After announcing his intent to compete in mixed martial arts last October, there’s finally a rough date in place for Satoshi Ishii’s first fight – Sengoku’s New Year show. And while it’s not exactly the most relevant heavyweight bout in the universe, it’s one that should do huge business for Sengoku and could help breathe a tiny bit of much needed life into the Japanese MMA scene: Satoshi Ishii vs Hidehiko Yoshida.
Japanese people are gaga over Olympic athletes and both guys have gold medals in Judo, from 1992 for Yoshida and 2008 for Ishii. That’s why the country should go apeshit over this fight. Personally, I just see it as a 40 year old who’s best days are way way way behind him versus a newb, but that’s just because I’m interested in contenders and rankings while Japan is obsessed with Olympians and tentacles.
I’ll let you figure out the tentacle thing on your own, but here’s some metrics on Yoshida: he was one of the stars during PRIDE’s glory days and two of his previous New Years fights drew over 32 million eyes a peice. So to say Sengoku is hoping this upcoming New Years show goes well is an understatement. There’s even word that they’ll be changing the name of their company at the same time, hopefully to something more appropriately silly and capitalized like PRIDE, HERO’S or DREAM.