LAS VEGAS – Three of Japan’s most recognizable MMA stars were in attendance during UFC 94 with Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii and DREAM stars Norifum “Kid” Yamamoto, and Caol Uno among the 14,000-plus fans in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last night.

Ishii, Yamamoto, and Uno were all shown on camera during the non-televised portion of the card and were identified by UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, who indicated that the three were on hand to cheer their countryman Akihiro Gono. Gono lost a unanimous decision to former UFC welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch in the final fight contested before the PPV telecast.

In addition to supporting Gono, it appears the three might have been present for the event for additional reasons. According to a report by CBSSports.com’s Todd Martin, UFC President Dana White stated during a post-fight press conference that the promotion has an interest in signing all three.

The revelation that the UFC has interest in Ishii is nothing new. Ishii, who won a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympic games in Beijing while representing Japan, was flown to Las Vegas by the UFC in December for UFC 92. While in town, he spent time at several local fight gyms, most notably Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture. After the event, the promotion issued a press release announcing it had begun negotiations with the rookie heavyweight.

However, the news that White is interested in both Yamamoto and Uno is a new development. Yamamoto has not competed in over a year due to injury but is considered one of Japan’s biggest MMA stars who has also gained mainstream notoriety. A former standout amateur wrestler, Yamamoto has competed as both a bantamweight and a featherweight.

White’s public flirtation with Ishii stirred up a negative reaction with many Japanese fight fans and if the UFC is able to formally sign both, it could launch a full-scale promotional war. However, it still remains to be seen whether either will sign with the UFC, as Ishii still has not formally signed a contract and White also reportedly acknowledged that Yamamoto still has two fights on his current contract.

If signed by Zuffa, Yamamoto would not only give the promotion a drawing card in Japan but could be also promoted in high-profile fights against current WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres and or former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber.

Uno previously competed in the UFC from 2001-2003, compiling a record of 3-3-1 with notable victories over Yves Edwards and Din Thomas and notable losses to Jens Pulver and B.J. Penn. Now 25-11-4 in a pro MMA career that began in 1996, Uno is still considered one of Japan’s top lightweight competitors.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Video: Headliner Dominick Cruz arrives to UFC workouts on crutches

  • 23 days ago
  • 26 views

BOSTON – Fans and media in attendance at UFC Fight Night 81 open workouts got a bit of a scare from headliner Dominick Cruz.Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

UFC Fight Night 81: Dillashaw vs. Cruz Gate and Attendance from Boston

  • 21 days ago
  • 14 views

UFC Fight Night 81: Dillashaw vs. Cruz gate and attendance figures from the TD Garden in Boston, Mass. read news >>

Report: UFC Targeting Rashad Evans vs. Shogun Rua for UFC on Fox 19

  • 11 days ago
  • 7 views

Brazilian news outlet Combate reported on Wednesday that the UFC is looking to pit Rashad Evans against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on the UFC on Fox 19 event on April 16. read news >>

Scott Coker: Bellator targeting summer for Paul Daley-Josh Koscheck rematch

  • 10 days ago
  • 3 views

It appears Bellator is done playing games when it comes to booking a rematch between welterweights Paul Daley and Josh Koscheck.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

UFC on FOX 18 draws announced attendance of 10,555 for $818k live gate

  • 8 days ago
  • 0 views

Saturday’s UFC on FOX 18 event drew an announced attendance of 10,555 and a live gate of $818,000. UFC exec Dave Sholler announced the figures at the post-event press conference, which MMAjunkie atte read news >>

UFC on FOX 18: Johnson vs. Bader Gate and Attendance from New Jersey

  • 8 days ago
  • 2 views

UFC on FOX 18: Johnson vs. Bader gate and attendance numbers from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. read news >>

Manager: Miocic targeting spring or summer meeting with champ Werdum

  • 5 days ago
  • 5 views

The UFC hasn’t committed to a fight between heavyweight Stipe Miocic and champ Fabricio Werdum, but the top contender hopes to get his title shot in spring or summer.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Dana White Targeting Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones 2 for April

  • 4 days ago
  • 5 views

It's not going to happen at Madison Square Garden as UFC officials had hoped, but it looks like Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones 2 will take place in April. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 82: Hendricks vs. Thompson Gate and Attendance from Las Vegas

  • a day ago
  • 1 views

The Ultimate Fighting Championship held their fourth event of 2016, UFC Fight Night 82: Hendricks vs. Thompson at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday. read news >>