Diaz-Inoue Finalizes DREAM’s Third Effort

Nick Diaz. Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.

With a scheduled lightweight bout between Nick Diaz and Katsuya Inoue now seemingly set to happen once again, the fight card for DREAM’s second effort in as many weeks is now complete.

The event, which will once again take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, will be highlighted by the second-round of the promotion’s inaugural lightweight grand prix tournament. Second-round grand prix matchups set to happen include Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Luis Buscape, Mitsuhiro Ishida vs. Caol Uno, who will be fighting as a late-entrant into the tourney, and Joachim Hansen vs. EliteXC’s Eddie Alvarez.

Take note that Shinya Aoki, who won an unanimous decision over Gesias Calvancante last week, will face Katsuhiko Nagata in the fourth tournament bout at the organization’s June 15th show, thus why only three grand prix bouts are slated for tomorrow morning/night in Japan.

Jason “Mayhem” Miller, who has not fought since avenging a previous loss to Tim Kennedy in December, will take on K-1 Hero’s veteran Katsuyori Shibata, loser of his last three fights.

Those in North America will be able to see the event live on HDNet starting at 3 AM ET. A replay of the event is slated to air at 4 PM ET on Sunday afternoon for those who don’t feel like staying up until the wee hours of the morning to watch the show from Tokyo.

The full card for the event is as follows:

DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix Bouts:

Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Luiz Firmino
Mitsuhiro Ishida vs. Caol Uno
Joachim Hansen vs. Eddie Alvarez

Additional Fights:

Jason Miller vs. Katsuyori Shibata
Nick Diaz vs. Katsuya Inoue
Melvin Manhoef vs. Kim Dae Won
Daisuke Nakamura vs. Bukyung Jung
Takeshi Yamazaki vs. Shoji Maruyama

Torn ACL Sidelines Calvancante

Gesias Calvancante. Photo courtesy of FEG.

Just over a week since suffering his second career loss at the hands of Shinya Aoki, two-time K-1 Hero’s lightweight tournament champion Gesias Calvancante will be required to undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus and ACL and will likely be unable to fight until the end of this year.

Calvancante revealed the extent of his injury to Greg Savage on Sherdog’s “Savage Dog Show” earlier today.

“The first time I was hurt in my career, it was my hand,” Calvancante said on the show. “That just after I won the (K-1 Hero’s) title so I was like alright, a little vacation. But now I lost so I don’t want that long of a break in between fights. I don’t want to wait 5-6 months without a fight.”

Calvancante’s knee troubles have now extended all the way back to last fall when the re-injuring of his surgically repaired knee during training prevented Calvancante from originally fighting Aoki at Yarennoka! on New Year’s Eve. It’s unknown if the tears were suffered in the same knee once again.

HT: Bloody Elbow

Nick Diaz Back on the DREAM 3 Card (UPDATED)

Nick Diaz in action against Takanori Gomi.  Courtesy of Pride FC.

UPDATED:  Nick Diaz’s trainer, Cesar Gracie, is now reporting that Diaz was given the go ahead to fight this weekend. While the weight cut was going to be an issue, he’s scheduled to board a plane Thursday morning bound for Tokyo. 

In the ever changing fight career of Nick Diaz, the fight against Katsuya Inoue that we reported last week, has now been called off at the request of EliteXC.  Apparently, there was once again a miscommunication within EliteXC’s management and president Gary Shaw was never informed of Nick’s participation in the Dream event this coming weekend.  Josh Gross, formerly of Sherdog and now with Sports Illustrated, reports that Shaw just found out about the fight this past weekend and called Diaz’s management Tuesday morning to call off the fight.  Shaw was concerned that the fight within the confines of Dream would jeopardize Diaz’s participation in the EliteXC event scheduled for June 14th.

Gary Shaw phoned Diaz’s manager Cesar Gracie early Tuesday with the news that the league was killing the fighter’s appearance on the May 11 Dream card.  Diaz will make his next scheduled contest versus Muhsin Corbbrey at 160 pounds June 14 on the Showtime-televised EliteXC card from Honolulu, Hawaii.

GracieFighter, the website of Diaz’s fight team, confirmed the news.  There’s no telling whether this could hurt relationships between EliteXC and the Dream promotion.  They already are sharing the services of Eddie Alvarez and EliteXC could certainly have used some of the talent in the Dream promotion to sure up its thin roster.

Will the Nick Diaz saga ever end?  Stay tuned…

Nick Diaz to Fight at Dream 3

Nick Diaz.  Photo courtesy of ProElite.

Dream has posted that Nick Diaz will be competing at their Dream 3 event on May 11, 2008.  His opponent will be longtime Pancrase veteran Katsuya Inoue.  Though Dream 3 is slated to be the second round of Dream’s Lightweight Grand Prix, the Diaz-Inoue fight is not scheduled to be part of that tournament. 

