'Sanae Kikuta Going Down To 83 Kilo To Fight Jean Francois Lenogue & More!'
by: Shu Hirata
Dream Stage Entertainment Presents 'PRIDE Bushido Vol. 12 -
Welterweight GP Second Round'
Sunday, November 5th, 2006
At Yokohama Arena, Kanagawa, Japan
Doors Open - 15:00
Fight Starts - 16:00
PIC: (from left to right) Yoshiro Maeda, Sanae Kikuta, and Mitsuhiro
Ishida // photo by Yoshinori Ihara (www.boutreview.com)
Sanae Kikuta has been fighting at 90 kg and under in the Pancrase light-weight category but this time, he is cutting seven more kilos to take on Jean Francois Lenogue from France. Kikuta mentioned that watching Dean Lister fighting at eighty three kilos, when he cornered his GRABAKA team mate Yuki Sasaki in the UFC back in August, made him think about cutting weight. However the main reason has got to be because Lenogue is a fighter who drew against Yuki Kondo. Defeating Kondo is one of Kikuta's main goals in his career so the motivation here is to beat a fighter Yuki couldn't beat. 'I took this fight thinking, someday, I will fight Kondo again.' The last time Kikuta went down to eighty three kilo was back in his intermediate school days, 'There isn't enough time for me to cut weight with a precise plan' so his dieting is going to be the key factor for this fight.
Another issue for Kikuta is his team mates, Kazuo Misaki and Akihiro Gono are fighting in, perhaps, the biggest fights of their careers, PRIDE's Bushido GP semi-finals. Kikuta said, 'I want to display the quality of GRABAKA fighters' but when he told Gono about not being able to corner him, Gono was bit sad with his decision. Gono will take on Dennis Kang from ATT and Misaki is fighting Paulo Filho from BTT. Both of them now have to fight without any guidance from grappling master Kikuta, but Kikuta believes all the GRABAKA fighters will be ready on November 5th. As a matter of fact, Misaki was passionately training at Ricardo Almeida's dojo last week preparing for this fight.
The other interesting names on the card are David Bielkheden from BTT and Joe Pearson from Miletich Martial Arts. Bielkheden is twenty seven years old from Sweden. He started kick boxing at age thirteen, and for the past eight years, he has been training in jiu-jitsu at BTT. He has fought Ryuta Sakurai and Shikou Yamashita, loosing to both of them by decision. However these fights are all under Shooto's light-heavyweight category and that is 83 kilos and under. Instead for this fight against Mitsuhiro Ishida, he is coming down to 73 kilos so he is going to be much bigger than his opponent. However, Ishida is not concerned about the size difference, 'I always fought bigger opponents.' Ishida is feeling comfortable probably because he is getting all the information on his opponent from his training partner Sakurai. Also, Ishida started to train at Team Kurobune about a month ago and sparring with fighters like Yoshihiro Akiyama and Tatsuya Kawajiri, Ishida gained his confidence in the striking game also.
Pearson is twenty eight years old and currently ranks fifth in Shooto's USA lightweight category, which is sixty five kilos and under. Although this fight will be held under the PRIDE lightweight category (73 kilo & under), his opponent, Yoshiro Maeda, usually fights at Pancrase's featherweight category (64 kilo & under) so this is an even match-up. Pearson once fought in Japan back in March 2005 but was KO'd by Hatsu Hioki in the first round. Is this a match-up to promote Maeda? We'll see.