World Victory Road’s Sengoku promotion has announced four of the eight fighters that will be competing in its Middleweight Grand Prix beginning at Sengoku 5 on Sept. 28 at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium.
According to a press release received by FiveOuncesOfPain.com on Friday, Jorge Santiago, Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, Siyar Bahadurzada, and former UFC and PRIDE light heavyweight Kazuhiro Nakamura will all be a part of the tournament field.
Santos is a former veteran of PRIDE and the husband of EliteXC female fighter Cris “Cyborg” Santos. The Chute Boxe Academy team member is contracted in the U.S. to the San Jose based Strikeforce promotion but has yet to compete there due to visa issues.
Santiago is a veteran of the UFC and the Art of War promotions. Like Santos, he also also under contract to Strikeforce and won the promotion’s four-man, single night middleweight tournament last November.
Nakamura is a Judoka standout who made a name for himself while competing for PRIDE. He debuted in the UFC at UFC 76 last September, losing to Lyoto Machida via unanimous decision. Following the bout, the California State Athletic Commission suspended him after they claimed he tested positive for marijuana.
He returned at UFC 76, where his UFC record fell to 0-2 in a bout against Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou after he unable to continue past the first round due to a leg injury. After the bout, the UFC decided to release Nakamura from his contract. Sengoku 5 will mark his debut as a middleweight.
Bahadurzada is a native of Afghanistan who competed at the first-ever Sengoku event this past March. His overall MMA record fell to 13-3-1 after submitting to a guillotine choke by Kazuo Misaki at 2:02 of round 2.
The remaining tournament field and first round matchups will be announced at a later date.
The promotion’s next show, Sengoku 4, is scheduled for Aug. 24 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The show will feature the first round of its Lightweight Grand Prix with matchups scheduled between Satoru Kitaoka vs. Clay French, Eiji Mitsuoka vs. Rodrigo Damm, Kazunori Yokota vs. Bojan Kosednar, and Mizuto Hirota vs. IFL lightweight champion Ryan Schultz.
Sengoku has also announced the addition of a heavyweight bout between Takahashi Kazuo vs Valentijn Overeem as a part of the non-tournament portion of the card which already included announced matchups between Takanori Gomi vs. Bang Seung Hwan, Makoto Takimoto vs. Frank Trigg, and Peter Graham vs. Moise Rimbon.