Mark Hunt

Manhoef Tapped to Replace LeBanner at “Dynamite!! 2008”


Melvin Manhoef. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.

Fighting and Entertainment Group, the parent company of DREAM, has announced that two-time K-1 kickboxing champion Jerome LeBanner will not be able to participate in his bout against Mark Hunt at FieLDS Dynamite!! 2008 tomorrow after being hospitalized with the flu.

Melvin Manhoef has been tapped to replace the Frenchman and will fight for the first time since announcing that he was entering into a temporary retirement following a disappointing first-round submission loss to eventful DREAM middleweight grand prix winner Gegard Mousasi in September.

Prior to his loss to Mousasi, Manhoef had defeated Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba in the tournament’s quarterfinal round. Manhoef, a native of Holland, also owns career victories over Ian Freeman and Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos.

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Aoki-Alvarez, Hunt-LeBanner Announced for Dynamite!! 2008


Shinya Aoki. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.

Fighting and Entertainment Group today announced two additional bouts that will take place at K-1’s “Dynamite!! 2008” event on New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan: DREAM lightweight grand prix standouts Shinya Aoki and Eddie Alvarez will clash in a long-awaited battle while former K-1 kickboxers Mark Hunt and Jerome LeBanner will fight for the first time under MMA rules.

Aoki and Alvarez were originally slated to meet in the finals of DREAM’s inaugural lightweight grand prix in July, but Alvarez was forced out of the bout by Japanese officials due to an eye injury suffered in his semi-final fight against Tatsuya Kawajiri. Joachim Hansen replaced Alvarez and went onto upset Aoki with a first-round TKO win.

Since then, Alvarez has been on a temporary hiatus so he could get married in his hometown of Philadelphia while Aoki bounced back with a dominating performance against World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Todd Moore at DREAM.6 on September 23.

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Hansen Claims DREAM’s Lightweight GP


Joachim Hansen. Photo courtesy of DREAM.

Joachim Hansen was the surprise winner of DREAM’s inaugural lightweight grand prix this morning, avenging a past loss to Shinya Aoki by knocking out the skilled grappler in the tournament finals despite starting the night as a reserve.

In a dramatic turn of events, Hansen was pushed into the lightweight title main event after Eddie Alvarez was unable to compete due to injury. During the first few minutes of his battle against Aoki, it looked as if Hansen was about to fall victim to another submission loss once again, just as he did against Aoki at PRIDE Shockwave 2006 a few years back.

However the tide turned once Hansen landed a strong left hand while falling back to Aoki’s guard. The punch hurt Aoki, allowing Hansen to bomb away with unanswered right hands until Aoki stopped responding and referee Yuji Shimada was forced to stop the bout. An elated Hansen jumped into the arms of his corner. After composing himself, Hansen was quick to push for a rematch of his war against Alvarez earlier this year as his first official title defense.

“This still has to sink in a little,” Hansen said after the fight. “I am the sort of person who takes one thing at a time, so I concentrated on Kultar Gill (whom Hansen defeated via TKO earlier in the night) and felt a little strange going into the final match, so I took my time and looked for the right chance to strike. I had a great night, thanks to my team and everybody who helped me, and next time I hope to defend my title against Eddie Alvarez.”

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DREAM.5 Live Results

We will be going live at 2:00 AM ET with live results of tomorrow morning’s DREAM.5 event, which will take place at the Osaka Castle Hall in Japan. Those in North America will be able to watch the event live on HDNet tomorrow morning at 2 AM ET. It will air again via tape delay at 10 PM ET as well.

The show features the final round of the promotion’s inaugural lightweight grand prix - Eddie Alvarez, Caol Uno, Shinya Aoki, and Tatsuya Kawajiri will battle it out in a four-man tournament with the winners facing off for the GP title in the night’s main event. Additional featured bouts include a slugfest between Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem as well as a lightweight tourney reserve bout between Joachim Hansen and “Black Mamba” Kultar Gill.

