ZST 44 takes place on February 22, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan with a main event homecoming for first Welterweight Champion Yojiro Uchimura. Plus, grappling mayhem as Flyweight Champ Ryo Hatta defends against Seiichiro Ito.
Uchimura has been a journeyman as of late, but he got his start with the regional promotion much like other stalwarts Naoyuki Kotani, Shunichi Shimizu and Nobutatsu Suzuki. He ascended to win the inaugural Welterweight Championship in 2007.
In 2011, the Ingram representative renewed his career outside of Zst in The Outsider, Pancrase, VTJ, and Rebel FC. In Pancrase, he found moderate success, and his most recent bout with the promotion saw him take Sengoku Champ Marlon Sandro to a decision draw at the mammoth Pancrase 20th Anniversary event.
Uchimura then experienced disaster at the hands of KO whiz Hiroyuki Takaya as he succumbed to punches quickly in the first. Then, chosen as one of eight for Rebel FC’s Featherweight Tournament, Uchimura reversed his luck with his own KO of Red Romero in the first. At the next yet-to-be announced Rebel FC, he will face dark horse Michael Tobin, who was credited a bye in the opening round.
Uchimura beefed up his original submission savvy with a powerful striking game that has earned him a whopping 8 KOs in 12 wins. He likes to play inside, which has seen him lose to grapplers and superior strikers, but it makes him extremely exciting to watch.
Uchimura’s opponent has yet to be announced.
One other match has been announced for ZST 44, that is a Flyweight Title defense by undefeated Ryo Hatta against Seiichiro Ito. Seven of the Strapple standout’s 8 victories have come by way of submission. In complement, 5 of Ito’s 6 wins have been by submission. This is a 5 round title match between two very young and exciting grapplers who are the new wave of Japanese MMA.
February 22, 2015
Ryo Hatta 八田 亮(ストライプルオハナ) Champion
Seiichiro Ito 伊藤 盛一郎(リバーサルジム横浜グランドスラム) Challenger