing their bout agreements until the day of the fight or even post-fight. This is not uncommon, especially in Japanese MMA, and barely deserves any attention.
"Sengoku: Soul of Fight" event debuts in two parts this month on HDNet.
World Victory Road's ambitious "Sengoku: Soul of Fight" event debuts in two parts this month on HDNet.
North American fans can catch the debut editions of the event on Jan. 14 and Jan. 21. The broadcast slot for the episodes is expected to be announced shortly.
"Sengoku: Soul of Fight," which featured a featherweight title fight between former champion Marlon Sandro and new title-holder Hatsu Hioki, took place Dec. 30 at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo.
Sengoku: Sandro Ignored Doctor's Orders & Fought Injured, Wants Hioki Rematch
Brazilian featherweight star Marlon Sandro has not endured an ideal end to his 2010 campaign. On December 30, he was unable to defend his Sengoku featherweight title when he dropped a unanimous decision to challenger Hatsu Hioki. The bout headlined the SRC: "Soul of Fight" event in Tokyo, Japan, last Thursday. It was a disappointing finish in a year where he was 2-0 with two brutal knockouts in a combined 47 seconds leading up to the meeting with Hioki. In an interview Friday morning with Sandro's coach and Nova Uniao head trainer Andre Pederneiras, he revealed there was plenty of reason to worry heading into the bout. "Marlon had a big infection in his right hand," he said. "The doctors said to him not to fight. He couldn't punch or grapple with his right hand for 20 days, but he decided to fight because it was the main event. He knows Sengoku needed him to do a great show."
12/30 Sengoku Fight Order Set, Sandro-Hioki Main Event
World Victory Road has announced the full fight order for their major 12/30 year-end event, and it features a whopping 28 fights in all. The 15 MMA fights planned are scheduled for the latter portion of the show, and the MMA main event will be Marlon Sandro vs. Hatsu Hioki for the Sengoku Featherweight Title. Kazuo Misaki-Mike Seal will be the co-main. TV details in the US are still being worked out but it's likely that some portion of the event will air tape-delayed (not live) on HDNet.
Dan Hornbuckle Off Thursday's Sengoku Event (Updated)
Dan Hornbuckle's nickname might be "The Handler", but it appears even he can't handle the flu. The illness has forced him off Thursday's all-day Sengoku event in Japan, where he was to have faced Ryo Chonan in an MMA fight. Taisuke Okuno is the replacement. Okuno participated in the Sengoku Welterweight GP earlier this year, reaching the semifinals before losing. His career mark is 10-5-2, all 5 losses have been decisions.
UPDATE: Apparently it's not flu. Bellator wouldn't let him take the fight. (Link above updated with additional details)
Megumi Fujii: New Life After A Loss
Before ending up on the losing end of a split decision to Zoila Frausto in the final round of Bellator’s 115-pound women’s tournament, Megumi Fujii was owner to one of the most impressive undefeated records in MMA. While she’ll tell you that she’s dealt with losses in previous athletic pursuits like judo, sambo, and submission grappling, since her August 2004 MMA debut, Fujii had never dealt with a loss in the way that most fighters in our sport inevitably have to.
Megumi Fujii reflects on her first career defeat in MMA, and discusses her return to action at Sengoku "Soul of Fight" on December 30th.
SEC 12/30 Lineup Final With Hornbuckle-Chonan & Fujii-Fujino, No Gono
The fight card for World Victory Road's "Sengoku: Soul of Fight" event is set with the addition of two new bouts. The final additions are Dan Hornbuckle vs. Ryo Chonan and top female fighter Megumi Fujii taking on Sengoku debutant and part-time pro wrestler Emi Fujino. Officials also announced that Akihiro Gono is off the event due to injuries. TV details in the US are still being worked out some portion of the event is expected to air on HDNet, but it likely will not be live.
WVR Adds 4 Fights To Year-End Event
World Victory Road today announced 4 more fights for their massive year-end event on December 30 in Tokyo. They included a pair of cross-promotion bouts with Sengoku's Maximo Blanco vs. DREAM lightweight Won Sik Park and former Sengoku champ Masanori Kanehara vs. DREAM featherweight Yoshiro Maeda. Additionally, Roxanne Modafferi meets fellow Strikeforce vet Hitomi Akano, and Misaki Takimoto takes on former kickboxer Amy Davis. This now brings the MMA portion of the event up to a planned 15 fights. The organization also today announced a Muay Thai fight between Fabiano Cyclone and Andrew Pekc, who replaces Ryuta Noji.