Be sure to leave comments throughout the morning. Detailed live results are after the jump.

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Two Bouts Finalize Monday’s DREAM.5 Card


Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem. Photo courtesy of FEG.

Two additional bouts have been added to Monday’s DREAM.5 event in Japan, finalizing a card which will feature the finals of the promotion’s inaugural lightweight grand prix. Those in North America will be able to watch the event live on HDNet tomorrow morning at 2 AM ET. It will air again via tape delay at 10 PM ET as well.

Urijah-Faber trained Joe Benavidez, who was originally slated to take on pound-for-pound phenom Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, will go up against Shooto veteran Junya “Kodo” Kudo. Bendavidez is undefeated in seven professional fights, last submitting Maurice Eazel at a Palace Fighting Championship event in May. Kudo suffered his first career loss in June, dropping an unanimous decision to So Tazawa.

Yamamoto was forced to withdraw from the show after suffering a knee injury during a recent training session. A failed flying knee attempt caused an awkward landing and the sound of a pop inside of Kid’s right leg. An MRI shows that Yamamoto suffered a partial tear of his right anterior cruciate ligament, however it won’t be determined whether surgery is necessary or not until sometime next week.

“It’s unfortunate that Kid got injured and I want to thank my opponent for taking the fight on short notice,” Benavidez at the pre-fight press conference yesterday in Japan. “I am focused on the opponent I have now, and I just want to go in and get the win.”

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Report: Overeem Tapped to Face Hunt


Alistair Overeem. Photo by Jon Swenson.

Dutch striker Alistair Overeem will reportedly replace an injured Jerome LeBanner against former PRIDE heavyweight contender Mark Hunt in a late addition to Monday’s DREAM.5 event in Japan, which will feature the finals of the promotion’s inaugural lightweight grand prix.

The news comes from The Fight Network, which has confirmed the bout with Overeem himself. DREAM officials are expected to officially announce the bout over the next day or so. LeBanner was forced to withdraw from the fight after suffering injuries during a recent K-1 kickboxing bout against Semmy Schilt.

Overeem last knocked out one-time PRIDE veteran Tae Hyun Lee in the first round at DREAM.4 in June. Prior to that, he forced Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Paul Buentello to tap out due to injuries received from knees to the body at Strikeforce’s “Four Men Enter, One Man Survives” event in November of last year. The win earned Overeem the vacant Strkeforce heavyweight belt.

Meanwhile after nearly five years as a professional kickboxer, Hunt bursted onto the MMA scene in 2004 and quickly shocked the world with consecutive upsets over Wanderlei Silva and Filipovic. Since then the New Zealand native has split his last four fights and has been concentrating on his part-time pro wrestling career during his time off since the demise of the PRIDE Fighting Championships.

Hunt Not Returning Against LeBanner at DREAM.5 (Updated)


Mark Hunt throws a left hand at Semmy Schilt. Photo courtesy of FEG.

Update 11:25 PM ET: MMA Weekly has now updated their article, stating that Hunt has informed them he will actually not be fighting LeBanner at the event due to injuries the Frenchman sustained in his recent kickboxing bout against Semmy Schilt. While it’s not set in stone that Hunt will still compete on the card, DREAM officials are currently searching for a replacement opponent.

While DREAM officials have yet to announce the bout, former PRIDE heavyweight contender Mark Hunt will return to action, replacing an injured Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, against fellow former K-1 kickboxer Jerome LeBanner at the organization’s upcoming fifth show on July 21st in Japan.

Hunt confirmed the bout himself in a recent interview with MMA Weekly. It will mark the fifth time in his career in which Hunt will have faced LeBanner in a combat sport. LeBanner owns three wins over hunt inside the confines of K-1.

“Yes, I’m fighting LeBanner,” Hunt said in the report. “He fought not long ago against Semmy Schilt (under K-1 rules), but that’s not my problem. I’m feeling good, looking forward to the fight and being back in MMA. Looking forward to hopefully get my first submission.”

