Sengoku: Sixth Battle, has the potential to be World Victory Road’s best event to date. Unfortunately, that’s not saying much. But with two grand prix finales and a few more fights with potential, let’s be optimistic.
Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal vs. Fabio Silva
Lawal has enormous physical potential, and even more excitingly he is a student of the game with a deep technical understanding of wrestling and an interest in developing the same depth in his MMA career. Silva is an untechnical banger who may not have a lot of heart and certainly doesn’t have a lot of gas. Lawal isn’t quite a refined striker, but he does have reach and power, and I think he can tag Silva on the feet enough to hurt him. Even if he gets out of sorts, Lawal can most likely drive Silva through the mat with a big takedown and ground-and-pound to a finish Lawal TKO round 1.
Sergey Golyaev vs. Takanori Gomi
I’m sorry, but is Gomi Kimbo now? The guy can legitimately scrap, and hasn’t lost a step since the time he was considered one of the top lightweights in the world, so why must we watch him dismantle random euros? Gomi skeptics will look at Golyaev’s submission-rich win record and say that he’s got a shot at choking out the melon-headed Gomi while he flops around on his back. To that I say, Golyaev is not Nick Diaz or Marcus Aurelio. Sergey is going to get bombed. Gomi KO round 1.
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Jorge Santiago
Santiago will finish what Cyborg should have. He’s better in every aspect of the game than Siyar, even if he has a bad chin and worse gas (although which is worse is debatable). Siyar is the weakest link in the tournament. Santiago is pretty well-rounded so it’s equally likely he gets a KO or a Sub, but he should finish, since his gas will get him in trouble should the fight go long. Siyar is open for leg-kicks, so maybe we could see a little of the old chop-em-down. Jorge Santiago by TKO round 1.
Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Yuki Sasaki
Sasaki is coming off a win in a terrible fight with Yuki Kondo. He’s a sharp grappler, but he’s not really a high-quality fighter. Nakamura, for all his faults, is. Nakamura doesn’t have a lot of finishing power in any part of his game, but he’s well-rounded, game, and has great staying power. He can control this fight with his boxing and escape any sub attempts, but it’s doubtful he’ll be able to finish. Nakamura by decision.
Predicted MW Finals
I’m Predicting Santiago and Nakamura to progress to the finals. Again, Nakamura’s staying power will see him to victory, since Santiago will fade and may even get tagged in exchanges and hurt. Nakamura doesn’t have the stopping power Jorge does, but he can survive Jorge’s attacks much better than Jorge can endure his. Nakamura wins the decision here and his career gets a gentle kick in the behind as he starts over as a legit fighter at 185.
Joe Doerksen vs. Izuru Takeuchi
Fun fact: Takeuchi is 1-2 against Nate Marquardt. Joe Doerksen is a talented grappler who’s lately been getting knocked out by anyone that hit him with some power. This fight is just going to be crap, but I don’t know if Doerksen even trains anymore. Izuru will get the upset simply by wanting it more. Izuru Takeuchi by decision.
Mizuto Hirota vs. Kazunori Yokota
I don’t know either of these guys well enough, so… Striker vs. Grappler, lets go with the grappler. Yokota by decision.
Satoru Kitaoka vs. Eiji Mitsuoka
If a ground control game could be described as ‘nasty’ or ‘menacing’ Mitsuoka would have it. Kitaoka is a good grappler, but Mitsuoka is capable of smothering that, like he did to Joachim Hansen, and will. Mitsuoka by decision.
Predicted Lightweight Finals
Whoever wins Mitsuoka vs. Kitaoka would beat eithr Hirota or Yokota. That means I’m expected a Mitsuoka tournament victory. Go boring guy!
Bang Seung Hwan vs. Jorge Masvidal
In my opinion, either of these guys could beat most of the lightweights still in the tournament. Masvidal got unexpectedly plonked by Rodrigo Damm, but he’s a talented and tough fighter, and Hwan has a great brawling style that’s very exciting. I think Masvidal is more seasoned and well-rounded, so I favor him in this fight, but if Damm can plonk you, Hwan definitely has a great shot too. This will be a tough, competitive fight. Masvidal by decision.
Moise Rimbon vs. Rogerio Nogueira
Can lightning strike twice? Rogerio is the victim of the biggest “anything can happen” moment in MMA history to this date, and he’s in a position to repeat that feat here. Rimbon is an athletic, powerful guy, and a pretty good fighter, but he has no name value and is seen as nowhere near Nog’s level. He should be a walkover submission win for Rogerio, but he has the power to spring another upset if the stars align against Nogueira as they did when he stepped into the ring with Sokoudjou. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira by submission round 2.