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Championship fight cancelled after protagonist enters weigh-in way off limit

Yusaku Nakamura made weight for his rematch with Larry DiGiulio. (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The crowning of the first WSOF Global bantamweight champion will happen at a later date.

Brazilian fighter Fernando Vieira failed to make weight for his showdown with Japan's Takafumi Otsuka for the new belt during the official weigh-in of WSOF-GC 4 on Friday in Tokyo.

While the home country hero easily made the 135-pound limit, the Brazilian opponent came in at 142 pounds, a full seven pounds overweight as championship bouts strictly follow the weight limit.

Otsuka, looking to have the fight happen no matter what, gave Vieira 10 hours to make weight, but the latter, through text messages sent to Vice President of Operations Jason Lilly, said that he already left the hotel and backed out of the fight.

“Cancelling this bout is a real disappointment to the fans and Vieira is an embarrassment. Japanese fighters know more than any other what it means to have honor and respect for their opponent. DEEP Fighting Championships, their President Shigeru Saeki, and his opponent Takafumi Otsuka, went above and beyond to try to make this match happen,” Lilly said in a statement early Saturday, or just hours before the start of the event scheduled at 1:30 p.m. (Philippine Time).

However, Otsuka will still appear inside the WSOF cage as he will now take on fellow Japanese Yuta Sasaki in a one-round sparring session.

A veteran in the game, Sasaki now plays in the UFC and is preparing for his fight against Wilson Reis at UFC 208 on Feb. 12 (Philippine Time), and this exhibition match could help him more.

“I want to thank the UFC for allowing one of their rising contenders to participate in our event. It’s a class move on their part and one that the fans will appreciate,” Lilly expressed his gratitude.

Meanwhile, Yusaku Nakamura and Larry DiGiulio both made weight for the main event of the fight card for the inaugural flyweight title.

Nakamura and DiGiulio set up the sequel to their controversial showdown at WSOF-GC 2 after winning in their flyweight championship tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on July 30..

[Related Story: Nakamura, DiGiulio set up blockbuster rematch after ruling title eliminators]

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