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Unread 12-24-2016, 04:29 AM
Ufnal Ufnal is offline
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Default ALPHA-1 Tiers of Excellence

In the beginning of 1999, the Naruto game company that owns ALPHA-1 decided that for their MMA child to prosper, they need a radically new idea and direction. They hired a mysterious management team that quickly came out with a plan that was seen as a step towards making MMA more competitive, more respectable and able to produce better storylines for the fans to get excited about: The Ranking and Tier system.

Ranking & Tier System
The new ALPHA-1 management hired a respectable panel of experts (including some of the most prolific Japanese (and some foreign) judges, coaches, MMA journalists and former fighters, called the ALPHA-1 Ranking Committee. Their job is to prepare rankings for each weight class that ALPHA-1 has, putting all the fighters that compete in that weight class in order from best to worst (at the moment; the rankings are expected to shift depending on the momentum and streak, but those things are not the ultimate criterion). This ranking is then used to divide each weight class into tiers:

Tier I
It consists of top 5 fighters in the weight class. They are the only ones capable of challenging for the title belt. A Tier I fighter can be challenged by any other Tier I fighter, by the first ranked fighter in Tier II or, in case of the lowest ranked person in Tier I, by the entire Tier II.

Tier II
It consists of the 5 fighters directly below Tier I. A Tier II fighter can fight any other Tier II fighter, the lowest-ranked fighter in Tier I or the highest-ranked fighter in Tier III. The best fighter in Tier II has the option to challenge anybody in Tier I (but cannot have a title shot), while the worst fighter in Tier II might fight anybody from Tier III.

Tier III
It consists of the 5 fighters directly below Tier II. A Tier III fighter can fight any other Tier III fighter, the lowest-ranked fighter in Tier II or one of the top 5 fighters in Tier IV. The best fighter in Tier III has the option to challenge anybody in Tier II, while the worst fighter in Tier III might fight anybody from Tier IV.

Tier IV
It consists of all the fighters below the top 15. They can all fight each other and the worst fighter of Tier III, and top 5 people in Tier IV can challenge anybody in Tier III.
So far, most of the divisions don’t have enough fighters to warrant a Tier IV, but ALPHA-1 is set to grow in due time.

Matchmaking and ranking updates
The matchmaking for an event (especially for a pay-per-view one) will usually be conducted with 8 weeks in advance, so as to give the fighters ample time to prepare. The rankings will be updated after each event, televised or pay-per-view. This means that matches shall be made according to the rankings as they were when the booking was taking place, which might change considerably before the fight actually happens.

New fighters
ALPHA-1 aims to be a home for all the best fighters from around the world. However, due to it being a unique challenge harder than anything else in the world, even the fighters that come in and are judged by the Committee as being Tier I or Tier II have to prove their worth in one of two ways:
  1. Newcomers’ Gauntlet – the newcomer has to fight 3 fights, first with a Tier IV fighter, then with a Tier III fighter and finally with a Tier II fighter before his ranking is considered “proven” and he can start taking matches in a way that his Tier would normally allow.
  2. Tournament – in case of a large influx of fighters and/or a need to shakeup a stale division, a tournament might be organized. Fighting at least 2 fights in a tournament is considered enough to end the newcomer status.

**********************

Hello, dear readers! I know that this forum was dead for so very long, but with the latest discounts by GreyDog we could have a new influx of WMMA3 players, and as I am still playing this game and not the sequel I thought I can start an irregular diary and see if anybody is going to follow along.

The basic idea, as described above, was already tested (albeit in a less restrictive version) in my private game, so I know it can work. Being more interested in MMA sims than actual MMA events, I am not 100% sure how realistic it is, but what the heck.

I'll try to update this when I have time, so there won't be a regular schedule. If anybody's going to follow this, I might even do predictions or other such stuff. I plan on not using pictures and providing short writeups and commentary instead of just dumping the text from the game, as I have found it difficult to read the dumped text in other diaries - but if I happen to get any readers and if they prefer a different style, this is subject to change.

Oh, and the database used is CV Expanded 2.4B that can be found here.
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Unread 12-24-2016, 07:34 AM
Ufnal Ufnal is offline
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ALPHA-1 TIER RANKINGS - 1st January 1998

Lightweight Division

Tier I
  1. Motoki Hojo 15-3
  2. Fumiaki Hayashi (c) 16-4
  3. Go Yamamoto 26-9
  4. Shizuya Nakae 23-11
  5. Naizen Hamacho 7-0

Tier II
  1. Eijiro Yanagita 25-11-2
  2. Mikio Inouye 7-2
  3. Eizan Ijichi 7-1-1
  4. Korekiyo Anzai 6-0
  5. Shiko Taka 6-2-1 NC

Tier III
  1. Fujimaro Hidaka 4-1
  2. Shinji Oiwa 7-4

Welterweight Division

Tier I
  1. Ichisake Miyagi 21-3
  2. Carlos da Guia (c) 15-0
  3. Xie Ming 20-4
  4. Syed Tan 13-2
  5. Chew Chua 17-4

Tier II
  1. Fukusaburu Hirano 10-0
  2. Ikku Funaki 14-4
  3. Yeijiro Yamamoto 15-3
  4. Simon Vine 19-6
  5. Bakin Sakamoto 19-9

