Sato's on a bit of a roll this summer and has been keeping himself sharp.
He looked good against Yamamoto at the last K1 event.
Then just over a week ago at Krush 9, he defeatd Yuji Nashiro (the younger brother of former boxing champion Nobuo Nashiro). Yuji was an accomplished kickboxing amateur who is 2-1 in K1 (with the loss to Nagashima) and 18-0 with 18 knockouts in MMA. Once he got warmed up, Sato dominated.
Now, do these performances make me favor Sato over a field as deep as this -70kg Final Eight is shaping up to be? No, but they do have me very excited to see how he does.
The southpaw jab does get through to him a bit, and due to his style of coming forward he does take a lot of outside kicks to the lead leg, but overall Sato has one of the better defenses among active kickboxers IMO. He's also just an absolute pest with his pressure, right knees, and leg/arm combos. His body type is almost ideal for the sport as well.