Fight-By-Fight: Sengoku 4 Preview

August 22, 2008
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Lightweight Bout:
Takanori Gomi vs. Pang Sung Hwan

Takanori Gomi and Pang Sung Hwan at Sengoku 4

Takanori Gomi and Pang Sung Hwan at Sengoku 4

Former Pride lightweight champion Takanori Gomi faces off with DEEP lightweight champion Pang Sung Hwan. Gomi comes off a stoppage victory over UFC veteran Duane “Bang” Ludwig at the inaugural Sengoku, while Hwan knocked out Team Grabaka lightweight Kazunori Yokota at DEEP 35.

Gomi is still considered to be one of the best lightweights in the world, but he has taken a rather long amount of time off and is just starting to get back into the groove of fighting on a regular basis again. Hwan is one of the better Korean fighters on the scene and his surprising win over Yokota proved that he is the real deal.

Gomi has the advantage on the feet with his crisp powerful combinations that have made him one of the best lightweights in the world. Hwan has some pop in his strikes too, but he may look to put Gomi on his back and out of his element. More than likely the fight will be decided by which fighter can take command of the fight on the feet and pressure his opponent into making a mistake.

Hwan is no joke, but he is going to be in over his head when he takes on Gomi, who has already proven himself to be one of the best in the world. Expect this fight to be fought on the feet with both fighters getting their licks in, but Gomi connecting with a powerful combination, putting a end to Hwan’s night.

Sengoku Lightweight Tournament Bout:
Eiji Mitsuoka vs. Rodrigo Damm

Eiji Mitsuoka and Rodrigo Damm at Sengoku 4

Eiji Mitsuoka and Rodrigo Damm at Sengoku 4

Shooto veteran Eiji Mitsuoka takes on former Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Rodrigo Damm in first round bout. Mitsuoka comes off a submission victory over wild Korean striker Kwang Hee Lee at Sengoku 2, while Damm won a controversial stoppage over American Top Team fighter Jorge Masvidal at Sengoku 3.

The winner of this fight could very well move on to win the whole tournament, being that both fighters could be considered as favorites. Both fighters have been on a nice streak of victories and come into the tournament with lots of momentum.

Both are ground fighters, but Damm has an advantage when it comes down to submissions, while Mitsuoka has just a slight advantage in ground positioning due to his experience and wrestling ability. It’s more or less even on the feet as both fighters have average stand-up, but Damm might be improving as seen with his last fight.

Either one of these fighters could win the whole tournament, but only one will get a chance as matchmaking has doomed one of them to be out right off the bat. This is going to be a tactical fight with both fighters taking advantage of the other’s mistakes. Expect Damn to go for submissions, while Mitsuoka tries to grind out a decision. Damm has shown a knack for getting the job done, so expect to see him submit Mitsuoka late in the fight.

Sengoku Lightweight Tournament Bout:
Clay French vs. Satoru Kitaoka

Satoru Kitaoka and Clay French at Sengoku 4

Satoru Kitaoka and Clay French at Sengoku 4

Midwest wrestler Clay French faces off with Pancrase veteran Satoru Kitaoka in a first round bout. French comes off a submission victory over Jameel Massouh at the first Adrenaline MMA show, while Kitaoka submitted K-1 Max veteran Ian Schaffa at Sengoku 2.

French has gone undefeated since losing to Shinya Aoki almost two years ago in Pride Bushido 13. Now he makes his return to Japan against one of Aoki’s training partners. Kitaoka has also been undefeated since moving down to lightweight, as it seems to be his ideal weight division.

French has the edge on the feet with better technique and aggressiveness, while on the ground he’ll have the edge in wrestling. The big question is whether or not he’ll go to the ground because that is where Kitaoka is most dangerous with his array of submissions that could end the fight in an instant.

The key to the fight will be which fighter can get the fight where they want it, if French is able to use his wrestling to keep it on the feet or if Kitaoka can use his judo technique to get to the ground. Eventually the fight is going to hit the ground and Kitaoka isn’t going to waste any time in working for a submission. Look for him to lock one in after some struggling on French’s part.

