John Chandler here again, breaking down Yarennoka! and K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! fight-by-fight, including detailed predictions along the way.
Yarennoka! features the return of Fedor Emelianenko as he takes on K-1 kickboxer Hong Man Choi. The undercard includes Gilbert Melendez going up against Mitsuhiro Ishida and Kazuo Misaki battling with Yoshihiro Akiyama.
K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! features an astounding total of 13 fights - 7 MMA bouts and 6 kickboxing matches. (I’ll only be previewing the MMA fights) The event is headlined by a main event between long-time Japanese veterans Kazushi Sakuraba and Masakatsu Funaki. Bob Sapp, “Kid” Yamamoto, Kiyoshi Tamura, Melvin Manhoef, and Ikuhisa Minowa will all be in action.
Bukyung Jung will come in as a late injury replacement for Gesias Calvancante against Shinya Aoki in a lightweight bout at Yarennoka!, which will take place on New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The news was posted on the official website for the event earlier today.
Calvancante was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering a setback while recovering from recent knee surgery.
Not much is known about Jung except that he is a former Olympic silver medalist in Judo. Aoki has not fought since he submitted Brian Lo-A-Njoe with an armbar at PRIDE 34: Kamikaze earlier this year.
Touch of gloves to The Fight Network for the find.
Sherdog’s Greg Savage is reporting that the lightweight super-fight between Shinya Aoki and Gesias Calvancante scheduled for the Yarennoka! show on New Year’s Eve may not be happening according to certain sources.
I posted a blurb yesterday about Savage’s comments on his radio show yesterday.
There’s been no indication as to what the real reason might be in terms of why the fight may be canceled/postponed.
It’s rumored that Calvancante is coming off of recent knee surgery and one can only wonder if the reigning K-1 Lightweight Tournament Champion is not healthy enough to compete at the moment. There are no known injuries that Aoki has suffered lately.
If the fight is not happening, M-1 Global CEO Monte Cox has no knowledge of it:
“As far as I know the fight is still happening,” said Cox, “and it is one I am really looking forward to seeing.”
Update 6:00 PM: Sherdog is now reporting that the fight will now be postponed according to information received from Calvancante’s father.
Still no official word on why the fight isn’t taking place but Calvancante has reportedly not been training for this fight at all so I’m going to assume that he’s still not fully recovered from his surgery.
Update 12/23 12:00 PM: The fight is officially cancelled. DEEP officials held a press conference yesterday announcing that the bout would not take place.
Officials running the Yarennoka! show scheduled to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan held a press conference earlier today to announce two additional bouts for the event.
Reigning K-1 lightweight tournament champion Gesias Calvancanti will face Shinya Aoki for the first time in their respective careers.
Calvancanti had a monster year in 2007, stopping Nam Phan, Vitor Ribeiro, and Andre Amade in consecutive fights to win the K-1 Hero’s lightweight tourney for the second straight year. Calvancanti’s lone career loss came at the hands of Joachim Hansen at a Shooto event in 2004.
Aoki is 2-1 so far in 2007, submitting Brian Lo-A-Njoe at PRIDE 34 in April and earning a close split decision win over highly touted welterweight Akira Kikuchi at Shooto’s first “Back to our Roots” show in February.
The second bout announced at the press conference was Hayato “Mach” Sakurai returning to action against Hidehiko Hasegawa.
Sakurai last fought at PRIDE 33 where he knocked out current Ultimate Fighter contestant Mac Danzig.
Sakurai’s confirmed participation as this event should dispel the rumor that he had signed with the UFC to compete at welterweight. The UFC even showed him as a UFC welterweight during a PPV broadcast earlier this year but I’m assuming that contract talks thought to be a done deal may have fell apart. Either that or Sakurai is being lent to the show by Zuffa.
Hasegawa has been fairly active in 2007, earning a majority decision win over Jutaro Nakao in his first bout of the year. Hasegawa then faced Dong Hyun Kim in consecutive fights; Kim defeated Hasegawa in August by TKO before the two fought to a draw last month.
An official opponent for Fedor Emelianenko was not announced at the press conference. Officials present included M-1 Global CEO Monte Cox, FEG president Sadaharu Tanigawa, former PRIDE official Nobuhiko Takada and DEEP president Shigeru Saeki.
