Yoshihiro Akiyama

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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Hansen-Gill, Others Added to DREAM.5


Joachim Hansen. Photo courtesy of DREAM.

DREAM officials announced yesterday three additional bouts for the promotion’s upcoming fifth show on July 21st in Japan. The most high-profile matchup will see former PRIDE lightweight standout Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen go up against Kultar Gill in a lightweight tournament reserve bout.

Hansen was eliminated from the tourney after losing a hard-fought unanimous decision to Eddie Alvarez in a fight-of-the-year candidate in May. He will now take on Gill, who lost an unanimous decision to Tatsuya Kawajiri at the organization’s inaugural show back in March.

Loser of his last four fights, part-time professional wrestler Katsuyori Shibata will try to pick up his first victory in over a year against highly-ranked middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama, who has seen his stock rise immensely over the past twelve months with a brutal knockout of Denis Kang last October. However it’s also interesting to note that two out of Akiyama’s last three fights have been ruled no-contests.

UFC veteran Kuniyoshi Hironaka will also return to action against undefeated Cage Force product Motoki Miyazawa. Hironaka went 1-3 in his two-year stint with the UFC, his lone win an unanimous decision over Forrest Petz at UFC Fight Night 9 last April. Former PRIDE heavyweight contender Mark Hunt is also being advertised as competing at the event.

The show will feature the finals of DREAM’s first-ever lightweight grand prix. Eddie Alvarez will battle tough wrestler Tatsuya Kawajiri and tournament favorite Shinya Aoki will take on longtime veteran Caol Uno in separate semi-final matches that will see the winners duke it out later in the night. Pound-for-pound phenom Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto will fight for the first time in ‘08 as he takes on undefeated California native Joe Benavidez.

HT: Japan MMA

Injury Forces Akiyama Out of DREAM Tourney


Yoshihiro Akiyama. Photo courtesy of FEG.

Rising middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama will miss DREAM’s upcoming middleweight grand prix first round after suffering a nasal fracture during training.

DREAM parent company FEG announced the news at a press conference yesterday.

“Akiyama wanted to be in this grand prix by any means, even interrupting his training to fully heal up,” Dream producer Keiichi Sasahara told Sherdog.com. “But at the current state, even a slight blow will cause such heavy bleeding that will have every doctor stop the fight.”

The fracture is said to be the second occurrence of a previous break Akiyama suffered in his fight against Kazuo Misaki at Yarennoka! on New Year’s Eve. According to Sasahara, Akiyama will not be given a first-round bye and an announcement concerning his replacement will be made as soon as possible.

Report: Misaki-Akiyama Ruled No Contest


Yoshihiro Akiyama knocks out Denis Kang at K-1 Olympia Hero’s 2007. Photo courtesy of K-1.

Japanese mixed martial arts site God Bless The Ring is reporting that Kazuo Misaki’s knockout win over Yoshihiro Akiyama at Yarennoka! on New Year’s Eve has been changed to a no contest.

Misaki knocked Akiyama out with a brutal kick, however that kick connected while Misaki’s arm and legs were touching the mat. Under Japanese rules, a fighter can kick a downed opponent, but not when they are down on all fours.

The no-contest is now the second for Akiyama in three fights. His win over Kazushi Sakuraba at K-1 Premium Dynamite!! 2006 was overturned after it was found that Akiyama had greased himself up with a foreign substance before the bout.

Touch of gloves to Fight Opinion for the find.

Yarennoka! Live Results

We will be going live at 6:00 AM EST with live results of Yarennoka!, which is taking place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

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. Shinya Aoki, Hayato Sakurai, and Murlio Bustamante will also be competing.

For those that are interested, the event is being shown live on HDNet starting at 6 AM EST.

Be sure to leave comments throughout the morning.

Live results and commentary are shown after the jump.

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Break It Down: Yarennoka! & K-1 Dynamite!!

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.

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Fedor-Choi, Misaki-Akiyama at Yarennoka!

Officials running the Yarennoka! show on New Year’s Eve held a press conference earlier today to announce the addition of three more bouts to the event’s card.

Fedor Emelianenko will make his long awaited return to action when he faces Hong Man Choi, who is coming off of a first-round defeat to Jerome LeBanner at K-1’s World Kickboxing Grand Prix last weekend.

Emelianenko was victorious in his only fight of 2007 when he submitted Matt Lindland with an armbar in the first round. Choi has not fought since stopping Bobby Ologun with strikes in just 16 seconds at last year’s K-1 Premium Dynamite!! A previously scheduled bout with Brock Lesnar earlier in the year fell apart when Choi was not cleared to participate by doctors.

