Saturday, January 1, 2011

Proof that Japanese MMA Is Still Dominant in the Sub-Lightweight Divisions (Video)

Japanese MMA promotions might be having problems balancing their checkbooks these days, but their flyweight, bantamweight, and featherweight divisions are still a force to be reckoned with. Second tier promotions Shooto and Pancrase still own their fair share of the world rankings in the otherwise internationally stagnant flyweight division. Premiere Japanese promotions Sengoku and Dream still boast powerful featherweight rosters that include top names like Hatsu Hioki (WVR), Masanori Kanehara (WVR), Marlon Sandro (WVR), Hiroyuki Takaya (Dream), and Bibiano Fernandes (Dream) among others. Additionally, in 2011 expect Dream to implement a bantamweight division with a grand prix to determine it's champion.

In the wake of the UFC-WEC merger that is still taking form as we enter the new year, I predict the fight for Japanese MMA's survival will rest on the performance of it's healthy lower weight divisions. Performances in Japan's New Year's shows were evidence of their sustained dominance and a precursor of what to expect in the coming year. Here's proof:

Hatsu Hioki made Marlon Sandro's WVR Featherweight title reign a short one.

Maeda vs. Kanehara: Crazy comeback? Definitely! Early stop? Probably.

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