Antoni Inoki’s IGF promotion signalled its intention to become a major player in the Japanese MMA market by announcing a series of 2014 events. The first is booked for the Ryougoku Sumo Hall on April 5 and will be headlined by a heavyweight match-up between Satoshi Ishii and Philip De Fries.
Primarily a wrestling promotion, IGF has been regularly putting MMA fights on cards since New Year’s Eve 2012, and has plans to put on more actual fights this year. De Fries vs. Ishii will be just one of a number of fights on the card at Inoki Genome Fight 1, which will also feature some pro wrestling bouts.
Ishii (11-2-1) is unquestionably IGF’s main star and has won seven straight fights since losing to Fedor Emelianenko on New Year’s Eve 2011. He faces an interesting examination of his credentials as a top heavyweight prospect when he takes on De Fries (10-3).
After going 2-3 in a UFC stint, De Fries fought on IGF’s last New Year’s Eve event and submitted Strikeforce veteran Brett Rogers with a rear naked choke in the opening round to set up the April 5 date with 2008 Olympic Judo gold medallist Ishii, who is the organization’s current heavyweight champion.
Inoki Genome Fight 1 will be the first of five events the organization is putting on this year although two of them are set to primarily feature wrestling. IGF’s founder Inoki is himself a former wrestler and elected politician who currently sits on the House of Councillors in Japan.
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