Japan’s Flyweight Star, the “Supernova” Tatsura Taira
Japanese Flyweight sensation, Tatsuro “Supernova” Taira has made no secret of his aspirations to make his mark on a global stage. In signing with Iridium Sports Agency, the Shooto Champion’s dream of becoming Japan’s first UFC Flyweight Champion comes one step closer to fruition.
Sporting an unblemished 10-0 Professional record with 8 finishes, the attention Taira has garnered is understandable. Bolstered by an 11-0 Amateur record, Taira kicked off his professional career in style. At just 18 years old the Flyweight tore through Shooto’s Rookie of the Year Tournament recording back to back 1st round stoppages. Racking up consecutive victories over the division’s elite, a title shot was inevitable. Taira seized the coveted World Shooto Flyweight strap in emphatic fashion, requiring a single round to lock up a triangle choke. His subsequent fight, a Rear Naked Choke over Chilean champion Alfredo Muaiad in the opening stanza capped off a 10 fight streak, and ensured a trip to the U.S was on the cards. Currently riding the crest of the wave the timing could not be better for the “Supernova” to test the waters overseas.
Opening the Doors to the UFC, Iridium Sports Agengy
Based in Las Vegas, Iridium Sports Agency maintains promotion and marketing contracts for over 107 fighters, including current and former UFC Champions. Elite UFC Flyweights Brandon Moreno and Alex Perez are members of the Iridium family, a factor that stood out for Taira when weighing up his options. With Paradigm and other agencies vying for the world class fighter, the direct contact from Iridium company president Jason House paid off. Quick to reach out in person to Taira, the company CEO set up a video correspondence. House’s enthusiastic and welcoming attitude, combined with the company’s strong commitment to promoting lighter weight fighters, sealed the deal for Taira.
Recognising Taira as “one of the most promising fighters in the world today,” America’s largest sports agency has pledged to support the Shooto Champion in his quest to claim the UFC Flyweight belt. In signing with the agency, the Japanese prospect is eligible for a professional athlete’s visa through the UFC, a necessity to compete in North America. While his debut will likely be Spring or Summer, Taira is firmly focused on training, staying on-call, ready to capitalize on a short notice match up at the drop of a hat. Whether his highly anticipated U.S debut comes via a UFC card or through their well-received Contenders Series (DWCS), Taira will relish the opportunity to put on a show.
A Base in Las Vegas, Joining Extreme Couture and Expanding Horizons
Hailing from the Okinawan Islands, Taira regularly made the trip to mainland Japan to train, compete and advance his career. Taking a much bigger step, the Flyweight ace ventured further, seeking a base in Las Vegas to hone his MMA skills and grow as a fighter. After scouring gyms in the area, Taira concluded that Extreme Couture best complemented his style and direction.
Following just 3 days of practice at Extreme Couture, the Okinawan athlete was hit by a few realities. Often told that he is big for his weight class in Japan, Taira was shocked at the size of his American Flyweight counterparts, considering them a higher division. A modest fighter who is not overconfident in his abilities, Taira values the firsthand experience of training and learning abroad, vowing to become stronger. Very happy at Extreme Couture the Japanese standout plans to alternate between the U.S and Japan to expand horizons and make the most of both worlds.
“From Okinawa, From Japan, to the Top of the World!”
Having carved a name for himself in Japan with stellar matches and stunning finishes, “Supernova” fully expects to ride the momentum and replicate his success when he fights in the U.S. Well-versed in all facets of MMA with a highly entertaining, fan friendly, “fight to finish” style, Taira has his sights set at the very top. Gunning for nothing less than the UFC Flyweight title, the gifted 22 year old confidently declares, “from Okinawa, from Japan, to the top of the world!”
(All photography used courtesy of Shooto)