Written by BabaluJack
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
DEEP will make history this Saturday as they present Cage Impact 2013 in Korakuen Hall, the first time the historic venue has hosted a caged MMA event. The card is stacked with familiar faces, rising stars and some potentially violent match-ups.
Korean prospect Doo Ho Choi headlines the event, he will take on former Lightweight King Of Pancrase Shoji Maruyama in a featherweight bout that is not expected to go the distance. Since his knockout win over former DEEP lightweight champ Nobuhiro Obiya in 2011, Choi has become one hottest prospects in the Japanese circuit, and he is only 22 years old. For the past two years, fans have watched him obliterate the likes of Mitsuhiro Ishida, Kosuke Umeda and Tatsunao Nagakura. It is no secret that Zuffa have been keeping their eye on the Korean featherweight, and if the rumors are true he will be UFC bound this year, so its pretty handy that this bout takes inside a cage. Maruyama, who is coming off a decision loss to featherweight champ Kazunori Yokota, is clearly the underdog here, despite being the more experienced fighter. However, he is never afraid of a brawl and will happily engage with Choi on the feet and a win over the 22 year old would be the biggest of Shoji’s career.
The co-main event has violence written all over it, ‘Mr DEEP’ Ryuta Sakurai will take on Yuji Sakuragi in a middleweight contest. Sakurai, a former middleweight champion, is coming off a win over Hiromitsu Kanehara last December and he will be hoping a win gets him a rematch with current middleweight champion Kazuhiro Nakamura. Sakuragi meanwhile will look bounce back from a defeat to Daiju Takase in December.
Kasuya Toida fought his last MMA fight this past April, the Shooto veteran announced his retirement straight after his decision loss to Seiji Akao. DEEP will hold a retirement ceremony for 36 year old submission specialist which will feature Toida facing Masakazu Imanari in an exhibition bout.
Elsewhere on the card sees the return of DEEP featheweight champion Kazunori Yokota and former lightweight Champion Katsunori Kikuno. Yokota will take on the unknown Kim OonKyeom while Kikuno takes on veteran Jutaro Nakao.
The other bout worth noting is a bantamweight affair between Yoshiki Harada and Koichi Ishizuka. DEEP boss Shigeru Saeki has raised the stakes in this one, whoever knocks their opponent within 30 seconds will take away 300,000 Yen.