Tier III
  1. Jungo Futagawa 16-8
  2. Chojiro Goto 8-2
  3. Keita Oshima 18-6
  4. Kafu Bunya 9-0
  5. Kichisaburo Morri 10-3

Tier IV
  1. Chikafusa Abukara 16-5
  2. Kiyotaka Aihara 15-8


Middleweight Division

Tier I
  1. Bambang Sriyanto 22-6-2
  2. Heiji Endo (c) 12-1
  3. Haranobu Oshiro 15-5
  4. Mal Phe Roby 15-4
  5. Ieyoshi Yamashita 22-10

Tier II
  1. Dokuohtei Kuroki 33-13
  2. Kojuro Kudo 10-2-1 NC
  3. Kyuwa Itou 22-11
  4. Gempachi Higa 17-9
  5. Atshushi Nakajima 29-13

Tier III
  1. Tadao Miyazaki 7-0
  2. Shuncho Sakurai 9-3
  3. Genki Shinashi 6-1

Newcomer
Oleg Dorosklov 0-0


Light Heavyweight Division

Tier I
  1. Tadamasa Yamada (c) 21-1
  2. Zvonimir Asanovic 27-2
  3. Jin Katou 17-0
  4. Sho Kitabatake 13-0
  5. Robun Yamazaki 37-12

Tier II
  1. Ryosei Sakamoto 8-0
  2. Yoritomo Ina 21-8
  3. Inejiro Chiba 15-5
  4. Ebizo Fujishima 24-12
  5. Gekko Goto 5-0

Tier III
  1. Naoki Itoh 22-15
  2. Eisaku Nozaki 6-2
  3. Osamu Dan 5-1
  4. Tsuramatsu Inoue 24-15-2-3 NC


Heavyweight Division

Tier I
  1. Hassan Fezzik (c) 25-0
  2. Kunimichi Kikuchi 25-3
  3. Armen Sarkisian 22-2
  4. Mason Archer 15-3
  5. Ari Peltonen 23-7

Tier II
  1. Hiro Arai 14-4
  2. Palmer Lette 19-5-2-2 NC
  3. Ikuhisa Tamura 19-8
  4. Gerson Mauricio 8-0
  5. Gyokusho Fujimoto 6-0

Tier III
  1. Denbe Ekiguchi 6-3
  2. Felipe Luiz Rosa 11-5
  3. Yoshikazu Inamoto 7-3
  4. Eien Kawano 3-0
  5. Takafumi Ando 14-10
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Unread 12-24-2016, 08:10 AM
Ufnal Ufnal is offline
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ALPHA-1 NEWS January 1st, 1998

The new ALPHA-1 management decided to ride the wave of momentum created by the announcement of a new way of organising the company and unveil some upcoming ALPHA-1 events!

ALPHA-1 Warriors of the Ring - February 8th, 1998

The first episode of the TV series held under new rules will see a prestigious main event, as Naizen Hamacho, a young kickboxer from Mok Kar Dojo whose impressive 7-0 record gave him a 5th place in Tier I of the Lightweight Division faces a fighter 1 place higher in the division ranking, Wudang Academy's Shizuya Nakae, the bowling ball-headed, no-nonsense ground-and-pounder with a 23-11 record, whose recent winning streak lifted him to rank #23 in Blurcat's Lightweight world ranking. Let not the less-than-stellar record of Nakae fool you, this is the greatest challenge young Hamacho has ever faced.

A very similar story, although this time from the Heavyweight division, will be seen in the semi-main event, as 5th ranked in Tier II Gyokusho Fujimoto, the elite kickboxer rightly nicknamed "Fujizilla" and considered one of the hardest strikers in the division, has challenged 3rd ranked Ikuhisa Tamura, a veteran wrestler. Again, a youngster's perfect record - 6-0 - is pitted against a much more ambivalent but way bigger one - 19-8. What makes this fight even more interesting is that both of the fighters train at the J-1 Circle camp, and with the hostility between ALPHA-1 and J-1 this fact can not be seen as a coincidence.

The new ALPHA-1 management seems very keen on giving young talent a chance, as at the top of the undercard we find a third youngster vs veteran fight. This time, however, it is the veteran that seeks to prove himself, as Naoki Itoh who is the best fighter in the Tier III of Light Heavyweight division with a 22-15 record and an unfortunate losing streak seeks to turn the tide by defeating the 5th ranked fighter of Tier II, the 5-0 Gekko Goto. Itoh is feared for his big left hand, but challenging "The Iron Wolverine" with his submission skills and Top Team Japan credentials might prove too much for him!

The last (though first chronologically) bout of this installment of Warriors of the Ring has much lesser difference in age, but still a big one in experience. Kafu Bunya, whose 9-0 record in local tournaments failed to give him anything more than a 4th place in Tier III of Welterweight Division, aims to correct this injustice by facing a veteran Jungo Futagawa, who with his 16-8 record and a recent winning streak tops the third Tier of the division. "The White Hope" is a T'ai Chi student trained at the Way Of The Crane's Beak, while the older "Spirit Of Ancients" is a Muay Thai specialist, so we can expect a very dynamic, strike-based fight!


