Denis Kang grapples with Kazuo Misaki. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.
Former PRIDE welterweight grand prix runner-up Denis Kang will return to action at DREAM’s fifth show on July 21st at the Osaka Castle Hall in Osaka, Japan.
The news comes from the latest edition of The Fight Network’s Great Fight North column.
After riding a near-unbelievable 23-fight undefeated streak over a three-year period, Kang has struggled as of late. He has managed to only win one bout since losing to Kazuo Misaki in the finals of PRIDE’s 2006 welterweight tournament and has now lost his last two fights - a brutal knockout at the hands of Yoshihiro Akiyama and a quick submission loss to rising middleweight Gegard Mousasi.
It’s interesting to note that Kang’s upcoming fight in DREAM will the last on his current contract with the promotion. His deal with Korea-based Spirit MC also expires at the end of this month, essentially making Kang a free agent following his July bout.
While contract negoiatitions with a handful of top organizations have taken place, visa troubles may prevent Kang from making any decisions concerning his career for now.
“I’ve talked to organizations, like Affliction and the UFC, in the past few months, but this visa thing is what’s holding things up,” Kang said in the report. “It’s tough. If can’t fight in the U.S., how am I going to fight for them? I don’t know if I’ll do another Spirit MC grand prix. My contract’s almost over with them. We’re talking to them, but we’ll see.”
An opponent for Kang has yet to be determined.
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.
Former UFC and PRIDE heavyweight contender Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has reportedly withdrawn from his upcoming grappling match against Ralek Gracie at DREAM’s June 15th affair after aggravating an elbow injury during a recent training session.
The news comes from a report by Croatian news site Dnevnik.
The cancellation likely comes as a precaution for Cro Cop’s slated showdown against fellow former K-1 kickboxer Jerome LeBanner at DREAM’s scheduled July 21st show in Japan. It’s been widely speculated that the Croatian had suffered multiple nagging injuries over the last few months and now wants to time to heal them before the LeBanner bout.
He and Gracie were being advertised as competing in a modified rules grappling match, which would have gone on without a scoring system, meaning that if either fighter was unable to submit the other, the match would end in a draw.
Cro Cop most recently stopped Pancrase veteran Tatsuya Mizuno with strikes in the first round at DREAM’s inaugural show back in March. Meanwhile, Gracie has not competed since submitting Katsuyori Shibata at a K-1 Hero’s show last July.
Doug Marshall. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
Former WEC light heavyweight champion Doug Marshall has reportedly signed a one-fight contract with the California-based Palace Fighting Championship and will fight at the promotion’s next scheduled event on July 18th according to the to the Visalia Times-Delta. Five Ounces of Pain was the first to make the find.
PFC President Christian Printup stated in the article that Marshall remains under contract with Zuffa and was given permission to seek a fight in a smaller show to help bounce back from his recent knockout loss to Brian Stann in March, a loss that cost Marshall his title with the organization.
The fight in July will be Marshall’s first career bout outside the confines of World Extreme Cagefighting.
Burns to Replace Chonan at UFC 85
Iowa native Kevin Burns has been tapped to replace longtime PRIDE and DEEP veteran Ryo Chonan in his scheduled welterweight preliminary fight against Roan Carneiro at UFC 85: Bedlam next weekend in London, England according to our friends at MMA Junkie.
While the reason being Chonan’s withdrawal from the card are currently unknown, sources close to Burns have confirmed that the Glory Fighting Championships veteran has agreed to come in as a late replacement on the card.
Burns is currently riding a two-fight winning streak. He has won his last two fights by way of submission, most recently forcing Steve Schneider to tap out courtesy of a triangle choke in December of last year.
Jason “Mayhem” Miller scored a TKO win over Katsuyori Shibata to move onto the second round of DREAM’s inaugural middleweight grand prix, where he will face submission wizard Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Photo courtesy of FEG.
DREAM officials late last night announced the quarterfinal matchups for the organization’s inaugural middleweight grand prix tournament, of which the second-round will take place on June 15th at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba will go up against hard-hitting Dutch kickboxer Melvin Manhoef in the night’s most high-profile tournament matchup. Sakuraba scored a first round submission of Karate practitioner Andrews Nakahara to move on.
Manhoef will be replacing longtime veteran Kiyoshi Tamura, who was forced to pull out of the tourney after suffering a broken finger in his last fight. Manhoef stopped Dae Won Kim with strikes in a tournament reserve bout earlier this month.
Additional second-round matchups announced include Gegard Mousasi vs. Dong Sik Yoon, Jason Miller vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and Zelg Galesic vs. Taiei Kin in a rematch of their controversial K-1 Hero’s bout in October of last year.
Already previously announced for the event was a lightweight grand prix bout between tournament favorite Shinya Aoki and former Olympic wrestler Katsuhiko Nagata.
Alistair Overeem. Photo by Jon Swenson.
Dutch striker Alistair Overeem will reportedly return to action in a heavyweight bout at DREAM’s upcoming fourth event on June 15th in Japan.
The news comes from The Fight Network, which has confirmed Overeem’s participation with Golden Glory head trainer Martin De Jong.
Overeem last 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.
