Hatsu Hioki Vacates SHOOTO Belt for UFC
Hatsu Hioki vacates his post as the SHOOTO lightweight champion to head on to UFC. Will the promotion acquire another top-ranked featherweight talent?
Japanese featherweight fighter, Hatsu Hioki, declined an offer to duel against DREAM featherweight champion – Hiroyuki Takeya – at DREAM 17. The former also announced last Tuesday that he will be vacating his lightweight title to head on to UFC 131 as a guest. His associate and representative, Shu Hirata, also added that all signs point to contract negotiations.
Hatsu Hioki is also a Sengoku featherweight champion with one remaining fight left on his contract with its promoter, World Victory Road. However, it is still unknown whether Sengoku will ever return due to its current financial crisis. Hatsu Hioki won the SHOOTO belt a year ago by defeating Takeshi Inoue via split decision. Last December, he added the Sengoku belt on his shelf with a unanimous decision win over Marlon Sandro. That said, Hatsu Hioki has long been considered as one of the best fighters in the 145-pound division.View Article Source »