Warriors of the Ring 8.02.1998 Prediction Card:

ME Lightweight: Naizen Hamacho (7-0, I 5th) v Shizuya Nakae (23-11, I 4th)
SME Heavyweight: Gyokusho Fujimoto (6-0, II 5th) v Ikuhisa Tamura (19-8, II 3rd)
Light Heavyweight: Naoki Itoh (22-15, III 1st) v Gekko Goto (5-0, II 5th)
Welterweight: Kafu Bunya (9-0, III 4th) v Jungo Futagawa (16-8, III 1st)

*****

ALPHA-1: Miyagi vs. da Guia, March 1st, 1998

In three of ALPHA-1 weight divisions, the Ranking Committee has ranked the champion second in Tier I. One of such divisions was the Welterweight division, where Ichisake Miyagi was awarded the highest spot in the ranking. "The Devil in Blue", master of clinch fighting, certainly has ample credentials, with his 21-3 record, a #15 Pound for Pound and #3 Welterweight ranks in Blurcat's World Rankings, and with him having held the ALPHA-1 Welterweight and defended it 3 times. The semi-official ALPHA-1 PfP rating has this Dragon's Lair alumnus as the 5th best fighter in the whole company. All of this doesn't sit well, however, with the current champion who dethroned Miyagi, Carlos da Guia. An extremely dangerous Muay Thai fighter from the famous Brazilian Estrela Academy, he has amassed an incredible 15-0 pro record as well as one defence of his title, and while he's still not as widely recognised in Japan as in his home Brazil, the MMA community feels that he's without doubt one of the best prospects in the whole sport. The fact that the Committee, perhaps valuing experience over momentum or having a Japanese bias, rated him lower than a man he defeated has spurred him to demand a rematch to prove his dominance in the division.

The semi-main event seems to be another clash of titans. Hiro Arai, ranked 1st in Tier II of the Heavyweight Division, has a chance to break into Tier I with his fight against Kunimichi Kikuchi, the 2nd ranked fighter in Tier 1, who as a former champion was widely considered as a natural top contender for the ALPHA-1 Heavyweight Title (although with Tier I as stacked as this one, #1 contendership is hard to judge). Kikuchi, with his 25-3 record and 3rd rank in World Heavyweight Ranking (17th in World Pound 4 Pound), has to be considered as one of the top fighters in the company. However, perhaps due to his less entertaining style (grindy clinch and wrestling game) or to him having last fought in September, which is farther in the past than most other top Heavyweights, it was decided that the Dragon's Lair member would have to face this challenge before fighting for the championship. His opponent's 14-4 record and known cardio problems seem to not give him much chance against such an elite enemy, but the kickboxer trained at Dojo of Zi Quan has some fearsome striking and decent grappling at his disposal and should not be treated lightly, as evidenced by his 16th rating in World Heavyweight Ranking.

In the undercard of the event we find one of the most, so to say, preposterous bouts of recent months. Bakin Sakamoto, a veteran kickboxer with 19-9 record whose recent loss and general mediocrity put him at the last spot in Tier II of Welterweight division, decided to utilise the rules to his advantage and put forward a challenge to Chew Chua, the Singaporean Muay Thai fighter ranked 20 in the world, who holds the last spot in Tier I. This bold challenge is probably a desperate attempt by Sakamoto to stay relevant, so we can expect him to fight with great passion with so much on the line.

In the Middleweight division, the veteran Ieyoshi Yamashita holding the 5th place in Tier I looks like an easy gatekeeper to the top due to his less than stellar 22-10 record that has a fresh loss on it. Kojuro Kudo, the holder of 2nd rank in Tier II, looks to capitalise on this fact and his 10-2-1 NC record suggests he has what it takes. The younger striker shouldn’t underestimate his opponent, however – Yamashita, another Dragon’s Lair member, might be 32, but he is a former ALPHA-1 Champion and his takedowns and ground control are still top notch, as is his strategic ability.

Another bout in Middleweight division sees Tadao Miyazaki, 22-year-old Karate prodigy with an impressive 7-0 record (yet classified as the leader of Tier III, due to the low quality of the opponents he bested) facing “The Warrior” Dokuohtei Kuroki, a veteran with 41 years of age and a record of 33-13, whose experience, jujitsu and persistence earned him the top spot in Tier II.

The lowest match on the card is a Light Heavyweight Tier III fight, as Eisaku Nozaki (2nd rank) and Osamu Dan (3rd rank), both 23 years old and with a decent record (6-2 in case of Nozaki, 5-1 for Dan) yet with opposite styles (Eisaku is a pure brawler while Osamu is a wrestler nicknamed “Decision Dan”), try to break into higher Tiers.


