Preview for Sengoku: Ninth Battle

Posted by Matt Giancarlo on July - 31 - 2009 with Comments Off on Preview for Sengoku: Ninth Battle

This Sunday will feature an action packed fight card at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.  That fight  card is Sengoku: Ninth Battle.  Now why in the world would there be an article published on about the Japanese promotion Sengoku?  On that event, the card will be graced with two of the Chicagoland’s top fighters in their division, as Dan Hornbuckle and Clay French will one again return in front of the Japanese audience to take action. 

The fights:
Dan Hornbuckle vs Akihiro Gono
Akihiro Gono comes into this fight with a lot of experience.  Not only does he have over 50 fights, but he has fought in Pride FC, the UFC, Pancrase, and Shooto.  In his long career he has squared off against opponents such as recently John Fitch, Dan Hardy, Tamdam McCrory, Denis Kang, and holds a submission victory over Gerard Mousasi.  He will be a crowd favorite in the fight, representing his home country at the event. 

Dan Hornbuckle, a local favorite with a bright future has his biggest and most important opponent yet.  Defeating Gono will put him on the map as a top 20 Welterweight prospect, and will have both the UFC and Strikeforce considering a contract for him.  With an impressive 17-2 record, Hornbuckle is looking to redeem his Sengoku debut loss when he lost via triangle choke against Xtreme Couture fighter Mike Pyle. 

With the majority of Gono’s wins and losses by decision, it will a tough fight to finish on Hornbuckle’s part.  Gono managed to take Jon Fitch to a decision, so Hornbuckle has to use his reach and size against Gono in this fight by scoring points with the judges, or choosing his strikes wisely to score a knockout.  The grappling side of the fight can go either way, although the advantage due to experience goes to Gono.  If Gono can get the fight to the ground and stay on top, the most likely outcome with be a decision victory to his credit.  However, if Hornbuckle can damage Gono on the feet and stay there, enough to rock his opponent leading to a TKO, or even just a convincing decision factor, Hornbuckle will take the victory. 
Clay French vs Eiji Mitsuoka
Eiji Mitsuoka has a record of 15-6-2 with wins over fighters such as Joachim Hansen and Gleison Tibau.  He has 9 submission victories to his name, and has showed a very high level of submission grappling in his fights.  He is also the winner of a Japanese reality show similar to the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter but for Pride FC, Pre-Pride.

Clay French has trained with the legendary Matt Hughes at HIT Squad, and is now training at Gilbert Grappling and MTC.  He is a King of the Cage vet and holds wins over Mac Danzig and Jameel Massouh, and has also faced off in Pride FC against Shinya Aoki.  He is a strong folkstyle wrestler who wrestled for Eastern Illinois, where many other Chicago fighters have wrestled at such as Louis Taylor, Kenny Robertson, and even one of the coaches at the time, Matt Hughes.  With a record of 17-5, French fell short in his previous fight at Sengoku where he was submitted via ankle lock at 31 seconds of the first round.  Now this fight will give him the chance to redeem himself.
With Mitsuoka being the superior submission artist, Clay Fench needs to utilize his wrestling base and his physical strength to avoid submissions.  There is very little doubt that this fight will hit the ground.  After it does, its all up to Clay French to avoid all chokes, arm, shoulder, and leg locks that will be attempted by Mitsuoka.  While doing so, French must push the pace and fight as a “grinder” against Mitsuoka, which would be constant action and submission defense, similar to one of French’s training partners also in the lightweight division – Clay Guida.  If French can avoid submission and still be on the offense, he will take a decision.  If not, Mitsuoka could catch him in a choke or a joint lock, winning by submission. 

Check back after the event for results on the entire fight card.  Good luck to both Dan Hornbuckle and Clay French for taking the steps that are needed in order to build themselves a successful career.



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