The UFC was in Tokyo on Friday to promote its return to the Saitama Super Arena on 23 September and new opponents for Naoki Inoue and Pancrase strawweight champion Syuri Kondo.
As previously announced, UFC Fight Night Japan will be headlined by a rematch between former PRIDE Grand Prix winner and UFC light heavyweight champion Brazilian Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (24-10) and the No. 7-ranked knockout ace Ovince Saint Preux (20-10).
UFC Asia Pacific division vice president Kevin Chang was at the press event to announce the promotions progress in Japan and early bird ticket sales.
Saint Preux appeared for Q&A session telling fans that Shogun was a “great and famous MMA fighter in Brazil, America and Japan.” He added that in the lead up to the bout, he was not feeling the pressure.
“I don’t feel any pressure, but I’m guessing Shogun is feeling pressure for this fight,” he said. “I fought against him in Brazil, but Japan is also his home ground.”
Saint Preux even said he remains a big fan of Shogun, even after he got the a KO win. “I was a fan of him before our first fight and I am still a fan. Nothing has changed.”
Also at the press event was Naoki Inoue (11-0), fresh from winning his debut performance in Singapore, who said it was an honor to be fighting at the Saitama Super Arena.
“My immediate target is to win the next fight and to continue winning. My future target is to be a fighter who will be able to fight Demetrious Johnson and be the first Japanese UFC champion.”
It was also announced that Pancrase strawweight champion Shuri Kondo signed with UFC and she will fight at the same event. Her opponent is Chan Mi Jeon.
At Fight Night Japan, Ulka Sasaki will step into the Octagon fresh from his recent victory in Singapore to face number 5-ranked flyweight Jussier Formiga (19-5). A win over Jiu-jitsu black belt Formiga could propel
Sasaki into the top 5 rankings.
UFC Japan line-up includes:
· Mauricio Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux
· Naoki Inoue vs. Jenel Lausa
· Ulka Sasaki vs. Jussier Formiga
· Syuri Kondo vs. Chan Mi-Jeon
· Gokhan Saki vs. Luiz Henrique De Silva