Hideo Tokoro. Photo courtesy of DREAM.
Hideo Tokoro bested fellow submission specialist Masakazu Imanari via unanimous decision to win DREAM's inaugural bantamweight grand prix tournament at the organization's "Fight for Japan: Japan Grand Prix Final" event on Saturday at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan.
A pair of title defenses also took place: Hiroyuki Takaya grinded out a hard-fought split decision win over former Olympic wrestler Kazuyuki Miyata and Gegard Mousasi took out challenger Hiroshi Izumi in quick and impressive fashion, scoring a first round stoppage of the Japanese judoka.
Another notable winners on the card included world-ranked lightweight Tatsuya Kawajiri, DREAM welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis and DREAM bantamweight grand prix third-place winner Kenji Osawa.
Gegard Mousasi. Photo courtesy of DREAM.
All sixteen fighters scheduled to compete at DREAM's "Fight for Japan: Japan Grand Prix Final" event on Saturday successfully made weight yesterday afternoon.
Seasoned veteran Drew Fickett originally came in two pounds over the 154-lb limit for his fight against Tatsuya Kawajiri, but shed the extra weight and hit the required mark a couple of hours later.
The eight-fight card, which will not air live in North America, features a pair of title fights - DREAM light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi taking on Hiroshi Izumi and featherweight title holder Hiroyuki Takaya returning to face Kazuyuki Miyata - as well as the bantamweight grand prix finals featuring submission specialists Masakazu Imanari and Hideo Tokoro.
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto throws a left hand at Genki Sudo. Photo courtesy of FEG.
Japanese stars Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto and Tatsuya Kawajiri are expected to appear on the upcoming DREAM.11 event scheduled for October 6 at the Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa, Japan. No opponents have been named at this time.
DREAM.11 will air live on HDNet and features the DREAM featherweight grand prix semi-final and final along with the semi-final for the “Super Hulk” tournament.
Kid Yamamoto. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.
Here are your quick hits for the afternoon of June 18, 2009.
— Former pound-for-pound phenom Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto will return to action a little less than two months after suffering his first professional MMA loss in seven years at K-1’s “World MAX 2009” event on July 13 in a kickboxing bout. “Kid” will be fighting Jae hee Cheon in a three-round matchup. Other notable MMA fighters competing include Tatsuya Kawajiri and Atsushi Yamamoto. [Japan-MMA.com]
— Longtime veteran Dennis Hallman will now be facing training partner Justin Davis in a catch-weight bout at tomorrow night’s “Strikeforce Challengers: Villasenor vs. Cyborg” event at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington. Hallman was originally slated to take on Cedric Marks, who was forced out of the bout after reportedly competing this past weekend and acquiring a medical suspension because of it. A lightweight bout between Jorge Gurgel and Conor Heun will also now be contested at a catch-weight of 160 lbs. [MMA Junkie]
Brandon Vera. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
A light heavyweight bout between Muay Thai expert Brandon Vera and “Ultimate Fighter 3” standout Matt Hamill will likely take place at UFC 101, which is slated to take place on August 8 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both fighters have agreed to the bout and the paperwork is expected to be finalized in the coming days. [MMA Madness]
Two-time K-1 Hero’s middleweight tournament champion Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante has reportedly agreed to face Japanese veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri at DREAM.9 on May 26. Cavalcante has not fought since dropping a unanimous decision to Shinya Aoki in the first round of last year’s DREAM lightweight grand prix due to injury while Kawajiri last submitted Ross Ebanez at DREAM.7 earlier this month. [Sherdog]
Former professional boxer and American Top Team member Alessio Sakara will reportedly return to action at UFC 99, which takes place on June 13 in Cologne, Germany, against Brazilian grappler Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares. Sakara last competed at UFC Fight Night 15 last September, where he scored a highlight reel knockout of Joe Vedepo while Palhares recently decisioned Jeremy Horn at UFC 93 in January. [MMA Weekly]
“Kid” Yamamoto. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.
DREAM parent company Fighting and Entertainment Group today revealed the promotion’s schedule for the new year, with DREAM’s first show being held on March 8 at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan and featuring the opening rounds of the organization’s inaugural featherweight and welterweight grand prix tournaments.
In total, DREAM will put on seven total shows in ‘09. Solidified dates for shows include April 5 at Nippon Gaishi Hall and December 31 at the Saitama Super Arena for the annual year-end K-1 Dynamite show. DREAM officials are also planning to hold shows in May, July, September, and October.
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.”
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.
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.”
Eddie Alvarez throws one of his many successful right hands in the first round of his fight last night in Japan against Joachim Hansen. Alvarez won an unanimous decision to move on in DREAM’s inaugural lightweight grand prix. Photo courtesy of FEG.
Eddie Alvarez and Caol Uno each pulled off surprising upsets in the second-round of DREAM’s inaugural lightweight grand prix tournament late last night in Japan to solidify their respective spots in the finals later this summer.
The 21,789 that witnessed DREAM’s third effort this year inside the Saitama Super Arena also saw Uno, who fought as a late-entrant into the tourney, overcome a ring-rust filled first round to eventually submit top-ranked Mitsuhiro Ishida with a rear naked choke in the second round.
The first minute of the fight had both fighters content to paw away with short jabs while measuring the distance between one another. Uno picked up the action in the form of leg kicks while Ishida attempted to counter Uno’s kicks with lefts. An errant kick to the groin by Ishida forced Uno to take some time to recover, but the veteran quickly got his bearings back and knocked Ishida down with a crisp right, opening a cut on the bridge of his nose that forced the ringside doctor to stop the clock for a quick check.
Ishida scored a single-leg takedown with about a minute left in the first stanza but Uno was able to reverse position and control his opponent from top position during the closing moments, potentially earning back the round in his favor. After another feeling-out period started the second round, a scramble on the ground saw Uno quickly take Ishida’s back and sink-in the fight-ending choke from behind.
“I know Ishida was eager to fight me,” Uno said after the fight, “He was aggressive and was obviously confident, but I’m the one going home with the win. I’m very happy to be advancing in the tournament.”