Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying. It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though! But after a couple of months of being back in England […]
Archive for December, 2012
The Axe Murderer is coming back to Japanese soil! On March 3rd the UFC will be coming back across the Pacific to the shores of Japan for UFC on Fuel TV 8, and they’ve announced a pretty good fight card for it too, as well as releasing the tickets this afternoon.
One year after Benson Henderson won the UFC Lightweight Championship belt at UFC 144 The main event will be Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva vs Brian Stann. Japan is something a little special for both of these fighters. For Silva, it is where he became a legend in the eyes of the Japanese MMA fans. His all-out fighting style won him masses of fans, and the middleweight belt back in the Pride FC days. While his best days are probably behind him, there’s no doubt he’ll be wanting to put on a big show for the people who gave him almost god-like status for a number of years. And Brian Stann, former US Marine, was born on Yokota Air Base in Japan. He’s a solid fighter, and getting top billing on the card should ensure he gets plenty of support from the US military community around Japan.
Mark Hunt is also on the main card and he’s got a big following too in Japan, following his Pride FC days. His fight with Stefan Struve should be a very good one, with an interesting mix of styles and body shapes!
The rest of the card doesn’t shape up too badly either. The card in full at the moment is:
- Wanderlei Silva vs Brian Stann
- Stefan Struve vs Mark Hunt
- Takanori Gomi vs Diego Sanchez
- Dong-Hyun Kim vs Siyar Bahadurzada
- Riki fukuda vs Brad Tavares
- Takeya Mizugaki vs Brian Caraway
- Hyun Gyu Lim vs Marcelo Guimaraes
- Kyung Ho Kang vs Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres
- Kazuki Tokudome vs Christiano Marcello
Am pretty pleased they’re stacking the card with Japanese talent too. They’ve also announced the UFC Fight Club Japan which I’m considering joining too, and seem to be making a strong effort to promote Japanese fighters and the UFC within Japan.
The UFC also released tickets today on the almost impossible to navigate well ticket.tickebo.jp. I think I’ve got myself a pair of tickets but to be honest I’ve no idea and will only find out for sure when I go to the convenience store to pay for them. The much more professional E-Plus site will have tickets available from next Friday, but I like to be first in line to try and get good seats for my money.
Looking forward to the card already, especially as I’ve gone up a rank in seats this time so will be a little closer to the action.
At 9:51 this morning a rocket was fired from northwestern DPRK into the skies, heading south. The rocket flew over southern Japan, namely Okinawa and going right over the island of Ishigaki, with the last pieces of debris falling into the ocean near the Philippines, early reports are saying.
Whether this was actually an attempted satellite launch (unknown yet if it was a success or not) as the DPRK are claiming, or a long-range missile test is up for debate, but it seems to have traveled further than previous attempts, and I think I’ve lost on the sweepstake (my money was on a flight time of 2 minutes).
The launch was followed by the phones at work suddenly going crazy with emails from the Prefectural Office warning everyone of impending doom, and just as they were coming through I heard fighters scramble from Kadena US Air Force base here in Okinawa. And with fair reason, if you look below at this image from BBC News.
The planned launch was due to fly right over Ishigaki, and early reports are saying it stuck to its course pretty well. Now I haven’t got my ruler and measuring tape out, but it certainly looks like it’s gone much further than any previous launches, and the DPRK government, you would expect, would be pleased. If it was a satellite launch, whether the satellite has actually reached an orbit will be determined over the coming hours and days.
But once again the theme from the Japanese government has been, “Lots of rhetoric, no action”. Just days ago, we were told that the Japanese military had been told by the government to shoot down the rocket should any part of it threaten to fall on Japanese territory. If the rocket has stuck to its course then it’s gone right over a Japanese island and through the Okinawan prefecture, with the Japanese government stating no attempt was made to bring it down. Now the only explanations are:
- The Defence Ministry had supreme confidence that the launch was successful and was therefore posing no danger to Japanese people.
- They thought seeing as it was going over Okinawa it wasn’t worth the effort.
Now call me a cynic (probably one of the kinder things I’ve been called) but if that launch had gone over Tokyo (where they’d put PAC 3 launchers on the top of the Defence Ministry building) then there’s no doubt it would have been downed.
Anyway, that’s the excitement from Japan right now. I’m expecting some disappointment from the opposition LDP party, who are expected to come back into power at next week’s election. I am fairly confident they were hoping it would come closer to the mainland, so they could shoot it down and strengthen their claims that Japan’s military (sorry, self-defence forces) should be expanded.
Will update if I hear anything more of real interest.
UPDATE: The Japanese government has made a statement regarding the launch. They have described it as… wait for it… “extremely regrettable”. Almost spat out my coffee when I read that! You just knew that word was going to crop up!
UPDATE 2: The US is now reporting that an object has been put into space by the rocket. So it’s looking like this launch was a clear success.