EliteXC’s Nick Diaz has had a career of ups and downs.  It includes championships in the WEC and IFC, as well as a long run in the UFC.  But it has also been marred by controversy, including having his impressive submission victory over Pride’s Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi overturned when he failed a post fight drug test for marijuana.  Most recently, he was delayed in obtaining a fight license in California due to his medicinal marijuana usage, forcing his fight, on the undercard of the Frank Shamrock vs Cung Le show, to be cancelled two days beforehand.

Diaz is also scheduled to fight just 4 weeks later on EliteXC’s June 14th card in Hawaii.  But as reported this morning, stablemate Jake Shields’ fight for that night has already been postponed.  Between that and EliteXC’s need to fill their second TV show in July on CBS, many have raised suspicions as to whether many of the fights on that card June 14th card will happen.

The Nightmare of Battle is reporting that the winner of Diaz vs. Inoue will face Hayato Sakurai for the Dream Welterweight title in July or September.

CKA: May 2, 2008

Jake Shields.  Photo courtesy of ProElite.

Shields vs Fickett Delayed Again

EliteXC has announced that the Welterweight Title fight between Jake Shield and Drew Fickett has been delayed once again.  Originally scheduled for the undercard of the Frank Shamrock vs Cung Le event, the bout was put off due to Shields suffering a back injury.  It had been rescheduled for EliteXC’s June 14th card in Hawaii, but now word comes that Drew Fickett suffered a knee injury. 

Just last week, Shields was quoted as saying he was not sure whether he’d be physically ready by June 14th.  Now this announcement.  Considering the need for EliteXC to start filling their second US network primetime show in late July, this is pretty convenient.  It would look bad for Shields to be the one who is injured again, so maybe EliteXC “encouraged” Fickett to ask for the delay.  It would certainly not be below EliteXC’s Gary Shaw to do something of that nature. 

At this point, the June 14th EliteXC show is still scheduled and will include a lightweight title fight between Yves Edwards and champion KJ Noons, as well as Nick Diaz.

Aoki? JZ? Anyone?

Fresh off his victory over JZ Calcavante in Tokyo on Tuesday at the Dream 2 show, Shinya Aoki’s further participation in the Lightweight Grand Prix is once again clouded.  Before the rematch with JZ ever occurred, Aoki has expressed concerns over whether he would be able to fight in the 2nd round of the GP just two weeks after the JZ rematch.  Now rumor has it that he suffered some facial injuries and will not be allowed to continue whether he wants to or not.  Originally this rumor of the injury was spread by Calcavante’s ATT team.  But it was confirmed by the FEG USA head, Mike Jogan, to USA Today.

Aoki “wants to go on, but it’s up to the doctors,” said Mike Kogan, head of U.S. promotion for Dream’s owner, Fight Entertainment Group. The examination is scheduled for later on Friday — keep in mind that Japan is 13 to 18 hours ahead of North America — so Aoki’s fate could be known several hours from now.

American Top Team made it known that JZ was asked to continue into the next round in place of Aoki but that the fighter and FEG could not come to a financial agreement.

Aoki Decisions Calvancante; Sakuraba Moves on at DREAM

Shinya Aoki catches Gesias Calvancante in an armbar. Photo courtesy of FEG.

A little more than a month after fans were left with a disappointing ending to a March matchup between Gesias Calvancante and Shinya Aoki, it was Aoki that finally came away the victor in one of the most-anticipated lightweights contests in recent memory earlier this morning in DREAM’s second-ever show.

The first fight between the two was ruled a no-contest after Calvancante struck Aoki with illegal elbows to the back of Aoki’s neck. Calvancante was warned and Aoki given time to recover, but after a few moments the esteemed grappler wasn’t able to continue. The two were also originally set to face off at Yarennoka! on New Year’s Eve but Calvancante was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering a knee injury during training.

Aoki quickly pulled guard at the start of the fight and negated any sort of offense his opponent tried to mount. However after stomping his way out of a heel hook attempt, Calvancante pounced on top of Aoki and began raining down an array of strikes, prompting the referee to give an even closer look at the action. Aoki was able to recover and eventually get back to his feet where he ended up taking Calvancante’s back and controlling him for the remainder of the round.

The second round saw Aoki pull Calvancante to the canvas once again and then quickly catch him in an armbar that nearly ended the fight. Calvancante was able to flip out of the hold and even scored with some ground and pound before Aoki went for another couple of armbars. Aoki transitioned into an inverted omoplata during the final minute of the fight, solidifying his win on the judge’s scorecards.

Aoki’s next opponent in just two weeks will now be former Japanese Olympic wrestler Katsuhiko Nagata according to DREAM officials.

