Predictions: DEEP Cage Impact 2013

DEEP will return this weekend with “Cage Impact 2013” from the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

The card will feature bouts of old, and new. With names like Choi, Maruyama, Yokota, Nakao, Sakurai, Kikuno, Hasegawa, Seigo, Kaneko and many more set to put on a show.

Katsuya Toida will have his Retirement Ceremony at the event where he’ll look to put on an entertaining Exhibition Bout against Masakazu Imanari.

Also on the card Yoshiki Harada will take on Koichi Ishizuka in what’s been decribed as a “Bounty Match” by Shigeru Saeki (DEEP President). The rules are simple, both fighters have 30 seconds to finish the fight, if successful the winner will take home 300,000 Yen.

Doo Ho Choi vs. Shoji Maruyama

In the Main Event Choi will look to extend his record to an impressive 11-1. With four of his last five wins coming by way of stoppage, you can see why he’s undoubtedly one of the best prospects coming out of Asia. Given both styles I see them meeting in the center of the cage, and Choi outworking Shoji before stopping him in the third round.

Maruyama is a dangerous opponent for anyone to face, and can win on any day. He’s coming off a loss to the DEEP Featherweight Champion (Yokota) and will look to get back on winning ways for another title shot. Shoji is an aggressive fighter and will look to put the pressure on “The Korean Superboy” right off the bat. Whatever the result it’s going to be a fun fight watch.

Pick: Choi

Kazunori Yokota vs. Kim Wun Gyeom

DEEP Featherweight Champion Yokota will face off with virtually unknown Kim. Kazunori is currently riding a five-fight win streak, and hasn’t lost in three years. I don’t see how you can go against Yokota in this one, he’s far too experienced and skilled for Kim who’s being thrown into the deep end. Kazunori should pretty much dominate from start to finish.

Kim is a grappler and that’s it. He’s making his debut, and is going up against the Champion of the division. I expect nothing less than a citizen’s arrest type of performance to get this one to the ground, if he can’t then it’s only a matter of time before he gets finished on the feet.

Pick: Yokota

Ryuta Sakurai vs. Yuji Sakuragi

In what could turn out to be Fight of the Night all depends on what Sakurai shows up. Will it be the brawler, or will he play it safe and take the one-dimensional Sakuragi down to control the action. If he decides to stand then he has the skills to test Yuji’s chin, but with that said Ryuta’s chin isn’t in peak condition either.

Sakuragi as mentioned before is a one-dimensional fighter that hasn’t really evolved his game. He does have a lot of power in his hand as his record shows with 12 of his 14 wins coming by way of KO, but as soon as he’s taken down he doesn’t have any offense or defense in stopping submission attempts.

Pick: Sakurai

Katsunori Kikuno vs. Jataro Nakao

Nakao’s long career is winding down, and he isn’t taken any easy fights as he steps in with Kikuno this weekend. He’s been in there with everyone, and is a serious vet of the game. Jataro hasn’t been finished in six years, but he’s going up against a younger, faster, and much more aggressive striker in Katsunori. If Nakao can get this one to the ground, then by all means he can pull off the upset.

Kikuno will be the stronger and faster of the two. He should be able to keep this one upright before landing that one big shot to end Nakao’s night. The longer the fight goes the more Jataro will slow down, and leave openings for Kikuno to capitalize on. This should be an easy fight for Katsunori, but you can’t afford to make mistakes against Nakao.

Pick: Kikuno

Hidehiko Hasegawa vs. Yuta Kaneko

Not many people have heard of Kaneko, but he’s undefeated at 6-0-1 with five of those wins coming by way of KO. This will be his toughest test to date. Yuta will look to keep the distance and find his range, and from there start to light Hidehiko up on the feet.

Hasegawa is on somewhat of a skid, but this is a winnable fight for the veteran. If he can close the distance and put Kaneko on his back then he may pull off a submission, or just completely control him on the ground. Hasegawa can’t afford to let Yuta find his rhythm, if he does then Kaneko will sit into that role nicely and pick him apart.

Pick: Kaneko

Seigo Mizuguchi vs. Jong Wang Kim

This will be a rematch from last year where Seigo lost by Submission (Scarf Hold Armlock) in just 46 seconds into the first round. I expect nothing to change here as he throws wild haymakers before Jong ties him up, and dumps him on his back. From there it’s going to be a quick win for Kim.

Jong won’t play around on the feet, he’ll look to close the distance and get the fight to the ground ASAP. His ground game will more than likely overwhelm Seigo, and he may bait him into a submission by setting it up with some GnP.

Pick: Kim

Rest of the card:

Yoshitomo Watanabe < Yuki Okano
Yoshiki Harada < Koichi Ishizuka
Shunsuke Inoue > Atsushi Yamada
Takahiro Kawanaka < Sanshiro Nakakura
Ryo Sakai < Big Body
Roy < Harushige Shinokawa
Kota Ishibashi > Hayato Suzuki
Yusaku Fujisawa < Tatsuya Tomozane

Unfortunately DEEP still haven’t got any streams for their events, but they are working on it for the future. So keep an eye out for the up and coming months.

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Categories: Asian MMA, DEEP, Japan, MMA

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