DEEP has announced the return of two of it’s biggest stars in the form of welterweight champion Ryuichiro Sumimura (14-8) and former bantamweight champion Yuki Motoya (23-8, 1NC).
Sumimura will face a familiar foe in Yuta Watanabe (22-9-4), as the two have fought previously, back in 2016 in the first-round of a DEEP welterweight tournament. In their first meeting, Sumimura was able to get his grappling going early before eventually forcing the ALLIANCE rep to tap to a rear naked choke in round two.
This was part of a six-fight win streak for Ryuichiro Sumimura that also saw the welterweight veteran defeat Ken Hasegawa and Yoichiro Sato. Unfortunately, he has not had this same success as of late, losing two of his last three fights. Sumimura followed up a RIZIN loss to Kiichi Kunimoto with a submission win over Yoshitomo Watanabe under the DEEP banner two months later. In his most recent contest, Sumimura competed on the Bellator Japan postlims and was knocked out in the first round by UFC veteran Jon Tuck.
Challenging for the welterweight title, Yuta Watanabe has won three-straight fights, all by way of unanimous (and majority) decision. In the past fourteen months, Watanabe has defeated Koji Shikuwa, Yoichiro Sato, and Yoshitomo Watanabe.
Former DEEP bantamweight king Yuki Motoya is fighting a man who has held that same title multiple times over, as well as DEEP’s featherweight championship. This, of course, none other than Takafumi Otsuka (27-16-1, 1NC) of T GRIP TOKYO.
Entering 2019, Yuki Motoya had only a loss to Kyoji Horiguchi in his 17 bouts prior. This stretch included wins over Justin Scoggins, Kazuma Sone, Je Hoon Moon, Allan Nascimento, Daiki Hata, Tatsumitsu Wada, and Masakazu Imanari under the RIZIN and DEEP banners – most under the DEEP banner.
In 2019, Motoya unfortunately lost three-straight fights. Starting the year off by losing his DEEP bantamweight title to Victor Henry, the Japanese veteran returned to RIZIN and had a legitimate Fight of the Year contender with Hiromasa Ogikubo at RIZIN 17. Motoya lost to the Shooto champion on that night and was put on RIZIN’s year-end RIZIN 20 show as a RIZIN Fighting Federation representative against one of Bellator MMA’s top bantamweight contenders in the form of Patrick Mix. It was another loss for Motoya, however. As Mix remained undefeated with a first-round submission win over his toughest competition to date.
Takafumi Otsuka is a former DEEP bantamweight and DEEP featherweight champion who started training BJJ under Hiroyuki Abe at his famed AACC gym since he was in middle school. He then began to wrestle in high school, competing and doing well in multiple tournaments, including a Cup of Japan run that saw Otsuka place 2nd and a Greco-Roman National High School Championship tournament where he’d place 2nd yet again.
As stated previously, Takafumi Otsuka is a former two-division champion, and a multi-time bantamweight champion. The man has fought a who’s who of the world’s elite, from Bibiano Fernandes to Rafael dos Anjos, he’s been fighting the very best for the past decade. After losing in the RIZIN Bantamweight Grand-Prix 2017 semi-finals to Pancrase champ Shintaro Ishiwatari, Otsuka returned to DEEP. He has won two-straight against Rikuto Shirakawa and Yuki Takano.
DEEP 94 Impact will take place on March 1, live from the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.