ALPHA-1: Miyagi vs. da Guia 1.03.1998 Prediction Card:

ME Welterweight Title Match: Ichisake Miyagi (21-3, I 1st) v Carlos da Guia (c) (15-0, I 2nd)
SME Heavyweight: Hiro Arai (14-4, II 1st) v Kunimichi Kikuchi (25-3, I 2nd)
Welterweight: Bakin Sakamoto (19-9, II 5th) v Chew Chua (17-4, I 5th)
Middleweight: Ieyoshi Yamashita (22-10, I 5th) v Kojuro Kudo (10-2-1 NC, II 2nd)
Middleweight: Tadao Miyazaki (7-0, III 1st) v Dokuohtei Kuroki (33-13, II 1st)
Light Heavyweight: Eisaku Nozaki (6-2, III 2nd) v Osamu Dan (5-1, III 3rd)

*****

ALPHA-1: Hayashi vs. Hojo, April 5th, 1998

The main event for April is hyped quite intensely by the ALPHA-1 marketing, and for a good reason. Fumiaki Hayashi is one of the greatest MMA stars of the early nineties, a great kickboxer whose insane creativity in striking earned him a respectable 16-4 record, the second place in the Tier I in Lightweight division and the ALPHA-1 Lightweight Title which he defended twice since winning it in June 1996; however, he is considered by many to be a bit one-dimensional and has turned 30 this year. His opponent, ranked directly above him at the top of Tier I, is Motoki Hojo, “The Wing Chun Superstar” whom many consider to be a younger version of Hayashi, with innovative striking offense, natural charisma and flair, and a lack of wrestling/ground game. They both belong to the prestigious Dojo Of Zui Quan, both are highly ranked in World Lightweight charts (Hayashi at 10th, Hojo at 7th), and even Hojo’s record is similar, at 15-3. This will no doubt be a highly entertaining bout, regardless of who wins in the end.

The semi-main event is also a hotly contested match. Syed Tan, holding the 4th spot in Tier I of the Welterweight division, defends his Tier I spot against Fukusaburu Hirano, the best fighter of Tier II. Syed, a Malaysian kickboxer with a great 13-2-1 record and 16th place in the World Ranking, has arguably the hardest chin and elbows among all the world’s Welterweights. His opponent is no slouch, either – only 22 years old, he’s already got an almost flawless 10-0-1 record and his training in Top Team Japan and other places made him one of the most versatile fighters around, combining world class boxing with educated legs, a good ground game and some dangerous submissions. This is definitely a match to watch!

Another match sees the MMA debut of Oleg Dorosklov, Ukrainian Olympic gold medallist in Judo, a former trainer of Kunimichi Kikuchi and probably the most dangerous submission fighter among the Middleweights. Due to the Middleweight division not having a Tier IV, as a newcomer he will face the lowest (3rd) ranked fighter of Tier III. While this doesn’t sound like much of a challenge, Genki Shinashi should at least put up a show, with some decent wrestling, a 6-1 record and a “wild man” persona and theatrical entrance that should hype the crow up for the debut of Dorosklov.

Back to Tier I action, this time in the Heavyweight division, as Ari Peltonen, the 5th fighter of Tier I, is challenged by Gerson Mauricio, holder of the 4th place in Tier II. Peltonen, notorious Finnish practitioner of Sambo, is a veteran with a 23-7 record, considered 11th Heavyweight in the world according to BlurCat’s World Ranking and credited with pioneering the “Anti Ju Jistsu” style of ground defence. This particular fact should not trouble Mauricio too match, though, as he’s a Brazilian kickboxer known for great knockout potential, whose record sits at a respectable 8-0.

In Light Heavyweight division we have a fight that, on paper, is probably the closest one on the card – between Inejiro Chiba, ranked 3rd in Tier II, and Ebizo Fujishima, ranked one place below him. Chiba is a 15-5 striker of a fearsome reputation who however recently broke his winning streak, and Fujishima, a submission wrestler and veteran with a mixed 24-12 record, will want to capitalise on this gap in Chiba’s armour and find himself a second win in a row after he recently broke a losing streak.

In another Heavyweight bout, two Tier III fighters, Felipe Luiz Rosa (ranked second) and Eien Kawano (ranked fourth) are fighting for a break into Tier II. Rosa, a Brazilian boxer with a 11-5 record, will probably find the crowd is against him, as Kawano is a popular ex-sumo wrestler who only recently got into MMA, winning his 3 first fights.

Finally, in Welterweight division we have the wrestler Chikafusa Abukara , leader of the only Tier IV currently in the company, trying to improve his 16-5 record and his ranking position by challenging the 2nd placed fighter in Tier III, Chojiro Goto, a Muay Thai adept with a 8-2 record.


ALPHA-1: Hayashi vs. Hojo, 5.04.1998 Prediction Card:

ME Lightweight Title Match: Fumiaki Hayashi (c) (16-4, I 2nd) v Motoki Hojo (15-3, I 1st)
SME Welterweight: Syed Tan (13-2-1, I 4th) v Fukusaburu Hirano (10-0-1, II 1st)
Middleweight: Oleg Dorosklov (0-0, Newcomer) v Genki Shinashi (6-1, III 3rd)
Heavyweight: Ari Peltonen (23-7, I 5th) v Gerson Mauricio (8-0, II 4th)
Light Heavyweight: Inejiro Chiba (15-5, II 3rd) v Ebizo Fujishima (24-12, II 4th)
Heavyweight: Felipe Luiz Rosa (11-5, III 2nd) v Eien Kawano (3-0, III 4th)
Welterweight: Chikafusa Abukara (16-5, IV 1st) v Chojiro Goto (8-2, III 2nd)

