World Victory Road

Wiuff to Face Nedkov at “Eighth Battle”

Travis Wiuff. Photo courtesy of YAMMA Pit Fighting.

Seasoned veteran Travis Wiuff will return to action against undefeated Bulgarian light heavyweight Stanislav Nedkov at Sengoku’s “Eighth Battle” show on May 2 at the Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.

World Victory Road announced the fight during their weekly television show earlier today.

Wiuff has not competed since being upset by rising heavyweight prospect Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal at Sengoku’s “Fifth Battle” event in September. The loss snapped a nine-fight winning streak for Wiuff, who had defeated the likes of Ricco Rodriguez and Kazuyuki Fujita during that span.

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Partial Card Announced for “Eighth Battle”

Hatsu Hioki. Photo courtesy of TKO Championship Fighting.

World Victory Road today announced the second-round pairings for their inaugural featherweight grand prix tournament, which will continue at Sengoku “Eighth Battle” on May 2 at the Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.

Grand Prix favorite Hatsu Hioki, fresh off of his first-round win over Chris Manuel, will take on streaking British veteran Ronnie Mann, who last won a unanimous decision of Tetsuya Yamamda. Additional second-round matchups announced Tuesday include Michihiro Omigawa vs. Nam Phan, Masanori Kanehara vs. Chan-Sung Jung, and Marlon Sandro vs. Nick Denis.

Non-tournament bouts confirmed for the event will feature grappling wizard Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro returning to action against former light heavyweight King of Pancrase Keiichiro Yamamiya, former Deep lightweight champion Kazunori Yokota facing Leonardo Santos, and Chute Boxe product Michael Costa challenging Makoto Takimoto.

“Eighth Battle” will air live in North America on digital cable channel HDNet. The featherweight tournament is expected to conclude with a one-night, four-man bracket at a yet-to-be-announced show in July.

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World Victory Road is Doing Things Right

Takanori Gomi. Photo courtesy of World Victory Road.

At least in terms of matchmaking and signing fighters according to Jordan Breen:

WVR have made nominal attempts to snare some casual interest, using popular figures like the aforementioned Yoshida and Josh Barnett, playing into historical storylines with the use of Brazilian jiu-jitsu stars like Roger Gracie and Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro, and trying to build Japanese aces like Takanori Gomi and Kazuo Misaki. However, it’s extremely telling that the first-ever bout the promotion staged was Nick Thompson against Fabricio Monteiro—two rock-solid welterweights, both virtually unknown to non-hardcore fans.

These sorts of matchups typify Sengoku’s product. Despite the fact the promotion has yet to do anything even remotely close to turning a profit, WVR has consistently continued to craft an event that caters mostly to the most ardent cadre of MMA fans, the sorts with accounts to multiple MMA torrent websites, who find joy in live streams of D-level shows from the Midwest, and who are excited by the fact that WVR consistently chooses some of the most deserving-but-overlooked Japanese fighters, and unheralded-but-outstanding foreign talent to populate its card. For casual fans on either side of the Pacific, the charm is lost.

Short of signing a Japanese Olympian who, by dumb luck, happens to resound with the Japanese public, WVR has no hopes of making Sengoku profitable any time soon. WVR’s wealthy benefactors are essentially funding fight opportunities for MMA’s best unsigned and underrated talent. That sort of benevolence isn’t financially prudent, but it is invaluable to the sport; it is the mindset which allowed the likes of Satoru Kitaoka and Jorge Santiago to enter the spotlight from the fringes of their divisions, and will inevitably put a crop of great young featherweights on the map over the course of the year.

I couldn’t agree with Jordan more. International talent is prevalent in the promotion, but in terms of the Japanese scene, World Victory Road is essentially catering to the hardcore fan. Honestly, who isn’t thrilled that is finally getting a chance to prove whether or not his high ranking among featherweights is legitimate?

Will that way of going about business help “Sengoku” thrive though? Time will tell. WVR’s situation is similar to that of Affliction. Their reach in their location is large, but not nearly as big as their biggest competitor. (DREAM for WVR and UFC for Affliction obviously) The majority of fights put on by both feature names well known to MMA’s most ardent fans, but not those considered casual supporters of the sport.

However, both have impressive financial backing that will be able to have them last longer than the IFL or EliteXC did. If one finds success, chances are that the other will as well.

Four Fighters Added to Sengoku GP

L.C. Davis. Photo courtesy of the International Fight League.

Four additional fighters were named today as participants of World Victory Road’s first-ever featherweight grand prix tournament, which will begin at Sengoku VI on March 20 in Japan.

Joining the already-announced eleven competitors are Miletich Fighting Systems product and Affliction veteran L.C. Davis, reigning Shooto lightweight champion Hideki Kadowaki, and King of the Cage products Nam Phan and Matt Jaggers.

Fighters previously confirmed for the tourney include Hatsu Hioki, Marlon Sandro, Chris Manuel, Nick Denis, Ronnie Mann, Michihiro Omigawa, Masanori Kanehara, Tetsuya Yamada, Chang Son Jon, Shintaro Ishiwatari, and Seiya Kawahara.

The only non-tournament bout announced for Sengoku VI thus far is a heavyweight bout between rising prospect Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and current heavyweight King of Pancrase Ryo Kawamura. Another heavyweight bout between James Thompson and Jim York is also reported as being signed.


Evening News and Notes: UFC 94 Gate Numbers, Additions to Sengoku & More

Georges St. Pierre. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Here are your news and notes for the evening of February 16, 2009.


