By Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
HEROS Middleweight GP 2007 Bout: Caol Uno vs. Katsuhiko Nagata
HEROS Middleweight GP 2006 runner-up Caol Uno takes on 2000 Olympic wrestling silver medalist Katsuhiko Nagata. Caol Uno has a 23-9-4 record in MMA and trains out of Wajyutsu Keisyukai Tokyo with Keita “K-Taro” Nakamura. Katsuhiko Nagata has a 3-1 record in MMA and trains out of the American Kickboxing Academy with Jon Fitch. Uno is coming off a fairly easy submission victory over Ali Ibrahim at HEROS 8. Nagata comes off a hard fought decision victory over Isaiah Hill at K-1 Dynamite!! USA.
Nagata has vastly improved his overall MMA skill set in the past couple of months since training at American Kickboxing Academy, but cane he overcome the experience and skill of Uno though? Uno is a former Shooto Welterweight Champion and is known in the United States for his stint in the UFC, so he has been around for a while. Nagata has excellent wrestling skills and has improved his striking but he has never been tested on the ground with a good grappler like Uno, which should be his undoing. Look for Uno to take this fight to the ground and catch Nagata late in the first round with a submission.
Prediction: Caol Uno by submission in the first round.
HEROS Middleweight GP 2007 Bout: Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro
HEROS veteran Kazuyuki Miyata faces off with former Shooto Welterweight Champion Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro. Kazuyuki Miyata has a 4-4 record in MMA and is a freelance fighter out of Japan. Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro has a 18-1 record in MMA and trains out of Nova Uniao with Thiago Tavares. Miyata recently submitted Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill with a modified guillotine choke at HEROS 8. Ribeiro also claimed a submission victory at HEROS 8, catching Ryuki Ueyama with an armbar.
Miyata has tons of potential as an MMA fighter but he was never given a real chance to develop as fighter since he was thrown to the wolves right off the bat. Ribeiro is considered to be one of the best lightweights in the world but has never been given a chance to fight in the big show until now. Miyata has shown flashes of brilliance in his fights but has also shown his greenness as fighter in some areas and that’s where Ribeiro will exploit Miyata to win the fight. Miyata will once again be over his head with Ribeiro as he will be outclassed on the ground but where he could have an advantage is on the feet. Either way, I see Ribeiro getting this fight to the ground and submitting Miyata.
Prediction: Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro by submission in the first round.
HEROS Middleweight GP 2007 Bout: Hideo Tokoro vs. Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill
ZST and HEROS star Hideo Tokoro takes on Canadian fighter Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill. Hideo Tokoro has an 18-11-1 record in MMA and trains out of Reversal in Japan. Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill has an 8-6 record in MMA and trains out of the Revolution Fight Team with Kalib Starnes. Tokoro impressively submitted Brad Pickett at K-1 Dynamite!! USA. Gill comes off a submission loss to Kazuyuki Miyata ay HEROS 8.
This is a rematch of a fight that happened last year at HEROS 5, where Tokoro was knocked out by Gill with a knee. Since that fight Tokoro has gone 4-1 in MMA, while Gill has gone 0-3 with all of his losses coming by the way of submission. Tokoro was caught by knee as he shot in for a takedown but I doubt that lightning will strike twice. Gill has been on a real slide as of late and it should continue here. Look for Tokoro to avenge his loss and submit Gill to advance to the next round.
Prediction: Hideo Tokoro by submission in the first round.
The rest of the card is rounded out by a variety of super fights.
In a lightweight bout, Chute Boxe prodigy Andre Dida faces off with Cage Force veteran Artur Oumakhanov, who steps in as a late replacement.
Pride veteran Kiyoshi Tamura makes his HEROS debut against K-1 veteran Taiei Kin.
Former Shooto Lightweight Champion Alexandre Franca Nogueira looks for his first win in HEROS as he takes on ZST veteran Shuichiro Katsumura.
Dutch striker Melvin Manhoef takes on undefeated Japanese personality Bernard Ackah. Manhoef is a late replacement for Korean Judoka Yoon Dong Sik.
Former Japanese wrestler Katsuyori Shibata takes on the debuting Ralek Gracie, who is the newest Gracie to try his hand in MMA.