Mamoru Yamaguchi/Jussier da Silva Set For TPF 10
A report on Sherdog.com earlier today disclosed that Mamoru Yamaguchi (#2 Flyweight) and Jussier da Silva (#4 Flyweight) are now set to meet at Tachi Palace Fights 10, coming up on August 5th. This bout will join the Flyweight title fight between Darrell Montague (#5 Flyweight) and Ian McCall (#3 Flyweight) in what is shaping up early as one of the best cards the organization has put together. At the very least, we will have a much clearer picture of the Flyweight division, as well as setting up a monumental clash in the division, dare I say it may be the biggest fight in the history of the weight class? No, it probably won’t match up to some of the BJ Kojima, Yasuhiro Urushitani and Yamaguchi matches from Shooto, but still it will be a massive, massive fight for the division and certainly the biggest to take place in North America.
In terms of breaking down the Yamaguchi/da Silva fight, I honestly have no idea how the fight will play out. Mamoru is by far the greater striker, evidenced by his 10 TKOs, and the spectacular nature of some of them; Jussier is the far superior grappler – one only needs to take a look at his fight against Kojima, whom he treated like a grappling dummy; and neither fighter is a particularly accomplished wrestler. It’s a simplistic way to analyze a fight in 2011, but if Jussier can consistently earn takedowns he will win. If not, he could very well end up staring up at the lights for the first time in his career as he comes to. I believe that however this fight plays out, the winner will have a decisive victory, and make an excellent case for himself moving forward into a title shot.
Moving on to look at the organization as a whole, I must say that Tachi Palace Fights is extremely rapidly moving up my list of favorite promotions. I make no bones about my bias towards the lighter weight classes, which harboured a love for the WEC and numerous Japanese promotions in the past. However there was always something missing. For all of the things the WEC did right, they never implemented a Flyweight division, and for as great as Shooto is, their Flyweight division has been stale for a long period of time (partially due to the dominance of the Kojima, Urushitani, Yamaguchi triad) and marred by inconsistent activity and matchmaking. Flyweights were never featured in North America, and never really reached their potential in Japan.
Tachi has stepped into that void over the past few years (when it was known as Palace Fighting Championship), and really cemented itself as the top promotion in the world for Flyweights in the past 12 months. That invariably causes glee on my end, and results in nothing but praise for the organization. Yes, when they venture above the 155 pound mark, the fights are often less than stellar, but I could care less about that. I don’t even find myself particularly interested in their Light, Feather and Bantamweight divisions, despite some intriguing fighters competing in each of those weight classes. Tachi is all about the Flyweights, period. I know where to go to watch the best in the world from 135 on up, but the occasional Shooto card aside, Tachi is the only place an MMA fan can go to consistently watch top Flyweights fight. Embrace this point in time, because much like the WEC featuring lighter weights, eventually Flyweights will migrate to the UFC as well, and for the most part be buried on the undercard.
Tachi allows those athletes a spotlight of their own, and while they don’t have near the exposure of the larger stateside promotions, they have a niche with hardcore MMA fans, and they fit that niche perfectly. I for one would rather see the top 125ers in the world headlining a TPF show than buried on a Fight Night undercard. Is that selfish of me? Perhaps, since the fighters would likely make more in the UFC, but I can’t bear the thought of Mamoru Yamaguchi or Jussier da Silva being forced to an undercard in lieu of the next Junie Browning having a fight on live TV. The Flyweights deserve better, and the best place for them right now is Tachi.