At DEEP 71 Impact in Tokyo in February 28, 2015, Ken Hasegawa will drop to the middleweight division to take on warhorse Ryuta Sakurai.
Hasegawa has had a stellar two years in MMA. The 27-year old has cemented his prodigy status by winning the DEEP Openweight title and defending it twice against Hirohide Fujinuma and then Middleweight Champ Kazuhiro Nakamura. Hasegawa was then signed with Titan FC on AXS television in the US and made his successful debut with a Unanimous Decision over Matt Thompson, a fighter with three times as many fights as him.
Now Hasegawa has racked up an undefeated record of 9-0-1 and will drop to a more career-definining weight of 84 kgs. His first fight in the division will be against longtime division kingpin Sakurai.
Sakurai first won the DEEP Middleweight title ten years ago, during a period where he was showcased in both DEEP and PRIDE. During the last two years, he’s also moved into Poland’s KSW with a revenge match against Mamed Khalidov that was unsuccessful, and going 2-2 in the process. He is now 24-19-6, having fought the best in the division to get there. Hasegawa’s break into the middleweight division won’t be an easy one.
K-Taro is back at welterweight to face Nagisa Katahira in a battle of old prospect versus new. K-Taro has dominated top competition in the division and at lightweight for eleven years, with only one recent loss coming at PXC in a surprisingly un-K-Taro-like performance. Meanwhile, Katahira has only lost once in his short 3 year career, and his recent decision over fellow prospect KAZ set him up for the opportunity to swim in the deep end of the adult pool with K-Taro.
Also announced on the card, hot flyweights Haruo Ochi and Kota Ishibashi will definitely put on a thriller in their assault on the rankings. DEEP stalwart Shigetoshi Iwase will take on prodigy Naoto Miyazaki, former title challenger to Satoru Kitaoka.
In a women’s flyweight match, returning legend Satoko Shinashi will take on young and developing Emi Yamamoto in a very lopsided matchup. Ken Hamamura won the Gladiator belt, now he comes back to the DEEP to face fellow gatekeeper Luiz. Kickboxing killer Juri Ohara will take on hard-hitting Yusaku Fujisawa and someone will end up face planting.
DEEP 71 Impact
February 28, 2015
Ken Hasegawa 長谷川賢（フリー）
Ryuta Sakurai 桜井隆多（Ｒ－ＢLOOD)
Keita Nakamura 中村Ｋ太郎（Ｋ太郎道場）
Yoshiyuki Katahira 片平なぎさ（ＣＢ ＩＭＰＡＣＴ）
Haruo Ochi 越智晴雄（パラエストラ愛媛）
Kota Ishibashi 石橋幸太（総合格闘技ＤＯＢＵＩＴＡ）
Shigetoshi Iwase 岩瀬茂俊（T-BLOOD）
Naoto Miyazaki 宮崎直人（総合格闘技津田沼道場）
Satoko Shinashi しなしさとこ（フリー）
Emi Yamamoto 山本絵美（毛利道場）
Yuki Okano 岡野裕城（マッハ道場）
Kimihiro Eto 江藤公洋（和術慧舟會ＨＥＡＲＴＳ）
Ken Hamamura 濱村健（ハニートラップ）
Juri Ohara 大原樹里（KIBAマーシャルアーツクラブ）
Yusaku Fujisawa 藤澤優作（禅道会）
Kazuyuki Numajiri 沼尻和之（マッハ道場）
Tamotsu Hayashi チャンタモ（ハニートラップ）
Hirotaka Miyakawa 宮川博孝（ＡＬＬＩＡＮＣＥ/ＴＥＡＭゆでたまご）
Michito Abe 安部路人（漢塾）
Yuki Takano 高野優樹（和術慧舟會ＨＥＡＲＴＳ）
Daisuke Tatsumi 巽大祐（ＮＥＸ）