Last edited by Ufnal : 12-24-2016 at 05:03 PM.
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Unread 12-25-2016, 11:28 AM
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ALPHA-1 NEWS January
After J-1 signed Motoichi Arakida and Shingen Kumasaka, both extremely popular and skilled pro wrestlers with many decades in the industry and some relatively fresh MMA credentials, as well as Trace Bannon, a kickboxer/wrestler/MMA fighter who keeps going with his awesome 31-6-4 record despite being 48, there were rumours that ALPHA-1 could respond by hiring some of the other famous veterans, such as Judai “Dragon” Agakawa, a Judo gold medallist and Strong Style wrestler who at 53 still puts his 18-0-2 MMA record to test, or Tatsumaki Mibu, a 51-year-old BHOTWG wrestler and aikidoka who recently came into MMA and amassed a 5-0-1 record. However, the ALPHA-1 management issued a proclamation that while they respect those seasoned fighters, their aim is to hire fighters that will be able to give their best in the ring for the next 10-20 years, as they are fully aware that it will take a considerable amount of time for the Tier system to become fully operational and able to precisely measure the worth of ALPHA-1’s fighters. Therefore, no fighters over the age of 36 were considered as viable hiring targets during the current roster expansion.


ALPHA-1 NEW HIRINGS January
This announcement was followed by information on the signings that ALPHA-1 made in the month of January. The initial rumours about three dozen fighters being contacted seem to have been exaggerated, but not by much (or maybe just some initial offers were later withdrawn). [number], with the Middleweight division, generally considered the weakest in the company, getting the most signings as well as arguable the highest profile ones.

Heavyweight division

The most stacked division in ALPHA-1 did not receive any very high profile signings compared to the other divisions. That does not mean, however, that there was no influx of great and exciting talent – on the contrary, some experts claim that this batch of fighters can prove to be the strongest addition that any ALPHA-1 division has received in quite some time! One of the earliest signings was Reynier Ramirez, a young judoka from Cuba that caught ALPHA-1 scouts’ eye during the 1996 Summer Olympics. A 2-0 pro MMA record is nothing to write home about, but he has won in such a dominant way against such respectable opposition that he already was classified as #18 Heavyweight in the world, and his current involvement with the legendary Feitosa BJJ Academy only makes us more excited about what this 24-year-old fighter can mature into. A fellow World Heavyweight Ranking ranker, at #16, is Robert Royal, another early signing. The Canadian boxer has so far won 3 out of 3 MMA bouts and if he can supplement his enormous strength and fearsome uppercuts with more grappling skill this record will only improve. The other fighter signed to the Heavyweight division are Sadatake Hiro, an extremely promising Japanese prospect with submission wrestling, jujitsu and striking credentials as well as a 5-0 record; Kanezane Fujii who despite being 20 and having only fought (and won) 1 MMA bout was already nicknamed “The Great Japanese Hope” due to his judo and wrestling skill; and Claudio Burdisso, an extremely dangerous Chilean street fighter who moved to Japan to compete in MMA and so far has managed to achieve a 3-0 record despite being only 18.

Light Heavyweight division

Only four Light Heavyweights have signed up with ALPHA-1 in January, but two of them are very high profile individuals. Dae Yung Moon from Seoul, South Korea is one of the best Taekwondo fighters of recent years, having won the World Games, World Cup and Asian Games. Retiring from Taekwondo, he took up MMA and so far is 7-0 in the sport, enough for Blurcat to classify him as #14 Light Heavyweight in the world. He is a very dangerous striker, but has to be a bit nervous joining a division containing some submission artists of the highest calibre, such as Tadamasa Yamada, Sho Kitabatake, and now the other new fighter whose signing caused much excitement in the MMA world, Ewerton Feitosa. The oldest son of Hall of Famer Ricardo Feitosa Jr., trainee of the legendary Feitosa BJJ Academy and already a successful BJJ and submission wrestling fighter, Ewerton has managed to get an 8-0 record in two years that he has been an MMA fighter and he shows no signs of stopping. The other two new Light Heavyweights are young & bright Japanese prospects, wrestler/jujitsuka Jiroemon Hasegawa (3-0) and wrestler with overall MMA training Ryuji Ganaha (1-0).

Middleweight division

The weakest of ALPHA-1 divisions just got a whole lot more interesting. The most important signing is without doubt Jonathan “The Locust” Huang, a Thai superstar widely regarded as one of the best jiu jitsu competitors of all time, whose 4-0 record and incredible skill have not warranted a World Ranking spot only due to the sporadicalness of his matches and the very low quality of his opponents. He was signed to a contract which is rumoured to amount more than 300.000$ for a single fight, which is an astonishing amount, considering that even the ultrapopular Palmer Lette is only rumoured to be paid around 250.000$ for a bout. As if Huang wasn’t enough news, ALPHA-1 has also signed Sebastian Shiller, a Dutch Muay Thai legend and the owner of the Farang Ba Muay Thai camp, who even despite being 34 and having a mixed record of 3-2 in professional MMA is still considered one of the world’s best Middleweight strikers. And as if to complete a set, after a submission fighter and a striker the third big name for the MW division is a highly respected wrestler, Indonesia’s Tora Mizwar, who with his enormous strength managed to amass a 19-6 record while still being only 25, which earned him #21 on the World Middleweight list by Blurcat as well as admiration of fans across Asia. The other four (sic!) new Middleweights seem uninteresting by comparison, but don’t let that fool you. Jakuchu Abe (Jiu Jitsu black belt who trained to make himself a complete mixed martial artist and, at 20, won his first MMA bout), Tetsuji Myojin (a well-rounded student of Sambo with a 4-0 record), Fumiki Ikeda (a former pro wrestler with a 5-0 record, loads of charisma and submission skills) and Kadonomaro Deguchi (one of the most promising wrestlers in Japan with a 2-0 record that’s likely to increase) are all ones for the future and might end up toppling the higher-profile fighters.

