Hiroyuki Takaya

Tokoro Wins DREAM Bantamweight Grand Prix

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.

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All Fighters on Weight for DREAM Japan GP Final

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.

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Featherweight GP Pairings, Reserve Fight Announced for DREAM.11


Joe Warren. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.

Fighting and Entertainment Group today announced the semifinal matchups for the inaugural DREAM featherweight grand prix, which will continue at DREAM.11 on October 6 at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.

Following his shocking victories over Chase Beebe and Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, upstart wrestler Joe Warren will take on skilled grappler Bibiano Fernandes while WEC veteran Hiroyuki Takaya will face K-1 mainstay Hideo Tokoro.

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Japanese Notebook: DREAM Releases 2009 Schedule


“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.

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Report: Swanson-Takaya Signed for WEC 37


Cub Swanson. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

Rising prospect Cub Swanson has once again been matched up against Hiroyuki Takaya in a featherweight bout that will reportedly take place at World Extreme Cagefighting’s final show of the year on December 3 according to MMA Weekly.

The two were originally slated to meet at WEC 35 in August but Swanson was forced to withdraw from the bout after suffering a broken hand a week before the fight. Former IFL featherweight title challenger L.C. Davis was offered to Takaya as a replacement opponent but the Japanese veteran opted not to fight instead.

Swanson suffered his first loss inside the confines of the WEC when he was submitted by former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver last December. Swanson then took a short hiatus to compete in a smaller show, submitting Donnie Walker at a International Fighting and Boxing League event in February.

Despite struggling as of late and losing three out of his last five bouts, Takaya remains of the most highly touted featherweights in the world. Takaya was last upset by UFC convert Leonard Garcia at the WEC’s February event in New Mexico.

Davis-Takaya Pulled from Sunday’s WEC


Hiroyuki Takaya. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

Just days after World Extreme Cagefighting signed former IFL featherweight title challenger L.C. Davis to a multi-fight deal in order to have him replace an injured Cub Swanson against injured Cub Swanson against highly ranked K-1 veteran Hiroyuki Takaya this Sunday night, the promotion has been forced to cancel the fight completely.

Takaya reportedly turned down Davis as a replacement opponent, although his reasoning behind the decision is not yet known. Swanson suffered a broken hand during a recent training session, leaving him unable to compete at the show. He is expected to be out of action for 4-6 weeks.

After falling in a IFL featherweight title bid last December, Davis rebounded with a convincing knockout of Rafael Dias at an IFL event in April. Despite struggling as of late and losing three out of his last five bouts, Takaya remains of the top featherweights in the world. Takaya was last upset by UFC convert Leonard Garcia at the WEC’s February event in New Mexico, losing by way of a first-round TKO.

WEC officials will now look to have Davis make his official debut at an event later this year. Sunday’s show in Las Vegas, which features a total of three championship bouts and has Carlos Condit making yet another defense of his welterweight title in the main event, will proceed with only ten fights on the card.

Davis to Replace Swanson Against Takaya


L.C. Davis. Photo courtesy of the International Fight League.

Former IFL featherweight title challenger L.C. Davis will take the place of an injured Cub Swanson against highly ranked K-1 veteran Hiroyuki Takaya at World Extreme Cagefighting’s upcoming event this weekend in Las Vegas.

The news comes from our friends at MMA Junkie, who have confirmed the switch with sources close to both Swanson and Davis. Swanson reportedly suffered a broken hand during a recent training session and will be unable to compete at the event.

After falling in a IFL featherweight title bid last December, Davis rebounded with a convincing knockout of Rafael Dias at an IFL event in April. Despite struggling as of late and losing three out of his last five bouts, Takaya remains of the top featherweights in the world. Takaya was last upset by UFC convert Leonard Garcia at the WEC’s February event in New Mexico, losing by way of a first-round TKO.

Report: Swanson-Takaya Set for WEC in August


Cub Swanson. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

Rising featherweight prospect Cub Swanson will reportedly return to action against a highly-ranked Hiroyuki Takaya at World Extreme Cagefighting’s next scheduled event on August 3rd in Las Vegas.

The news comes from a report by Sherdog.com.

Swanson suffered his first loss inside the confines of the WEC when he was submitted by former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver last December. Swanson recently took a short hiatus to compete in a smaller show, submitting Donnie Walker at a International Fighting and Boxing League event in February.

Despite struggling as of late and losing three out of his last five bouts, Takaya remains of the most highly touted featherweights in the world. Takaya was most last upset by UFC convert Leonard Garcia at the WEC’s February event in New Mexico.

