ZST 45 will take place on April 12, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. A grappling tag-team tournament first round sees Caol Uno and Naoya Uematsu face Katsuya Toida and Yo Saito.
ZST held a press conference on March 16th to announce the championship for the GT title. Makino Hitoshi and Hiroyuki Ota have also paired up for the GT-F title against yet to be announced opponents.
Uno, one of the most consummate MMA fighters in contemporary Japanese history, experienced a resurgence in his career whig was a heartfelt attempt to enter the UFC for a third stint. The offer never came, so he went for the Shooto Pac Rim title and sadly came up short. Now he’ll return to his other love, grappling, only this time under a set of unusual rules. Uno has competed in ADCC and The Contenders.
Grappling master Uematsu instigated the partnership when his original partner fell out, and Uno accepted. Uematsu himself has an historic MMA career that saw him fight with the likes of Urijah Faber, Jens Pulver and Marcos Galvao before WEC and UFC lurched into public consciousness. And he has two wins over Toida – way back in 1998 with an armlock and in 2003 with a leg lock.
Toida, who retired from professional MMA about a year ago, will stand in the opposite corner. Toida was known for his brutal fast and grinding grappling, but towards the end of his time in MMA, the bigger names and up and comers took advantage of his lesser striking game.
Partnering with Toida is his student, a commendable MMA grappler in his own right, Yo “The Guillotine” Saito. In 2013 Saito was on a massive upswing and got the title shot at Bantamweight King of Pancrase Shintaro Ishiwatari. He drug it out until the end but lost on the scorecards. Saito’s been back and forth in his record and in promotions for the last year. The biggest factor he has going: he’s submitted Ulka Sasaki, who submitted Uematsu.
ZST 45 will host the opening round of the tournament at Shinjuku FACE. The final will be on May 24th at ZST 46in Differ Ariake.
“In January I lost a challenge for the Shooto Pacific Rim Championship, so I have started to think about a challenge in grappling and jiujitsu. There’s a belt for this challenge, so I’m aiming for it.”
“Although I’m not actively fighting, I like that I can show in this fight. Uno has fought a lot, I am glad we can challenge together for the belt.”
“Although I’ve retired from the ring, I still want revenge against Uno and Uematsu. I have a lot of enthusiasm for Saito. Everyone will end up in the guillotine.”
April 12, 2015
GT Grappling Tag Team Champioship Opening Round
Caol Uno 宇野薫（UNO DOJO）＆ Naoya Uematsu 植松直哉（Nexusense）
Team Neck Hunting Clan
Katsuya Toida 戸井田カツヤ ＆ Yo Saito 齊藤曜（和術慧舟會トイカツ道場）
Team Mr. Handsome
Makino Hitoshi 牧野仁史（リバーサルジム東京スタンドアウト）＆ Hiroyuki Ota 太田裕之（OFC）