Middleweights Kazuo Misaki and Yoshihiro Akiyama will clash on the card and Bob Sapp will fight for the first time in over two years when he takes on Bobby Ologun.

Akiyama Upsets Kang at K-1 Hero’s 11

Yoshihiro Akiyama spoiled Denis Kang)‘s HERO’S debut with a KO victory tonight at the HERO’S Korea 2007. Held before a boisterous sellout crowd at the Jang Chung Gymnasium, the HERO’S Korea 2007 was a staggeringly ambitious production—featuring no less than 24 fighters in 12 bouts contested under HERO’S mixed martial arts rules.

The main event, keenly anticipated by fight sport fans in Korea, Japan and around the world, saw Yoshihiro Akiyama of Japan take on Canadian Denis Kang.

Akiyama, the HERO’S 2006 Light Middleweight Champion, was returning to action after serving a suspension for over-oiling his body at the HERO’S Dynamite event last New Year’s Eve. The slippery 32 year-old Japanese judoka faced a formidable opponent in Kang, a 30 year-old Canadian mixed martial arts fighter who packs a heck of a punch, and was making his HERO’S debut. The bout was contested with an 85kg/187lbs weight contract.

Kang threw the first strike, a low kick, then tested with jabs and straight punches. Both men kept their guards high, in no rush to close there were more jabs, straight punches and low kicks. Akiyama, fighting in shorts instead of his judogi, stayed at the perimeter, circling to his left, while Kang, head down, followed with the occasional punching attack—textbook combinations which Akiyama capably evaded or blocked. Meanwhile, in an effective if unspectacular manner, Akiyama was getting through with counters, picking his spots, putting the more surgical strikes forward. By midway through the first, Kang’s nose was bloodied.

Somewhat surprisingly, it was Kang who made the first and only takedown attempt in the fight. Equally surprising, Akiyama would have none of it, electing to fight this one on his feet. Time was running down in the first when Kang backed himself into the corner, intent perhaps on making his circling opponent approach him squarely. The tactic backfired miserably however, when Akiyama stepped in with a dandy little move, feigning a left, then another, before bringing the right in hard. Kang collapsed to the mat, Akiyama quickly planting another right for good measure before stepping back to let the referee through to call it. An impressive win for Akiyama.

“My mother supported me through the problems I had over the last year,” said Akiyama post-bout. “She was ringside tonight and I just want to say thanks to her and all my fans. I think I won because I was relaxed, when I saw that my jab had made Denis’ nose start bleeding, it made a big difference, gave me more confidence and helped me relax and focus even more. I hope to fight again soon, but it would not be right for me to expect I will be invited to Dynamite this year, we’ll see.”

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K-1 2007 Dynamite!! Press Conference Notes

K-1 parent company FEG held a press conference earlier this week to officially announce that Kazushi Sakuraba and Masakatsu Funaki will meet for the first time in their careers on New Year’s Eve at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan.

Rickson Gracie was originally rumored to be on the card but will now most likely fight early next year according to FEG officials, against the winner of Sakuraba-Funaki:

“I want to have Rickson fight as soon as possible next year,” said FEG President Sadaharu Tanigawa. “Even if it is not in our ring, even in another organization, I would send these champions to fight.”

Gracie was originally set to take on Funaki for the second time in his career at the event but it was Funaki who decided that he would rather face a different opponent:

“I’ve already lost once to Rickson, so Sakuraba is the better choice,” Funaki said.

Other fighters Tanigawa mentioned as possibilities to fight on the card include Hidehiko Yoshida, Kid Yamamoto, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Ikuhisa Minowa, Katsuyori Shibata, and Masato Kobayashi.

K-1: Akiyama to Face Kang on Oct. 28 Card

Fight Entertainment Group president Sadaharu Tanigawa has announced that PRIDE veteran Denis Kang (27-8-1) will face Yoshihiro Akiyama (9-1) at the October 28th HERO’s show in Seoul, South Korea.

Tanigawa also announced that BJJ phenom Marcelo Garcia will make his MMA debut against Dae Won Kim (3-3) with the fight taking place at 181 lbs. Former UFC welterweight champion Carlos Newton (13-12) will make his return to the ring for the first time in nearly 8 months when he faces Shungo Oyama (6-10) at a catch-weight of 198 lbs.

K-1 Hero’s Oct. 28 Card

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Denis Kang
Marcelo Garcia vs. Dae Won Kim
Dong Sik Yoon vs. Fabio Silva
Zelg Galesic vs. Taiei Kin
Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Min Soo Kim
Carlos Newton vs. Shungo Oyama
Lee Tae Hyun vs. Yoshihisa Yamamoto
Bernard Ackah vs. Poai Suganuma

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