The August show will feature a total of three championship fights. WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner and light heavyweight champion Brian Stann will each make their first title defenses, going up against Marcus Hicks and Steve Cantwell respectively. Reigning WEC welterweight title holder Carlos Condit will defend his belt against Hiromitsu Miura.

WEC 32: Condit vs Prater Thoughts and Notes


Jamie Varner throws a left hook at Rob McCullough during their championship bout at WEC 32: Condit vs Prater. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

Some thoughts and notes from last night’s WEC 32: Condit vs Prater…

Good Show, Good Production

Last night’s event was definitely fun to watch. The televised bouts had a lot of everything - spectacular knockouts, slick submissions. Even the most boring fight on the broadcast had a highlight reel ending. The main thing that I wanted to touch on was the production. Sam Caplan makes a great point when he says that last night’s show was perhaps the best MMA show he’s ever seen on basic cable. I couldn’t agree more.

The commentating was great. Aside from Frank Mir’s screams of excitement once in a while during a bout, he did fantastic as always. Even Urijah Faber guest commentating during the Torres-Beebe fight was interesting to listen to. He came off as being a lot more than just a California surfer like I’m sure the casual fans portray him as.

Did anyone else notice that their was a semi-entrance where the fighters came out last night? Granted it was only a lit-up WEC sign above the curtain but still, it’s at least a start for those out there who still long to see a Zuffa-promoted event use the ramp again.

Strange Judging in Tapia-Banuelos

I realize it was a pretty even fight for the most part but how that one was scored a draw confuses the hell out of me. Antonio Banuelos did a good job of controlling the third round but I still thought that Manny Tapia earned a unanimous decision for the first two, even though a split call was more likely.

I’m still surprised that no one scored a 10-8 first round for Tapia. He knocked Banuelos down twice in the round and came very close to finishing him. Just like in the Bisping-Hamill fight, Cecil Peoples gave the fight to the wrong person again.

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Condit Retains; Varner and Torres Grab Gold


Carlos Condit weighs-in for WEC 32: Condit vs Prater. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

New Mexico native Carlos Condit avenged the first loss of his career and retained his WEC welterweight title as he submitted Carlo Prater in front of a supportive crowd of 4,648 inside Rio Rancho’s Santa Ana Star Center last night.

The fight was one of three title bouts that headlined World Extreme Cagefighting’s first venture outside of Las Vegas since UFC parent company Zuffa purchased the promotion in the fall of 2006.

After exchanging a series of leg kicks with Condit, Prater was able to slam his opponent down to the mat in impressive fashion. However Condit immediately went on the offensive, attempting a series of submissions that included tries for a triangle, armbar, and a guillotine.

While sitting inside of Condit’s guard, Prater (21-6-1) made the mistake of digging his head into Condit’s stomach, allowing the hometown hero to sink in a fight-ending guillotine from the bottom. After the fight, Condit (22-4) pointed out that it would be impossible for him to be uncomfortable fighting off of his back at this point.

“I’m very comfortable on my back, like I’ve proven before,” Condit said during a post-fight interview with Frank Mir. “All my wins in the WEC so far have come by submission. I’m not complaining at all.”

While Condit was able to keep his belt around his waist, the two other champions defending their titles didn’t fair so well.

Team Punishment’s Rob McCullough defended multiple takedown attempts while not mounting much of his well-known offense during the first two rounds against Jamie Varner, who had recently converted over from the UFC’s lightweight division.

Varner’s early scored takedowns and aggressiveness put him ahead on points going into the third round. However it was Varner who was on the wrong end of a right hook courtesy of McCullough. After the blow knocked his mouthpiece out, Varner intelligently asked referee Steve Mazzagatti if he could have it back in his mouth, a decision that ultimately gave Varner more time to recover from the shot.

When the fight was restarted, Varner (14-2) rushed McCullough (15-4) out of the gate with a flurry of lefts and rights. A stunned McCullough continued to take unanswered shots, going down to a knee twice before finally being finished off with a devastating straight right that forced Mazzagatti to step in and save a bloodied and battered “Razor” Rob.

Varner, the newly-crowned lightweight champion, revealed his plan to strike against the renowned Muay-Thai specialist after the fight.

“I grew up boxing,” said Varner,”. “Everybody called me a wrestler. He expected me to wrestle. So I kind of put my wrestling on the back-burner during this training camp and really worked on my striking. It really paid off tonight.”

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