  • UFC 94, which took place on January 31 and featured George St. Pierre’s fourth-round TKO win over B.J. Penn, drew a sold-out crowd of 14,885 attendees for a live gate (money from tickets sold) of $4,290,020 according to the numbers released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission earlier today. Of those in attendance, only 1,263 received complimentary tickets. The event is expected to have garnered over 1 million buys on pay-per-view.

  • James Thompson and Nam Phan are set to be part of World Victory Road’s next upcoming “Sengoku” event on March 20 in Japan. According to MMA Junkie, Thompson, a longtime veteran of the British MMA circuit, will return to action at the show and an opponent is being finalized for him. Phan will be the latest addition to WVR’s inaugural featherweight grand prix says Nightmare of Battle. A formal announcement regarding Phan’s participation is expected shortly.

  • Karo Parisyan’s suspension for testing positive for a variety of painkillers has been temporarily upheld pending a review of his case. “The Heat” now has until the beginning of next month to file a request for a review. The Nevada State Athletic Commission made the decision at a public hearing this afternoon according to MMA Weekly’s “MMA Insider Blog. In other UFC news, Josh Neer has reportedly inked a new four-fight deal with the promotion.

  • Hioki, Four Participants Announced for Sengoku GP

    Hatsu Hioki. Photo courtesy of TKO Championship Fighting.

    World Victory Road has officially announced five participants for the organization’s upcoming inaugural featherweight grand prix, which is slated to take place at Sengoku VII on March 20 in Japan.

    Former TKO featherweight champion Hatsu Hioki was the most high-profile fighter named by the promotion today. Hioki, who briefly struggled in 2007 after a bright start to his career, has since gotten back on track, going undefeated in his last six fights. The longtime Shooto veteran last fought on November 29, scoring a first-round stoppage of Rumina Sato.

    In addition, current featherweight King of Pancrase Marlon Sandro, Chris Manuel, Nick Denis, and Ronnie Ushiwaka were also confirmed as competing in the tournament today. World Extreme Cagefighting veterans Chase Beebe, Alexandre Franca Nogueira, and Hiroyuki Takaya have all announced their participation in the tourney as well.

    Report: Silva vs. Emelianenko Possible for Next Sengoku Show

    Antonio Silva. Photo by Esther Lin.

    Former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva may be set to defy the California State Athletic Commission again as he is reportedly likely to face Aleksander Emelianenko in his next fight for World Victory Road’s “Sengoku” promotion.

    According to Fighters Only Magazine, the fight would take place as the second fight in Silva’s three-fight, non-exclusive deal with the Japanese promotion, but a date was not mentioned.

    Silva was suspended by the CSAC following his second-round TKO victory over the late Justin Eilers at EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business” show on July 26 after testing positive for the banned steroid, Boldenone. Silva was suspended and fined by the commission but opted to fight anyway, accepting a fight against K-1 and PRIDE Fighting Championships veteran Yoshihiro Nakao and defeating him at Sengoku’s January 4 show.

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    Quote of the Day: Gomi Contemplating Break After Recent Loss

    Takanori Gomi. Photo courtesy of World Victory Road.

    “I would like to return to training the basics, maybe take half a year or a year off and rebuild myself physically. Then, I’d like to take on some foreign fighters and, of course, Kitaoka. I started my own gym two years ago, and I’m happy that my students are getting stronger, but it’s not exactly top-class training with them. I’d like to get back to that top training.”

    - Former PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi tells that he is thinking about taking a break from fighting following his recent loss to newly-crowned Sengoku lightweight title holder Satoru Kitaoka, who handed Gomi his second straight loss this past Sunday.

    Santiago, Kitaoka Win Belts at Sengoku; Gomi Falls Again

    Jorge Santiago. Photo by Jon Swenson. Used with permission.

    Jorge Santiago and Satoru Kitaoka each claimed vacant belts in their respective divisions while former lightweight king Takanori Gomi continued his fall from grace, losing his second straight fight at World Victory Road’s “Sengoku No Ran 2009” event in Japan on Sunday.

    Santiago choked former PRIDE Grand Prix winner Kazuo Misaki unconscious in the third round of their fight and picked up his ninth straight win. Kitaoka meanwhile, was victorious in arguably the biggest fight of his career, quickly submitting Gomi with a heel hook just over a minute into the show’s main event.

    Complete results from the event:

    Jorge Santiago def. Kazuo Misaki - Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
    Satoru Kitaoka def. Takanori Gomi - Submission (Heel Hook)
    Sanae Kikuta def. Hidehiko Yoshida - Split Decision
    Antonio Silva def. Yoshihiro Nakao - TKO (Injury)
    Eiji Mitsuoka def. Sergey Golyaev - Submission (Armbar)
    Muhammed Lawal def. Yukiya Naito - TKO (Strikes)
    Mu Bae Choi def. Dave Herman - TKO (Strikes)
    Maximo Blanco def. Seigo Inoue - KO (Foot Stomps)
    Hidetada Irie def. Minoru Kato - TKO (Strikes)

    Silva Signs to Fight Nakao at “Sengoku VI”

    Antonio Silva. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.

    Former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva has formally accepted an offer to face K-1 and PRIDE Fighting Championships veteran Yoshihiro Nakao at World Victory Road’s “Sengoku VI” show on January 4 according to a report by

    Silva, who last scored a second-round TKO victory over Justin Eilers at EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business” show on July 26, will take on Nakao despite being suspended by the California State Athletic Commission following a positive test for the banned steroid, Boldenone, earlier this year.

    “Antonio has decided to fight, he really has no option,” Silva’s manager, Alex Davis, wrote in an email to “He’s innocent, he’s tried to prove it and it fell on unwilling ears, and he has financial commitments that to not meet would have serious consequences for him. In light of these, he has decided to continue his career in Japan until when and if his situation with the CSAC is resolved.”

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