By Benjamin Bieker
With an UFC card going on this weekend, sometimes it is hard to remember that there are other fights going on around the world. Pundits may say the Asian MMA scene is dead, but Shooto and Rings, two of the longest running promotions, are putting on cards this weekend. So, lets take a look at what fights from those cards may produce the next big thing the UFC is destined to sign.
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Leonardo Laiola vs. Sergio Rios – Lightweight
Laiola’s record currently sits at 8-1, and even though his opponent, Rios, has only won two fights that does not make him any less tough. Sometimes, losses make a fighter better and that is what it did to Lailoa, because he only finished one fight before the loss. Since the loss, he has only taken one fight to decision in four fights. Rios is also a finisher having beaten both of his opponents by triangle choke. So, this should make for an intriguing matchup.
Shooto: Shooting Disco 21
Daiki Gojima vs. Kota Onojima – Bantamweight
Although this fight technically takes place in the bantamweight division since both fighters come in around 132 lbs they could easily make the drop to 125, and that is the division they could find themselves in if they are signed by the UFC. Gojima lost his debut fight by knockout, but since that time has picked up four straight wins in four consecutive Shooto events. Onojima opened his career at a 6-1 pace but has hit a rough spot as of late having taken a draw and loss in his last two bouts. Onojima will be the toughest test of Gojima’s career since he is the only fighter with a winning record that Gojima has ever faced.
Rings: The Outsiders
Naoyuki Kotani vs. Vitali Krat – Lightweight
Russia sure has been producing some great fighters as of late, and Vitali Krat could be the next big name to come from the country. In six straight fights he has won them all, but what makes them impressive is the way he has finished them. He opened his career with a four second knockout, and no other fighter has reached the third round with him. Kotani, on the other hand, is a veteran of nearly 50 fights at just the age of 31. Although a record of 30-10-7 is not that great, Kotani has won his last ten fights which includes only one decision victory.
What are your thoughts?