Continue reading "Aoki Decisions Calvancante; Sakuraba Moves on at DREAM"

Report: Mayhem-Shibata Set for DREAM

Jason “Mayhem” Miller. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

Jason “Mayhem” Miller will fight for the first time in 2008 when he takes on Katsuyori Shibata at DREAM’s upcoming May 11th show in Saitama, Japan.

The news comes from our friends at MMA Junkie, who have confirmed the bout with an organizer close to the event.

Miller has not fought since avenging a previous loss to Tim Kennedy at HDNet Fights: Reckless Abandon in December. The Team Quest member is currently riding a three-fight winning streak and has also won eight out of his last nine fights, his lone loss coming at the hands of Frank Trigg over a year and a half ago.

Shibata, who is a part-time professional wrestler along with being a veteran of K-1 Hero’s and Jungle Fight, has lost his last three fights and has not fought since being stopped at the hands of Min Suk Heo in October of last year.

The May 11th show will also feature the second-round of the organization’s lightweight grand-prix.

Weekend Recap: April 28, 2008

Carlos Condit. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

Here’s a little recap of what went on this past weekend, starting with Carlos Condit reportedly signing a contract extension with World Extreme Cagefighting according to USA Today‘s Sergio Non. The new deal comes after Condit’s most recent victory over Carlo Prater in February. The fight against Prater was Condit’s second to last fight on his previous deal. Condit expects the new deal to kick in with a potential fight in August against an opponent yet to be named.

The promotion also confirmed two additional bouts for their next scheduled event on June 1st in Sacramento, California over the weekend via their official website. A rumored bantamweight title bout between champion Miguel Torres and injury replacement Yoshiro Maeda has been made official as well as Mark Munoz’s WEC debut against fellow newcomer Chuck Grigsby.

UFC Releases Travis Lutter

Fresh off of his disappointing loss to former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin at UFC 83 last weekend, Travis Lutter, the middleweight winner of the fourth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, has been released from his contract by the UFC. The news was first reported by Pramit Mohapatra of Fight Ticker and has since been confirmed by Lutter himself, who stated that his agent received a call Sunday morning informing him of his release due to consecutive losses in his last two fights.

Report: Southworth-Ruiz Rematch Possible for June

Bobby Southworth, one of the cast members on the original season of “The Ultimate Fighter” will attempt to avenge a recent loss to Anthony Ruiz at Strikeforce’s upcoming planned event in June according to MMA Mania. The two fought in November - Ruiz scored a TKO win over Southworth after the UFC veteran suffered a fight-ending cut over his left eye early in the second round.

However Southworth remains Strikeforce’s world light heavyweight champion due to the fight being a non-title bout. It’s unknown whether or not the belt will be on the line in June. Southworth has not fought since losing to Ruiz. Meanwhile Ruiz has recorded back-to-back wins over Jimmy Ambriz and Brad Imes since then.

Continue reading "Weekend Recap: April 28, 2008"

HDNet to Air DREAM Events

Photo courtesy of Fight Entertainment Group.

HDNet, the digital cable channel owned by billionaire Mark Cuban and Fight Entertainment Group, the parent company of DREAM, have struck a deal that will allow the Japanese organization’s event to be televised in North America.

The channel announced the news on last night’s episode of “Inside MMA”.

Tuesday’s DREAM 2 event, which features the first round of the promotion’s inaugural middleweight grand prix, will be broadcast on HDNet via tape delay on May 3rd. A re-airing of the first-ever DREAM show will be shown one day earlier. Both programs will begin at 10:30 PM ET.

DREAM live events have reportedly been dropped from the Tokyo Broadcasting System’s lineup due to lackluster ratings. The organization’s inaugural event only drew an 8.9 percent rating average in primetime, which is considered dismal by Japanese standards.

The network will air DREAM’s April 29th event on tape delay one week after the event takes place. It will be the last event the network airs. SkyPerfecTV pay-per-view will then assume duties of airing DREAM events for the future.

HDNet is expected to continue to televise DREAM events through September.

Report: Cro Cop-LeBanner Set for June

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.

Former UFC and PRIDE heavyweight title contender Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic will reportedly take on fellow former K-1 kickboxer Jerome LeBanner at DREAM’s planned fourth show on June 16th in Japan.

The news comes from MMA-ID, the same website that hosts Cro Cop’s official blog.

The Croatian was victorious at DREAM’s inaugural event last month, stopping Pancrase veteran Tatsuya Mizuno with strikes less than a minute into the first round. The fight will be Cro Cop’s second since going 1-2 in an unsuccessful stint with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Croatian is currently on a hiatus from competing in the promotion. UFC President Dana White has stated that he believes Cro Cop will be returning before the end of the year.

LeBanner has not fought since knocking out journeyman Jimmy Ambriz at a K-1 Hero’s event in March 2006. LeBanner is 3-1-1 thus far in his professional mixed martial arts career and also owns wins over Bob Sapp and Yoshihiro Akiyama.

HT: Five Ounces of Pain

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