According to Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, Japanese star / character Ikuhisa Minowa will face Behemoth British Brawler James Thompson at Dream 16:
On Friday, Thompson’s agent Ken Pavia told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani that both Minowa and Thompson have verbally agreed to the fight and will sign bout agreements shortly.
Not so fast. Middle Easy has a conflicting report, citing a Japanese website as source:
According to Japan’s Sponichi Annex, Satoshi Ishii returned from Los Angeles essentially begging FEG to put him on the Dream 16 card and it looks like he will have his wish. Satoshi Ishii will be fighting against the only guy in MMA that could properly pull off wearing red Speedos: 2009 Superhulk Champion, Minowaman. According to the report, the fight will officially be announced today, just three days before Dream 16.
True to form Japanese MMA booking remains just as farcical today as it was back in Pride Fighting Championships a decade ago. Not so much the match ups themselves – Japan aren’t going to tire of having one of their own David’s battle a foreign Goliath – but how the majority of fighters don’t seem to know they’re fighting until a few days out from the event.
Back to the match-up at hand, Minowa has had a lot of leglock success taking out giant opponents so a fight with Thompson makes sense. It’s also a good fight for Thompson who with a history of being knocked out viciously several times in his career, can thankfully just worry about the submission game in this one.
Minowa vs Ishii to me makes less sense, at least through my western eyes as I’d have thought Japan would want to build up their own fighters and not see them take each other out. Although, Ishii also has a size advantage over Minowa so I can see the reasoning on that side of things.
Whichever match is made, you can be assured Minowa will make his pro wrestling presence known this weekend and it’ll be interesting to see what Catch type techniques we might see out of Minowa as he continues to fly the flag for previous generation fighters like Sakuraba, Tamura and Funaki.