Overeem was also slated to take on former teammate Gilbert Yvel in a mixed martial arts bout at the K-1 European Grand Prix last month but Yvel was forced to pull out of the bout after suffering a left calf injury during trainer. A replacement opponent was not found in time for Overeem.
DREAM.4 will feature the second round of the promotion’s inaugural middleweight grand prix tournament. Also expected to take place is a second-round lightweight grand prix bout between tournament favorite Shinya Aoki and Katsuhiko Nagata.
Nick Diaz grapples with Katsuya Inoue. Photo courtesy of FEG.
Following his impressive victory over reigning welterweight King of Pancrase Katsuya Inoue, EliteXC’s Nick Diaz already has quite the test waiting for him following his scheduled fight against Muhsin Corbbrey in June - a DREAM title bout against Japanese veteran Hayato “Mach” Sakurai in July.
Diaz confirmed the potential matchup with Sherdog.com, stating that a fight against Sakurai would be one against a fighter that he looks up to.
“You know, there’s a lot of other people I’d like to fight, just considering Sakurai is a lot older than I am,” Diaz said in the report. “He’s probably in his late 30’s I’d imagine, so I’m going to have a lot of respect for him and everything he’s done. I tend to do better with people I have less respect for. To be honest, I’d rather be fighting Aoki or Kawajiri - somebody other than the guy that got knocked out by someone I already beat in Gomi.”
“But I think I match up very well against Sakurai,” Diaz continued. “I think he’s a little too short to reach me, and I think his ground game needs a lot of work and you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. Like I said though, I’m not afraid to fight anybody, that’s not the issue. I’ll fight anyone you got. I’m here to prove I’m pound-for-pound the greatest fighter in the world.”
Diaz’s scheduled fight against Corbbrey in Hawaii will mark the second time that they were slated to fight. The two were set to clash this month but EliteXC’s island event was moved to June, forcing the fight to be re-signed.
The battle between Diaz and Sakurai will be for DREAM’s welterweight title despite “Mach” being upset by David Baron at a Shooto event on May 3rd.
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.”
Nick Diaz throws a left hand at Josh Neer. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Here are the complete results from last night’s DREAM.3 event, which took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
The event featured the second-round of the promotion’s inaugural lightweight grand prix tournament. Tatsuya Kawajiri, Eddie Alvarez, and Caol Uno all moved on. Nick Diaz and Jason “Mayhem” Miller were also victorious in their respective DREAM debuts. A full recap of the event will come later today.
Takeshi Yamazaki def. Shoji Maruyama - Unanimous Decision
Jason Miller def. Katsuyori Shibata - TKO (Strikes)
Melvin Manhoef def. Dae Won Kim - TKO (Strikes)
Daisuke Nakamura def. Bu Kyung Jung - KO (Punch)
Nick Diaz def. Katsuya Inoue - TKO (Corner Stoppage)
Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Luiz Firmino - Unanimous Decision
Eddie Alvarez def. Joachim Hansen - Unanimous Decision
Caol Uno def. Mitsuhiro Ishida - Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto throws a left hand at Genki Sudo. Photo courtesy of FEG.
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, widely considered as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts today, will return to action as part of DREAM’s next scheduled event on June 15th.
DREAM officials confirmed Yamamoto’s participation during last night’s event broadcast.
Yamamoto originally informed the Japanese media last month that he hoped to return to the ring this summer. His contract with Fight Entertainment Group will have him competing inside the confines of DREAM exclusively. The 31-year-old has been with FEG since leaving Shooto in 2003.
While Yamamoto remains unsure of which weight he will fight at, it’s expected that he will take his talents to DREAM’s newly created featherweight division. Yamamoto last stopped World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Rani Yahya with strikes at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! on New Year’s Eve.
HT: Gryphon Japan
Kimbo Slice could be one of ProElite’s contracted fighters headed to DREAM in the near future as part of a new working partnership between the two promotions. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
Elite Xtreme Combat parent company ProElite and Fight Entertainment Group’s DREAM yesterday announced a working partnership between the two promotions that will help bridge the once-distant gap between Japanese and American mixed martial arts.
The two sides made the official announcement yesterday at a pre-fight press conference for DREAM.3, which took place late last night in Japan. DREAM officials Keiichi Sasahara and Sadaharu Tanikawa were on hand to discuss details about the agreement along with ProElite’s William Kelly and ICON Sport promoter T. Jay Thompson.
“Last year’s Dynamite USA at the Los Angeles Coliseum was the largest attended mixed martial arts event ever in the USA,” Kelly said at the conference. “ProElite is delighted that we will be building on that by sharing fighters and referees and doing co-promotions in Japan and the US, and potentially the UK and Korea also. Japan is important to ProElite, and we have great US television partners, so we can bring DREAM to the American public.”
It’s expected that ProElite will also attempt to put at least one of the co-promoted shows on network television in the form of CBS.
According to MMA Weekly, ProElite contracted fighters that were mentioned as potential DREAM participants in the future at the press conference included Kimbo Slice, Jake Shields, and Robbie Lawler.
EliteXC fighters Nick Diaz, Jason Miller, and Eddie Alvarez all competed at DREAM’s third show yesterday in Japan, unofficially beginning the sharing of assets between the two organizations.