“Lion” Takeshi angles for successful debut on foreign soil

On Saturday night, Japan’s Takeshi “Lion” Inoue (21-8) fights for Singapore-based Rebel Fighting Championship, in a headlining 145-lbs tilt against top Australian phenom, “Ruthless” Rob Lisita (12-5).

Having faced the likes of Cole Miller, Caol Uno and Hatsu Hioki among others, there’s always been an air of excitement and interest whenever Takeshi’s name is announced for a fight card. His unorthodox way of fighting and his meticulous approach to fights has captivated audiences for over a decade.

And, as Rebel FC CEO Justin Leong puts it, Takeshi’s style earns him victories.

“He’s an analytical guy, who’s in the same reign as either George St.Pierre or Anderson Silva,” Leong said. “In his methodical nature, he can tell you exactly how he’s going to win his fights. When he fought Caol Uno, he told me that he knew it was either going to be an overhand left or a high kick. That means, subjectively speaking, he pretty much runs a fight a thousand times in his head.”

Takeshi’s undoubtedly a Japanese MMA icon in every sense of the word, but perhaps, his first true test is yet to materialize: fighting on foreign soil.

Although the 33-year-old has soaked in the limelight for the better part of his career, Rebel FC 1: Into the Lion’s Den will see him venture into his first MMA bout outside of his native homeland, Japan. Suffice to say, add that to the task of snapping his current three-fight losing skid and well, his scrap with Lisita won’t be any simpler.

“It was an easy choice for me (to fight for Rebel). Rebel FC is very sincere and I had a really good first impression of them,” Takeshi told FightSportAsia.com, through an interpreter. “And since this was their first event, I wanted to contribute. So here I am.”

Rob Lisita (left) faces off against Takeshi Inoue (right) at a press conference held in Singapore.

Rob Lisita (left) faces off against Takeshi Inoue (right) at a press conference held in Singapore.

While most fighters will tell you that nerves are to be expected when fighting in a foreign territory, Takeshi, a former two-time Shooto champ, believes his experience of 29 contests will count for something come fight night. In fact, he’s relishing the opportunity of a new challenge.

“This is my first fight out of Japan, and I’m really excited about it. I’m not nervous at all,” he said, in a matter-of-factly tone. “As a Japanese fighter, this is not my first time fighting a foreigner, so there aren’t any added incentives or nerves for me. I’m just seeing Rob (Lisita) as another fighter, and I can’t wait to face him.”

It would be criminal, though, to look past a fighter like Lisita. The Australian has been ranked as one of the region’s top contenders, and viewed by many as a future UFC or Bellator MMA combatant. Moreover, his no-nonsense, guns-blazing and forward style has garnered passionate fans from around the globe.

Lisita’s way of fighting draws comparisons with Bellator MMA vet War Machine, but that, in Takeshi’s point of view, isn’t going to stop him from stealing the spotlight on December 21st.

“Rob (Lisita) is a powerful fighter and I would like nothing more than to finish him,” Takeshi said, as a smile drifted upon his face. “My style is totally different from his, actually. I’ll be doing the same thing that I do in all my previous fights. I’m going to observe him, and once he comes out aggressive, I’ll try to be flexible by using feints and tricks to beat him. And then I’m going to come out victorious.”

“Both Rob (Lisita) and I always bring it in our fights, so fans can expect to see lots of heat, power and animosity. It’s going to be spectacular.” he concluded.


Rebel FC 1: Into the Lion’s Den goes down on December 21 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Featuring seven yet-to-be-announced Amateur line-ups on the undercard and five professional main card contests on a twelve bout fight card, Rebel Fighting Championship’s inaugural spectacle is set to bring about something new and different to the Asian MMA landscape.

With Takesi-Lisita set as the main event, a Lightweight battle, meanwhile, ensues between Singapore’s own Syafiq Samad (2-0) and Korean Top Team’s Gyo Pyung Hwang (3-3) in the co-main event slot.

“TUF: Brazil” competitor Marcos Vinicius (20-5-1) returns to action for the first time following his three-fight stint in the UFC’s octagon as he collides with fellow promotional newcomer, and Legend FC vet, Taiyo Nakahara (13-7). Elsewhere, Doo Hwan Kim (4-1) takes on Philippines’ Chris Hofmann (0-0) in a 205-lbs encounter.

Do check out this exclusive documentary on Takeshi vs. Lisita below, and get acquainted with the fighters!

*Photos Credit: Sigmund Seah


Thinesh John is a Singapore-based MMA journalist. You can check out some of his work over on MMASucka.com. Follow him (@ThineshJohnMMA), and be sure keep up with the latest MMA news from FightSportAsia.com on Twitter (@FightSportAsia) and Facebook


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Categories: Asian MMA, Featured, Interview, Japan, MMA, Rebel FC, Singapore

Author:Thinesh John

20, Asian MMA nerd in Singapore.


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