TOKYO -- Three fighters missed weight for Hidehiko Yoshida’s retirement event, Astra, to be held at the 14,471-seat Nippon Budokan on Sunday.
A tired and haggard-looking Jorge Masvidal came in half a kilogram (1.1 pounds) over the 70-kilogram limit, while his opponent, ZST standout and UFC veteran Naoyuki Kotani, came in at just 100 grams (0.2 pounds) over as well.
Billed as a man who has defeated Dream’s welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis, Cage Rage veteran Che Mills also came in overweight by 400 grams (0.9 pounds) for his 77-kilogram bout against Dream and Deep veteran Yuya Shirai.
Promoter J-Rock claimed that all three men would be given time throughout the rest of the day to make the weight for Sunday’s event.
In the open-weight main event , Yoshida student Kazuhiro Nakamura weighed in at 211 pounds, while his mentor, a 1992 Barcelona Olympics gold medalist weighed in at a whopping 249.1 pounds.
“I was a bit surprised, because I didn’t know it would be that much of a difference. I suppose that speed will be my advantage in the ring,” said Nakamura of the 38-pound disparity.
Yoshida joked about his weight advantage, chuckling while claiming, “I’ve been stuffing my belly all the way up to this fight. I’ll do my best tomorrow to capitalize on the weight.”
Jokes aside, however, Nakamura and Yoshida maintained that they would still aim to topple each other in the Olympic judo gold medalist’s final MMA bout.
“I want a final fight where everyone who comes will be satisfied, and one that will be satisfying to me as well,” said Yoshida. “This is my retirement bout, but it’s still a fight where I’m thinking, ‘will I kill or be killed?’ I’m going to put in all the strength I have, and try my best to have an effervescent retirement afterward.”
Nakamura also pledged his best efforts.
“I commented before in my previous fight that it was about ‘kill or be killed.’ In this bout, my only intention is to kill my opponent,” said a determined Nakamura.
Fellow Yoshida Dojo stablemate and featherweight standout Michihiro Omigawa was brief in his pre-fight comments, reiterating that a victory in Sunday’s bout was his only option.
“Tomorrow is my mentor’s retirement bout,” said Omigawa. “He taught me that a fight without victory is meaningless. I thus hope to have a fight tomorrow where I will win and excite the crowd.”
World Extreme Cagefighting and Dream veteran Micah Miller’s comments also subtly indicated the significance behind the featherweight tilt with Omigawa.
“I’d like to thank Astra for considering me for this event, and for giving me such a tough opponent in Omigawa,” said Miller. “I feel like I have a lot of prove tomorrow, and I look forward to doing it.”
A returning Enson Inoue -- facing kickboxing convert Antz Nansen in a 209.4 pound catch-weight bout -- gave a brief retrospective comment on his 2008 arrest for possession of marijuana before promising to once again leave everything in the ring.
“A year and a half ago, I was arrested by the police,” said Inoue. “Being able to step into the ring to fight (Sunday) makes me quite happy. I'm going to give everything in tomorrow's fight. I’ll leave nothing behind in that ring.”
The DHC-sponsored event is set to air live on Skyperfect TV pay-per-view in Japan. Despite J-Rock’s hopes to make the card available worldwide, though no international broadcast plans are in place.
Komori (62 kg / 136.7 lbs) vs. Takumi
Murata (61.9 kg / 152.3 lbs)
Kenji Nagai (83.6 kg / 184.3 lbs) vs. Yusuke Sakashita (83.8 kg / 184.7 lbs)
Seigo Mizuguchi (122 kg / 267 lbs) vs. Baru Harn (121 kg / 266.8 lbs)
Tatsunao Nagakura (64.8 kg / 142.9 lbs) vs. Akihiko Mori (64.8 kg / 142.9 lbs)
Yuya Shirai (76.9 kg / 169.5 lbs) vs. Che Mills (77.4 kg / 170.6 lbs)
Daisuke Nakamura (152.8 lbs) vs. Ganjo Tentsuku (69.5 kg / 153.2 lbs)
Naoyuki Kotani (70.1 kg / 154. 5 lbs) vs. Jorge Masvidal (70.5 kg / 155.4 lbs)
Ryo Chonan (76.8 kg / 169.3 lbs) vs. Jung Hwan Cha (76.1 kg / 167.8 lbs)
Enson Inoue (92.9 kg / 204.8 lbs) vs. Antz Nansen (94.5 kg / 208.3 lbs)
Michihiro Omigawa (65 kg / 143.3 lbs) vs. Micah Miller (65 kg / 143.3 lbs)
Hidehiko Yoshida (113 kg / 249.1 lbs) vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura (95.7 kg / 211 lbs)
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