Sengoku Lightweight Tournament Bout:
Ryan Schultz vs. Mizuto Hirota

Ryan Schultz and Mizuto Hirota at Sengoku 4

Ryan Schultz and Mizuto Hirota at Sengoku 4

International Fight League lightweight champion Ryan Schultz faces off with Cage Force lightweight champion Mizuto Hirota in a first round bout. Schultz comes off a hard earned decision victory over Deividas Taurosevicius at what turned out to be the final IFL show, while Hirota knocked out Tomonari Kanomata at Cage Force 6 to become the new champion.

This is an interesting clash of styles with Schultz being a brawling wrestler and Hirota being a technical striker. One thing is for certain in this fight; there will be fireworks whether on the feet or on the ground when these two champions meet.

Schultz has the edge on the ground, being a skilled wrestler and having more experience in submissions. Hirota still looks like a fish out of water when he fights on the ground. Hirota has the edge on the feet with his crisp striking technique. Schultz is purely aggressive on the feet, which could play against him in this fight because that could get him caught in an exchange.

Expect these two to start the fight brawling, but as Hirota starts getting the better of Schultz expect the Team Quest fighter to play it smart and take the fight to the ground where he’ll start to rain down punishment. One thing that will be hard to do is finish Hirota, who has shown a willingness to survive till fights end, so look for Schultz to pound out a decision.

Sengoku Lightweight Tournament Bout:
Kazunori Yokota vs. Bojan Kosednar

Former DEEP lightweight champion Kazunori Yokota takes on European fighter Bojan Kosednar in a first round bout. Yokota comes off a knockout loss to Pang Sung Hwan at DEEP 35, while Kosednar also comes off a knockout loss against Paul Daley at Cage Warriors: Enter the Rough House 7.

With both fighters coming off losses, they will be eager to get back on the winning track while moving on to the next round of the tournament. Out of all the fighters these two are the least likely to win the whole thing, so expect them to have a chip on their shoulder as not much attention is being paid to either one.

Yokota has the edge on the ground with his judo background and he has shown that he is more then competent on the feet to throw down. Kosednar will need to keep the fight on the feet as that’s where he has his best chance at winning the fight against a possibly gun shy Yokota, who is recovering from his first knockout loss.

Plain and simple, it seems that Sengoku is trying to build up Yokota by giving him an easier opponent than the rest of the tournament participants. Expect him to be smart and take the fight down to the ground, where he will use positioning to pound out a convincing decision.

Middleweight Bout:
Frank Trigg vs. Makoto Takimoto

Frank Trigg and Makoto Takimoto at Sengoku 4

Frank Trigg and Makoto Takimoto at Sengoku 4

UFC veteran Frank Trigg takes on longtime Pride veteran Makoto Takimoto. The fight will comedown to which Takimoto shows up to fight. If it’s the Takimoto that beat Murilo Bustamante, then Trigg is going to have a long night. But if it’s the Takimoto that showed up against Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, Trigg will have an easy go of it. Trigg should be able to wrestle down Takimoto and pullout a decision victory, but don’t be surprised if Takimoto does the same.

Heavyweight Bout:
Pawel Nastula vs. Yang Dong Yi

Pawel Nastula and Yang Dong Yi and Sengoku 4

Pawel Nastula and Yang Dong Yi and Sengoku 4

Olympic judo gold medalist Pawel Nastula faces off with Korean wrestler Yang Dong Yi. Nastula hasn’t fought in almost two years, since losing to Josh Barnett and being suspended for steroid use. He will make his return and is going up against an inexperienced Yi. Look for Yi to have a moment or two in the spotlight, but Nastula will be able to lock in a submission after he dusts off some ring rust.

Heavyweight Bout:
Moise Rimbon vs. Peter Graham

French kickboxer Moise Rimbon makes his Japanese debut against K-1 veteran Peter Graham. These two should trade on the feet for a bit, but Rimbon will soon realize that he isn’t anywhere near as good as Graham on the feet and he’ll take the fight to the ground. From there, he’ll use Graham’s inexperience against him and lock in a rather simple submission to come out the winner.

Heavyweight Bout:
Kazuo Takahashi vs. Valentijn Overeem

Japanese journeyman Kazuo Takahashi takes on Dutch journeyman Valentijn Overeem. This is a rather interesting fight as neither fighter has exactly been lighting the world on fire over the past couple of years. Whoever can impose their will on the other will be the one to win the fight. As of late, Takahashi has looked the better of the two, so expect him to finally break through and get a win.

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