While Zuffa has signed a wealth of talent over the past few months, they haven’t locked up every top fighter just yet, including the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter. Here’s your guide to the top ten fighters that currently aren’t under contract with Zuffa (UFC/WEC) courtesy of Scott and myself…
1. Fedor Emelianenko (26-1-0-1) – The best fighter in the world, period. He has beaten a who’s who of heavyweights from around the world and is looking pretty much unstoppable at this point. The only thing we have against him is that he doesn’t fight often enough but it’s technically not his fault anyway. Both K-1 and the UFC are vigorously attempting to sign the hottest free agent on the market right now. Old rumors had him going to the UFC while the latest set has him staying in Japan. Only time will tell where Fedor is going to end up.
2. Josh Barnett (20-5) – Probably the second biggest FA on the market, Barnett hasn’t ruled out signing with any organization. He’s an extremely talented heavyweight and a former UFC Heavyweight Champion at that. Has split a pair of fights with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. His ‘Achilles’ heel’ seems to be Mirko Cro Cop - Barnett has lost to him in three straight tries. Has the skill set to beat anyone in the world. Has said that he would love to return to the US but the guy is a legend in Japan.
3. Matt Lindland (20-5) – The one fighter that the UFC should have never let go. Lindland was set to challenge Rich Franklin for the UFC Middleweight Title until the UFC terminated his contract because of an unapproved sponsor being on his shorts. Lindland has won 5 out of 7 fights since then - his only losses have been against Quinton Jackson and Fedor who both compete in higher weight classes than “The Law”. Has said that he currently does not want to be locked up by a single organization.
4. Takanori Gomi (27-3-0-1) – Gomi was the top ranked lightweight in the world for what seemed like forever until he was submitted by both Marcus Aurelio and Nick Diaz in less than a year. His losses have come against the cream of the crop and he’s beaten just about everyone else out there. Gomi is the current PRIDE Lightweight Champion as well the winner of the PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix in 2005. He has stated that he has no interest in leaving Japan to compete at this time and has publicly said he is interested in signing with K-1.
5. Denis Kang (27-8-1-1) – Reports have Kang signing with K-1 any day now. If he does indeed ink a deal with K-1, he is expected to take on Kazushi Sakuraba in September in what could possibly be Saku’s final fight. Kang put himself on the map by fighting his way to the finals of the PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix, defeating Akihiro Gono, Murilo Rua, and Amar Suloev before ultimately losing a split decision to Kazuo Misaki. He is widely considered one of the most well-rounded middleweights in the world today.
Here are the results from Shooto: Back to Our Roots.
- Atsushi Yamamoto def. Takeya Mizugaki - Decision (Unanimous)
- Koutetsu Boku def. Kenichiro Togashi - Draw
- Yusuke Endo def. Ganjo Tentsuku - Decision (Unanimous)
- Takeshi Inoue def. Hiroyuki Abe - KO (Punch)
- Akitoshi Tamura def. Tenkei Fujimiya - Decision (Unanimous)
- Takashi Nakakura def. Mizuto Hirota - Decision (Unanimous)
- Shinya Aoki def. Akira Kikuchi - Decision (Split)
News and Notes
- MMA journeyman Travis Fulton suffered a KO loss to the hands of former heavyweight contender Lou Savarese.
- Shinya Aoki will make his return to Shooto when he faces Akira Kikuchi in a rematch as he defends his Shooto 167-pound belt.
- UFC veteran Wes Sims will headline the March 22nd Palace Fighting card when he faces Anthony Fuller.
“I like this show. It’s a great setup,” Sims said. “For this being the first show, I’m very happy with the number of people here. If I had to rate this promotion on a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 10 for a small show. If it keeps growing, I think it will be a great big show.”
- The WEC has announced that Versus will begin airing events in the summer. Versus will air three live fights and six one-hour highlight shows.
- NBCSports.com has added the UFC to their sports coverage.
Today Dream Stage Entertainment officially announced two more fights set to take place on Shockwave 2006.
The first fight announced was a lightweight battle between Gilbert Melendez and Tatsuya Kawajiri. Also announced was another lightweight bout which will feature Joachim Hansen and Shinya Aoki.
The card currently looks like this…
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Mark Hunt
Gilbert Melendez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri
Joachim Hansen vs. Shinya Aoki
Sherdog.com is reporting that Gilbert Melendez has been forced to withdraw from his bout against Shinya Aoki at the upcoming Bushido show on November 5th.
Clay French has stepped up to the plate and taken the fight on three days notice. French sports a mixed martial arts record of 8-1 and he is coming off of a loss to UFC veteran Justin James at Extreme Challenge 70.