by Benoit Barberousse for MMAWeekly.com
Nova União, home to such stalwarts as Vitor ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro, Robson Moura, and Marcos ‘Louro’ Galvao, will be sending the prospective Jose Aldo to face K.I.B.A’s Shoji, the latest addition to Pancrase’s Neo-Blood Finals card scheduled for July 27th in the historical Korakuen Town Hall arena in Tokyo.

Aldo sports an 8-1 record in MMA, his only loss coming by way of a rear naked choke to Luciano Azevedo, who gave Hayato Sakurai fits in his Pride Bushido debut. Aldo’s aggressive style should prove more than enough for the dangerous Shoji. Shoji, 4-1, has been for the most part a wrecking machine within the Pancrase ring.

His first-round knockout streak consisting of wins over Mi Nakajo, Yu Miyazaki, and Taku Aramaki came to a grinding halt when he met Wajyutsu Keisyukai’s Yuji Hoshino. Hoshino frustrated Shoji’s reckless style with a “be first” approach to the stand-up, evasive maneuvering, and constant bodylocks whenever in range, which usually ended with Shoji on his back, earning a decision win. Shoji has since been on the rebound with a violent victory over Kenji Takashige in the first round, but will have to prove he learned from his mistakes in the Hoshino loss, as Aldo will bring just as much aggression and skill.

Also scheduled for this card is the Welterweight King of Pancrase title bout between reigning champion Daizo Ishige of SK Absolute and Wajyutsu Keisyukai RJW’s Katsuya Inoue, former provisional champion. Ishige and Inoue first clashed for the title last summer. The Sambo proponent Ishige comfortably outstruck Inoue for the better part of three rounds, making especial use of the lead hook and right to the body to circumvent Inoue’s rather passive defense. As the fight began to come to its close, Inoue seemed to finally wake up from his daze, but it was proverbially too little, too late.

Since then, Ishige decisoned Kenji Arai in a December title defense in much the same manner, but recently lost to Britain’s Dan Hardy, a superior striker in all respects, by decision. Inoue stopped leglock specialist Takafumi Hanai in the second round of Cage Force’s inaugural show last November, but was stopped himself by Noboru Asahi student and Shooto 2005 Middleweight Rookie Tournament Finalist Yoshiyuki Yoshida, rebounding with his second win over Koji Oishi in May. Both men, thus, will enter the ring with losses to division upstarts and will undoubtedly look to prove their worth against one another on the 27th.

13th Neo-Blood Tournament Finals
Friday, July 27th 2007
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Tentative Fight Card (Card Subject to Change):

For The Welterweight King of PANCRASE Title
75KG, 3R 5M
Daizo Ishige (SK ABSOLUTE) vs. Katsuya Inoue (Wajyutsu Keisyukai RJW)

The 13th Neo-Blood Tournament Middleweight Final
82KG, 2R 5M
Rikuhei Fujii (Wajyutsu Keisyukai RJW) vs. Tomoyoshi Iwamiya (Takada Dojo)

The 13th Neo-Blood Tournament Welterweight Final
75KG, 2R 5M
Nao ‘Yoshirock’ Yoshida (Wajyutsu Keisyukai A-3) vs. Satoru Takadaya (Yoshida Dojo)

The 13th Neo-Blood Tournament Lightweight Final
69KG, 2R 5M
Yuichi Ikari (P’s Lab Tokyo) vs. Koichiro Matsumoto (Imada Dojo)

The 13th Neo-Blood Tournament Featherweight Final
64KG, 2R 5M
Yuichi Miyagi (P’s Real) vs. Koji Yoshimoto (AJ Gym)

69KG, 3R 5M
Jose Aldo (Nova União) vs. Shoji (K.I.B.A)

64KG, 2R 5M
Miki Shida (P’s Lab Tokyo) vs. Jong Jin Sok (Jin Sok Judo Dojo)