*Written by Peter Leghorn
Deep 89 Impact takes place this Sunday and has some matches that are definitely worth watching.
The eccentric “DJ” Taiki Hata takes center stage for a well-deserved title shot at 145lbs. Dressed in pink as a homage to his favorite idol singer Yukari Tamura, DJ can be seen during walkouts entertaining with his pink costume, wig, glow sticks and dance moves. For his opponent in the cage though it is a far from a fun experience, shifting “Dance Dance Revolution” style footwork, alternating stances and jerky unorthodox striking masks solid underlying fundamentals, and to top it all off DJ Taiki has power. With solid takedowns, strong clinch, heavy strikes and amazing chin, DJ Taiki usually has problems with game plans, defense and generally getting outworked. His 18-12 record doesn’t tell the whole story, an adept finisher DJ Taiki has never been finished in a fight, has been in with top competition and the majority of the fights were close with DJ having his moments.
Taiki’s opponent, Satoshi “Dominator” Yamasu pulled of a pretty big upset when he unseated Takehiro Ashida to take the featherweight title. Not only did he defeat Ashida but the way he did it was especially decisive, dropping Ashida with heavy hands he soccer kicked him repeatedly in the face before locking up a Kimura/ Ude Garami submission for good measure. A rematch was scheduled and again Yamasu won, this time by decision. A very dynamic and versatile grappler Yamasu has a variety of submission finishes and has the skills to pull off some unusual techniques. On the feet he is dangerous too, utilizing that bouncing in and out karate-esque style popular with newer generation fighters he picks his shots and hits hard.
This fight should be great, DJ Taiki may need to stand up to and endure the strikes from the faster Yamasu who will likely draw first blood. Taiki doesn’t tend to defend strikes well, preferring to look for his own, he should do his best work in clinch where he can really damage people with punishing knees. If it goes to the ground top position is a must for Taiki, his takedowns are under-rated and ground and pound very heavily. Yamasu has the versatility and more ways to win and can work and threaten from any position. If the inconsistent DJ Taiki can get his game going he has the potential to pull off the upset, the odds will be on Yamasu`s side though and chances are he will ride out a decision win
The co-main event sees JMMA mainstay and former champion Takefumi Otsuka face off against Guam Brazilian JiuJitsu stylist Trevin “5 star” Jones.
Otsuka has fantastic wrestling, especially when it comes to footwork and movement, he can close the distance and chain together techniques until he gets his opponent down, which happens more often than not. A veteran of over 40 fights Otsuka has experience at the highest level and has competed for almost every major JMMA org. Bringing a constantly developing striking game to his wresting backbone he additionally has amazing cardio, finishing fights strong as opponents fade under his pressure.
In Jones, Otsuka faces an opponent that is largely unknown but capable of an upset. A former Pacific X-treme Combat Bantamweight Champion the Brazilian JiuJitsu specialist is also a very physical fighter. Solid boxing makes way for the clinch, takedowns, and groundwork, where he is at his best.
It would seem Otsuka has a lot to lose with this matchup, given Jones does not have the profile of some of Otsuka’s other opponents. It could be a close fight that comes down to a few key moments each round. Expect Otsuka to cut angles and shoot a variety of takedowns as Jones reacts. Jones will likely be keeping it simple for the grappling on the feet, implementing effective basics and taking it to the ground. In contrast to standing grappling, on the ground, Jones seems the more versatile fighter, with Otsuka preferring position and ground and pound to transitions. Both fighters will be looking to take the back at some point but may cancel each other out. Otsuka will be the heavy favorite, deservedly so, especially if it goes out of the 1st round.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Shoji Maruyama is another match that really stands out. This one should be very explosive as both veterans like to trade, hit hard and are very durable.
Maruyama is a battle-tested warrior who comes to every fight to fight to the end, he is able to withstand knockdowns, soccer kicks, onslaughts of strikes and keep coming. His striking is versatile, sharp, short and heavy. With little setups, Maruyama likes to move into range first and then attack with power shots. He is almost always entertaining, putting on a really memorable war with Doo Ho Choi, who is now in UFC. After dominating much of the fight Murayama was caught and took too much damage prompting a referee stoppage. In his last fight, he was dominant until getting leveled by a cross that put him down and out. Here lies Murayama’s greatest problem, he takes damage, gets hit a lot and with 28 wars behind him his ability to recover and survive may be diminishing.
Mizugaki is perhaps best known for his UFC run where he proved more than capable of winning but has fallen short as of late, all be it to very high-level competition. Despite strong offense and defensive wrestling, Mizugaki is best known for his striking, he likes to work the head and body and has the kind of volume and persistence that can break opponents down. Against larger fighters who brought explosive power, Mizugaki found his lack of defense hurt him, he would get caught before he could really get his rhythm going. Murayama has power but is not big for the weight class, this fight could turn into a war of attrition, with blows landing, cuts, doctor checks, there is a potential for a real war. Heart and willpower will not be an issue, I feel the question will be which veteran is physically most able to withstand that kind of fight?
Add another 9 MMA matches and 1 kickboxing bout, featuring veterans and up and coming talent and it is sure to be an action-packed night of fights. What is even better is DEEP shows the events for free on their youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrzcqokfdjCm0JiqzYJZxeA