Sengoku Adds 2 Fights To Year-End Event
World Victory Road today announced 2 more MMA fight's for it's year-end "Sengoku: Seal Of Fight" show on 12/30 in Tokyo. The added fights are Kazuo Misaki vs. Mike Seal and a title fight featuring Sengoku Featherweight Champion Marlon Sandro defending the title against popular fighter Hatsu Hioki, now also the Shooto Lightweight (143) Champion. ONly the Sengoku title will be on the line.
Sengoku Adds Herman vs. Nakao To 12/30 Event
World Victory Road today added a heavyweight MMA fight to it's 12/30 all-day event, as top American prospect Dave Herman will face Japanese veteran Yoshihiro Nakao. "Soul of Fight" is an all-day sports festival that features MMA fights, kickboxing bouts, grappling matchups and other competitions. The slate of MMA fights, which also includes WVR's welterweight grand prix finale and Asian bantamweight GP semifinals, is the main attraction. This will be Herman's 2nd Sengoku fight, his first was a 2009 loss to Mu Bae Choi, his first career loss. This will be one of at least 10 MMA fights on the event card.
DREAM, Sengoku To Run Separate Year-End Events This Year
DREAM and World Victory Road's Sengoku promotion again will offer year-end fights. They just won't team up for one single event. Officials from both Japanese promotions recently revealed tentative plans for the shows with "World Victory Road Presents: Soul of Fight" on Dec. 30 and "DREAM Dynamite!! 2010" taking place Dec. 31. DREAM's takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The show likely will air live on HDNet. Meanwhile, WVR's show takes place at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo. It's likely to air on HDNet, possibly on delay. No fights have been announced, but in addition to MMA fights, officials have hinted at possible kickboxing and grappling matches on the all-day card. DREAM hasn't announced anything for their event yet, but Melvin Manhoef participation is expected according to the It's Showtime promotion.
Sengoku Raiden Championship 15 adds Takahashi vs. Lee, Yokota vs. Cobb
World Victory Road's Sengoku Raiden Championships 15 lineup has two new additions.
Officials today announced a light-heavyweight bout between light heavyweights Kazuo "Yoshiki" Takahashi (28-24-3 MMA, 0-2 SRC) and Chang Seob Lee (3-5 MMA, 0-1 SRC), as well as a lightweight bout of Kazunori Yokota (11-3-3 MMA, 5-1 SRC) vs. UFC vet Brian Cobb (16-6 MMA, 0-0 SRC).
Sengoku Raiden Championship 15 takes place Oct. 30 at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo and airs via HDNet in North America.
The event also features the semifinal round of the Sengoku welterweight grand prix and the quarterfinals of the Asian bantamweight grand prix.
Santos vs. Blanco, bantamweight tourney pairings set for SRC 15
The fight card for World Victory Road's upcoming Sengoku Raiden Championship 15 event is taking shape with the addition of a fight between lightweights Leonardo Santos (8-3 MMA, 2-1 SRC) and Maximo Blanco (6-2-1 MMA, 4-1 SRC).
WVR officials today announced that fight, as well as the pairings for the quarterfinal round of their Asian bantamweight tourney.
Sengoku Raiden Championship 15 takes place Oct. 30 at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo and airs via HDNet in North America.
Sengoku's bantamweight quarterfinals set with Inoue, Shimizu, Nakahara, Tamura
With today's announcement of four new participants, the field is set for World Victory Road/Sengoku's Asian bantamweight grand prix. As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) reported this past week, the Japanese-based promotion announced the four Sengoku fighters who compete at Sengoku 15's tourney continuation: Wataru Takahashi (12-13-4 MMA, 2-0 SRC), Shoko Sato (9-3 MMA, 2-0 SRC), Jae Hyun So (6-8 MMA, 2-0 SRC) and Shintaro Ishiwatari (9-3-3 MMA, 2-0 SRC).
Jorge Santiago wants to fight again in the U.S.
Sengoku officials require him to defend his belt once every six months, but that doesn't mean Santiago wants to wait that long. He's open to proving his talents once again in the U.S., particularly in Strikeforce, where he won a single-night four-man tournament in November 2007 shortly before making his way overseas.