The aforementioned bout between LeBanner and Schilt took place less than two weeks ago, leaving many questions in terms of LeBanner’s health, especially since the fight went to a decision. LeBanner has not fought under MMA rules since knocking out Jimmy Ambriz at a K-1 Hero’s event over two years ago.

Meanwhile after nearly five years as a professional kickboxer, Hunt bursted onto the MMA scene in 2004 and quickly shocked the world with consecutive upsets over Wanderlei Silva and Filipovic. Since then the New Zealand native has split his last four fights and has been concentrating on his part-time pro wrestling career during his time off since the demise of the PRIDE Fighting Championships.

Schilt Defeats Hunt at K-1 World Grand Prix


Mark Hunt throws a left hand at Semmy Schilt. Photo courtesy of FEG.

The 2008 K-1 World Grand Prix ended with a bang as defending champion Semmy Schilt put opponent Mark Hunt down for the count in the night’s main event in front of 10,629 at Japan’s Yokohama Arena.

Hunt, who was fighting in his first kickboxing match since taking a five-year hiatus to focus on mixed martial arts, traded leg kicks early and often with Schilt. However the strategy eventually worked against Hunt. His movement around the ring was inhibited due to sustained damage suffered courtesy of Schilt’s long legs.

After knocking the wind out of Hunt with a knee, Schilt pressed forward and ultimately sent Hunt down for good with a David Loiseau-like spinning back kick.

“We practiced the spinning back kick in training,” Schilt said in a post-fight interview. “But I didn’t know it would work out so well. I’m glad I won because he was also a GP Champion, so now I have beaten all the active K-1 Champs.”

Complete results from the event are after the jump.

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Hunt to Make DREAM Debut in May


Mark Hunt throws a left hand at Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.

Former PRIDE heavyweight contender Mark Hunt, who has not fought since being submitted by Fedor Emelianenko on New Year’s Eve 2006, has revealed that he will be returning to active competition in mixed martial arts this May.

The news comes from Rogue Magazine, who recently sat down for an interview with the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix champion.

According to Hunt, he will be fighting inside the confines of DREAM after taking on Semmy Schilt in a K-1 bout at the organization’s world grand prix in April.

‘My contract with K-1 only has one kickboxing match, the rest of my fights will be under MMA rules,” Hunt said in the interview. K-1 and DREAM are partners so my fights will fall under the new promotion. It’s good, suits me fine. I didn’t really want to fight K-1 since I’ve already won the title but I’m always up for a challenge.”

So are there any potential opponents for Hunt? Interestingly enough, he seemed to beat around the bush when Fedor was put into the equation.

“A fight against Fedor Emelianenko is another fight that will happen in the near future,” Hunt said. “That’s it for the moment though, I can’t say anymore about it.”

After nearly five years as a professional kickboxer, Hunt bursted onto the MMA scene in 2004 and quickly shocked the world with consecutive upsets over Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Cro Cop. Since then the New Zealand native has split his last four fights and has been concentrating on his part-time pro wrestling career during his time off since the demise of PRIDE.

Touch of gloves to MMA Man Japan for the find.

Monson Says Fedor Fight is Good Possibility

Former UFC heavyweight contender Jeff Monson is currently in New Zealand as a special guest for Hextreme Events: Carnage in the Cage set to take place later tonight (Saturday in New Zealand).

Rogue Magazine was able to sit down with the MMA veteran and ask him a few questions, including the prospects of him fighting Fedor Emelianenko in M-1 at some point next year.

Monson believes that the fight is nearly official:

“Yeah it looks like a go,” said Monson. “I can’t wait to have a shot at who most call the best guy out there. It’s a good possibility at the moment but hopefully we get this fight official soon enough. The first time that I was supposed to fight him it didn’t happen but this time the possibility is great so I’m very excited.”

M-1 officials stated at a press conference earlier in the year that they were currently in talks with Monson. They also noted they are looking at PRIDE veterans Josh Barnett and Mark Hunt as well.

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