Welterweight division

The Welterweight division only gets one truly great name, but what a name it is! Heikichi Shimizu may have debuted only a year ago (after turning 30!) and won only 2 fights (out of 2), but he is a living legend in judo respected by the fans and competitors around the world, and can easily compete with Jonatan Huang, Tadamasa Yamada or Hassan Fezzik for the title of the best submission wrestler in ALPHA-1. Speaking of submission wrestling, another contender in this field was also signed for this division Kaito Akimoto, whose innovative and flashy submissions are a delight for the connoisseurs of this fighting style, and whose 9-1 record should be enough for all the other MMA fans to consider him a worthy addition to the roster. Eiji Masuko, another highly ranked judoka with a 1-0 record in MMA, and Konosuke Shirahata, a decent ground-and-pounder who is currently 3-0, are less exciting, but nonetheless promising additions to the Welterweight division.

Lightweight division

Despite its small size, the Lightweight division has only gained four new fighters, two of whom used to compete in the Featherweight class. However, each one of them is a name that martial arts fans are – or should be – acquainted with. The most important among them is without doubt Pralong Sangsomwong, a Muay Thai legend who achieved great success in J-1 kickboxing promotion (which means that him coming to ALPHA-1 instead of J-1’s Full Contact Combat promotion is an even bigger deal) and who took MMA by storm, winning 3 out of 3 bouts in such a dominant manner, that – along with his past achievements – have earned him a #4 on Blurcat’s World Lightweight list and #25 on World Pound 4 Pound. Another World ranker, at #19, is the American Bernie Cohen, who despite his ungainly look is a BJJ brown belt and a talented Muay Thai fighter with a respectable 12-4 record and even more respectable in this division 6’1 in height. The two Featherweight converts, Kei Maki (an elite kickboxer with a 3-0 MMA record) and Yagi Jokichi (a world class Seidokaikan Karate fighter with impressive ground skill and a 4-0 record in MMA) are both youngsters loaded with potential and we look forward to seeing them in action.
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Unread 01-03-2017, 04:26 PM
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ALPHA-1 Warriors of the Ring, February 8th 1998


ALPHA-1 Welterweight Division
“White Hope” Kafu Bunya (9-0, III 4th) vs. “The Spirit of Ancients” Jungo Futagawa (16-8, III 1st)

Despite Bunya’s more stellar record, the betting odds were actually slightly against him, perhaps due to him being an unknown quality or to the doubts that have been expressed about his lack of striking power. Futagawa’s a Muay Thai veteran, so his knees and elbows always carry some fight-ending potential, while Bunya’s T’ai Chi can at times seem too “sophisticated” for MMA.

His sophistication certainly payed off in the first minutes of the match, with him avoiding all the blows and scoring some scorching punches and a hard counter leg kick. The fighters spent most of the inaugural 10 minute round on relatively ineffectual striking from constantly changing distances. However, it clearly became clear that the White Hope had a plan – his leg kicks started mounting and by the last quarter of the first round Futagawa was clearly favouring one leg. Round 2 and 3 went mostly the same, with Futagawa unable to find a clinch and Bunya finding light counters and leg kicks. It wasn’t an entertaining spectacle by any means, and the final unanimous decision giving the match to Bunya wasn’t met with much enthusiasm from the audience. The dominating performance by Bunya found appreciation form the ALPHA-1 Ranking Committee, however, awarding him a place in Tier II (pushing Bakin Sakamoto into Tier III and making his challenge of Chew Chua even more a matter of life and death in the Welterweight Division).

Kafu Bunya (10-0, II 5th) def. Jungo Futagawa (16-9, IV 1st) by unanimous decision in an Awful rated match.


ALPHA-1 Light Heavyweight Division
Naoki Itoh (22-15, III 1st) vs. “The Iron Wolverine” Gekko Goto (5-0, II 5th)

This time, the veteran was not the betting favourite. No wonder – with Itoh’s total lack of ground game or submission defence, his only chance in this match against a submission fighter such as Goto was to hit a big hand (probably while stuffing a takedown attempt) and knock Goto out or follow up with ground & pound.

And this is what almost happened 15 seconds into the match, with Itoh countering a misguided jab with a barrage of lefts and putting Goto down. The youngster was alert moments after that, however, and Itoh let him stand up rather than risk getting into his embrace. A minute later Itoh managed to score some more big lefts, which set Goto up for a powerful left kick to the head. The Wolverine hit the ground again, and again Itoh did not pursue into his opponent’s favourite territory. Itoh kept winning the striking game for the rest of the round, avoiding two takedown attempts and keeping Goto at a distance. However, he was starting to look gassed by the end of it. The second round finally saw Goto get Itoh to the ground, as he managed to pull the veteran into a grappling contest and, seeing that his takedown attempts did not work, he simply slammed Naoki. From there on the match was basically decided, as the Iron Wolverine got into side control, beautifully trapped an arm and submitted Itoh with a tight armbar. This time the crowd was extremely enthusiastic, they apparently enjoyed how action-packed the match was and how quickly the tide turned. That hard-fought victory got Goto only one step higher in the Ranking, but it certainly won him recognition among the MMA fans.

