If you’ve been following MMA for any amount of time you’ve surely heard the talk that Japanese MMA is on the decline. The fighters that have ventured outside of the Japanese circuit have not met with great success as of late.  Fighters such as Yoshihiro Akiyama, Michihiro Omigawa, Shinya Aoki, Kid Yamamoto and Takanori Gomi have all struggled outside of the confines of Japanese MMA. One young fighter has a chance to right that ship, Satoshi Ishii.

Ishii, a 25 year old Olympic Gold Medalist in Judo, will have the chance to make a name for himself on New Year’s Eve when he faces the legendary Fedor Emelianenko on a Dream card. So, what makes Ishii so special, why is he the potential savior for Japanese MMA?

For one, his Olympic Judo background is a strong base for him to build upon. Ishii has a silver medal in the 2006 Asian Games, a gold medal in the 2007 Universiade, and a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics.  The other advantage that Ishii has is that he has done almost all of MMA training with some of the best team’s that America has to offer. Those teams include American Top Team, Xtreme Couture and his current gym Mark Munoz’s Reign Training Center. Training with fighters such as Wanderlei Silva, Shogun Rua, Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem is something that can only help the young up and coming fighter as continues his MMA career.

Ishii is 4-1-1 in his MMA career with his last fight taking place on September 14 against Paulo Filho.  That bout was deemed a draw.  The only loss of Ishii’s career came in his first professional MMA bout, which took place on New Year’s Eve 2009.

Ishii’s recently said, “My main goal is to make it into the Ultimate Fighting Championships and ultimately become a champion.” – for a complete interview with LowKick. Com click here

A victory over Fedor still carries weight in the MMA world, and if Ishii proves victorious on New Year’s Eve it may not be long before he finds himself in the UFC pursuing his ultimate goal and perhaps becoming the new face of Japanese MMA.

What do you think LowKick’ers, who will win on New Year’s Eve Ishii or Fedor?