Scheduled to take place on September 8, DEEP 91 Impact is starting to fill up with the addition of Takafumi Otsuka (25-16-1, 1NC) and Shinsho Anzai (10-3) in his first post-UFC bout.
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Otsuka, a former DEEP bantamweight champion, is looking for his fourth-straight bout in DEEP since returning to the organization following a multi-fight stint in RIZIN. In 2017, Otsuka was a semi-finalist in RIZIN’s 16-man bantamweight Grand-Prix, losing to former DEEP foe Shintaro Ishiwatari after defeating UFC veteran Anthony Birchak and future UFC contender Khalid Taha.
Returning to DEEP in late 2018, Otsuka was knocked out by Victor Henry before dominating Seiji Akao four months later in December. In May of this year, the Japanese scrapper was submitted by Trevin Jones. Despite accusing the American of greasing post-fight, Otsuka has since retracted the accusation and given Jones the respect on a clean win.
In September, Otsuka will be stood across the cage from Rikuto Shirakawa (7-6-1) of Osaka, Japan. Rikuto “Dark” defeated Koichi Ishizuka by way of narrow split decision back at DEEP 90 Impact in June.
With a nickname like “Animal,” Shinsho Anzai’s hard-nosed powerhouse style should be at least somewhat obvious, even if you know nothing about him. The former middleweight King of Pancrase is a gritty, durable, powerful wrestler who joined the UFC in 2014 with a very impressive 8-1 record.
Holding a win over future Pancrase Hall of Famer Ryo Kawamura, the Japanese fighter was unfortunately stopped by Alberto Mina in his UFC debut. Thankfully for Anzai, he went on to win two-straight over Roger Zapata and highly-touted up-and-comer Luke Jumeau. In June of 2018, “Animal” was defeated by Jake Matthews in what wound up being his last fight with the promotion. Now, over a year later, Shinsho Anzai heads home to Japan for his DEEP debut.
A veteran of DEEP, Shooto, and Pancrase, it will be Yoichiro Sato (21-10-2) facing Anzai at DEEP 91 Impact. The Akita, Japan native is coming off a loss to Yuta Watanabe last month. Prior to this, it was two-straight wins for Sato. This includes a 27-second knockout against Dae Seung Baek.
Fighting NEXUS bantamweight champion Shooto Watanabe (18-4-6, 1NC) is set for his second-straight appearance in DEEP as he looks to make it seven-straight wins against Yoichiro Kuranobu (0-1) as well. RIZIN vet Yamato Fujita (2-0) returns at DEEP 91 Impact and gets a step-up in competition as he faces Yuki Ito (5-0), a veteran of The Outsider and a true knockout-artist.