“The Iron Wolverine” Gekko Goto (6-0, II 4th) def. Naoki Itoh (22-16, III 3rd) with a submission (armbar) in 3:39 of round 2, in a Fantastic rated match


ALPHA-1 Heavyweight Division CO-MAIN EVENT
Gyokusho “Fujizilla” Fujimoto (6-0, II 5th) vs. Ikuhisa Tamura (19-8, II 3rd)

The fight between two J-1 campmates, both known for their powerful punching, was always expected to be a slugfest. Tamura didn’t seem to get the memo, however, keeping his guard way too low and eating a few jabs as a result. 4” of reach advantage really played to Fujizilla’s advantage here, with him scoring way more strikes and halting the enemy’s advance with jabs, until near the end of round 1 a barrage of punches hit home and knocked Tamura down. Fujimoto welcomed the chance to rest up for the last minute while throwing hard knees in side control. The next round went much the same, with Fujimoto dominating in the striking game – which is perhaps not too surprising, considering Tamura was a wrestler first and transitioned to more boxing-focused style during his MMA career, while Fujimoto came into MMA as an elite-level kickboxing prospect. An especially beautiful right cross by Gyokusho saw his opponent throw a desperate glance to his corner, perhaps looking for a better gameplan. None came, however. Instead, Fujimoto’s powerful leg kicks finally paid off and Tamura ended up falling down as they failed to support his weight. This was apparently what Fujimoto was waiting for, as he immediately jumped in with a bomb that knocked Tamura out cold without any need for further ground & pound.

After the match Tamura claimed his camp didn’t go as well as it should have, which could be just him being sour after losing his spot to a youngster barely 22 years old, or could indicate that J-1 have decided on who’s the better prospect between those two. The judges of ALPHA-1 Ranking Committee certainly decided on that, too, as the two man switched in rankings.

Gyokusho Fujimoto (7-0, II 3rd) def. Ikuhisa Tamura (19-9, II 5th) by knock out (punch) in 2:28 of round 3, in a Decent rated match


ALPHA-1 Lightweight Division MAIN EVENT
Naizen Hamacho (7-0, I 5th) vs. Shizuya Nakae (23-11, I 4th)

The main event of the night could be seen as controversial. For some in the MMA world, it was a big statement by ALPHA-1 as they showed they were not afraid to pit two of the top fighters of Lightweight Division against each other on free TV. For others, it was a clear case of feeding a veteran with a doubt-filling record to a relatively talented youngster in order to build him up as a competitor. Indeed, it could be argued that Hamacho is a much less impressive kickboxer than Gyokusho Fujimoto we saw earlier that night (if such a comparison across so many weight classes makes any sense) and that he was facing an enemy way less skilled in fistfighting.

Nakae was seemingly trying to naysay the detractors by fighting toe to toe with Hamacho and, despite losing most of the exchanges, managed a few crisp hits and some nice cover-ups. A takedown attempt was stuffed with a big punch, however, and Nakae couldn’t manage to come back to striking afterwards, instead failing repeated attempts at takedowns, from jumping at Hamacho, to attempted slams, to grappling into ropes and trying a takedown from there.

Round two saw Nakae coming back to striking with some nice defence and good counters. His takedown attempts still didn’t work, however, and Hamacho decided to go at him, stalk him into a corner and attack quickly at the slightest chance. An opening after a bad punch 30 seconds before the end of the round allowed Naizen to strike some hard lefts, but Nakae’s instinctive takedown attempt let him make it to the end of the round alive. The third round went very uneventful in comparison, with Nakae dead set on getting Hamacho on the ground, and Hamacho content with just keeping the veteran at bay and peppering him with occasional strikes, which unsurprisingly resulted in the 23-year-old youngster getting a decision win to end a match that wasn’t bad, but was much less than ALPHA-1 would have hoped from their first main event under a new management. The Rank change, perhaps due to the even and uneventful nature of the bout, was also not too spectacular, with the fighters trading places.

Naizen Hamacho (8-0, I 4th) def. Shizuya Nakae (23-12, I 5th) by unanimous decision in an Average rated match.



Overall, the quality of the matches was all over the place, but all things considered it was decent in terms of quality and brought a respectable audience that came out entertained. The changes to the Ranking were not spectacular, and it remains to be seen how much it really matters in the long term.

Attendance: 2,161 for a gate of $172,880
TV Audience: 145,000
Critical Rating: Decent
Commercial Rating: Great
Fight & Submission OTN: Gekko Goto (vs. Naoki Itoh)
KO OTN: Gyokusho Fujimoto (vs. Ikuhisa Tamura)

***
After a delay, the dynasty comes back! I know that despite no predicitons some people at least clicked the thread, so to those readers: welcome and feel free to tell me what you think! I am reposting prediction cards for the next two PPVs below in case anybody decided they wanted to predict after all. Cheers!

