Satoshi Ishii (left): Taro Irei | Sherdog.com
Facing his second last-minute opponent in as many months, Olympic
judo gold medalist Satoshi
Ishii will take on pro wrestler Katsuyori
Shibata in an open-weight MMA bout at Monday’s 2010
K-1 World MAX Final in Tokyo.
Ishii’s original opponent, New Zealand-based kickboxer Antz Nansen,
was forced from their fight due to an undisclosed injury discovered
during pre-fight medicals. K-1 and Dream parent company Fighting
and Entertainment Group announced the switch at a Sunday afternoon
“I’m kinda wondering why I’m here, too,” said Shibata. “But when
you get the call to fight, you have to say, ‘yes, I want to do
The 30-year-old Kazushi
Sakuraba pupil said that he’d been notified of the match less
than 12 hours before the announcement, and had only woken up
moments before the press conference. Nonetheless, Shibata
reiterated that the decision to fight was not a difficult one.
“I would have negotiated more when they offered me the fight if I
was your typical martial artist, but I’m a pro wrestler,” Shibata
said. “We get in there and just fight.”
The accommodating Shibata even jokingly offered to fight Ishii
under K-1 rules -- an offer which the judoka chuckled at, before
promptly turning down.
As a pro wrestling fan, Ishii said that he was happy to be fighting
Shibata. He offered little in the way of pre-fight bluster, but
made assurances that he would give his best in the fight, despite
the sudden change in opponent.
On Sept. 25, in just the third pro bout of his nascent MMA career,
Ishii ground out a unanimous decision over 80-fight veteran
Minowa in a Dream 16 match finalized just three days before it
took place. His professional record currently stands at 2-1.
Shibata will also be making a quick turnaround, having competed at
Deep’s 50 Impact event on Oct. 24, where he was knocked out in
round one by Deep light heavyweight champ Yoshiyuki
Nakanishi. The loss extended Shibata’s current winless streak
to three, stretching back to New Year’s Eve 2009, when he lost to
another Olympic judoka, Hiroshi
Tony Loiseleur contributed to this report