ALPHA-1: Miyagi vs. da Guia 1.03.1998 Prediction Card:
ME Welterweight Title Match: Ichisake Miyagi (21-3, I 1st) v Carlos da Guia (c) (15-0, I 2nd)
SME Heavyweight: Hiro Arai (14-4, II 1st) v Kunimichi Kikuchi (25-3, I 2nd)
Welterweight: Bakin Sakamoto (19-9, II 5th) v Chew Chua (17-4, I 5th)
Middleweight: Ieyoshi Yamashita (22-10, I 5th) v Kojuro Kudo (10-2-1 NC, II 2nd)
Middleweight: Tadao Miyazaki (7-0, III 1st) v Dokuohtei Kuroki (33-13, II 1st)
Light Heavyweight: Eisaku Nozaki (6-2, III 2nd) v Osamu Dan (5-1, III 3rd)


ALPHA-1: Hayashi vs. Hojo, 5.04.1998 Prediction Card:

ME Lightweight Title Match: Fumiaki Hayashi (c) (16-4, I 2nd) v Motoki Hojo (15-3, I 1st)
SME Welterweight: Syed Tan (13-2-1, I 4th) v Fukusaburu Hirano (10-0-1, II 1st)
Middleweight: Oleg Dorosklov (0-0, Newcomer) v Genki Shinashi (6-1, III 3rd)
Heavyweight: Ari Peltonen (23-7, I 5th) v Gerson Mauricio (8-0, II 4th)
Light Heavyweight: Inejiro Chiba (15-5, II 3rd) v Ebizo Fujishima (24-12, II 4th)
Heavyweight: Felipe Luiz Rosa (11-5, III 2nd) v Eien Kawano (3-0, III 4th)
Welterweight: Chikafusa Abukara (16-5, IV 1st) v Chojiro Goto (8-2, III 2nd)
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NEW CARD ANNOUNCEMENT

ALPHA-1 Warriors of the Ring - March 29th, 1998

The March edition of Warriors of the Ring has been dubbed “The Debut Show” and for a good reason, as three out of four matches held there will be Newcomers’ Tournament in the Middlewieght Division. There are eight new fighters in that division, but ALPHA-1 Management decided that only four of them will be competing in a mini-tournament – perhaps due to the fact that there’s not enough space on the show for 7 matches, or maybe because Oleg Dorosklov is already preparing for another fight and Jonathan Huang’s way too expensive to have him potentially fight three times on free TV. Therefore, according to ALPHA-1 rules, both finalists of the tournament will count as having passed the Newcomers’ Gauntlet and will be seeded into the ALPHA-1 Tier Ranking.

In the first match of the night Fumiki Ikeda (5-0) will be facing Kadonomaro Deguchi (2-0). Ikeda is an ex-pro wrestler, which in Japan means his body has gone through hell, but he did learn how to be tough. With his legitimately threatening submissions and ground game, as well as good all-round skills, he comes into this tournament with a not unreasonable hope of extending his winning streak. Deguchi, a hot prospect from Team Top Japan, is – despite being only 22 – one of the most decorated amateur wrestlers that Japan has ever seen. He is a phenomenal wrestler specialising in takedowns and top control, but doesn’t have much in the submissions department, so it remains to be seen whether he will be able to smother Ikeda into a win.

The other tournament semi-final features the second highest profile signing for the division. Sebastian Schiller (3-2), taking on Tetsuji Myojin (4-0). Schiller is a Muay Thai legend and with a good reason, but he is 34 and his record is less than stellar due to his non-existent ground skill. Perhaps this is why he was put against “Rampage” Myojin, a young Sambo student whose diverse skills should make him a good test for Schiller – and perhaps allow him to score an upset.

The main event of the night is a real treat, as the winner will be named the next ALPHA-1 Heavyweight Title contender! Mason Archer (15-3, I 4th) will be fighting Armen Sarkisian (22-2, I 3rd). Sarkisian, an Armenian powerhouse from Euro Team Thunder, is considered by Blurcat to be the fourth best Heavyweight in the world (the fact he’s only third in Tier I is a testament to the division’s talent depth) and 21st best fighter pound for pound. He has earned his fearsome reputation and impressive record through some of the best Greco-Roman wrestling ever seen in MMA, combined with incredibly powerful fists and a great strategic mind honed by the years of experience collected first in Europe and more recently in Japan. His opponent, standing at the impressive 6’8, is no slouch either. Mason, a Slaughterhouse member hailing from Canada, combines his long reach with his Kyukushin karate training, especially with his great long jabs and some of the best kicks you will ever see. Vulnerable on the ground, he will have to try and knock Sarkisian out or keep him at distance and pepper with shots if he wishes to fulfil his dream of holding the ALPHA-1 Heavyweight Title.


ALPHA-1: Warriors of the Ring 29.03.1998 Prediction Card:
ME Heavyweight Contendership Match: Mason Archer (15-3, I 4th) vs. Armen Sarkisian (22-2, I 3rd)
SME Middleweight Newcomers’ Tournament Final: Winner of SF1 vs. Winner of SF2
Middleweight Newcomers’ Tournament Semi-Final 2: Sebastian Schiller (3-2) vs. Tetsuji Myojin (4-0)
Middleweight Newcomers’ Tournament Semi-Final 1: Fumiki Ikeda (5-0) vs. Kadonomaro Deguchi (2-0)
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