Shinya Aoki. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.
Fighting and Entertainment Group today announced two additional bouts that will take place at K-1’s “Dynamite!! 2008” event on New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan: DREAM lightweight grand prix standouts Shinya Aoki and Eddie Alvarez will clash in a long-awaited battle while former K-1 kickboxers Mark Hunt and Jerome LeBanner will fight for the first time under MMA rules.
Aoki and Alvarez were originally slated to meet in the finals of DREAM’s inaugural lightweight grand prix in July, but Alvarez was forced out of the bout by Japanese officials due to an eye injury suffered in his semi-final fight against Tatsuya Kawajiri. Joachim Hansen replaced Alvarez and went onto upset Aoki with a first-round TKO win.
Since then, Alvarez has been on a temporary hiatus so he could get married in his hometown of Philadelphia while Aoki bounced back with a dominating performance against World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Todd Moore at DREAM.6 on September 23.
WEC 38 made official
WEC has announced that their next event following tomorrow night’s show will take place in San Diego on January 25, 2009.
World Extreme Cagefighting® today announced that for the first event of 2009, the cage will head west to the hotbed of mixed martial arts - California - to hold the first ever WEC® event in San Diego. Two blockbuster matchups will lead the main card, with the World Lightweight Championship fight between Jamie Varner and undefeated Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone as the main event, and the mega-rematch pitting Urijah Faber against Jens Pulver in the co-main event. World Extreme Cagefighting, featuring Varner vs. Cerrone and Faber vs. Pulver 2, takes place live from the San Diego Sports Arena on Sunday, January 25, 2009.
Aoki vs Alvarez on NYE?
Kazushi Sakuraba and Kiyoshi Tamura. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.
Fighting and Entertainment Group officials have announced two bouts that will take place at “K-1 Dynamite!! 2008” on New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena: Japanese legends Kazushi Sakuraba and Kiyoshi Tamura will collide and DREAM lightweight champion Joachim Hansen will compete in a non-title rematch against Gesias Calvancante.
Sakuraba and Tamura will be meeting for the first time in their respective careers in a much-anticipated matchup for Japanese fans. Sakuraba recently had a three-fight winning streak snapped at the hands of Melvin Manhoef, who brutally stopped Sakuraba with strikes in the second round of DREAM’s inaugural middleweight grand prix.
Tamura meanwhile has won two out of his three bouts under the K-1/DREAM banner. He most recently competed at DREAM.2 in April, where he scored a quick, 57-second TKO of Pancrase icon Masakatsu Funaki.
Photo courtesy of FedorMMA.com.
M-1 Global has announced the launching of a mixed martial arts-based reality show that will center around former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
“Fighting Fedor” will involve sixteen heavyweights from all over the world traveling to Russia to live and train with the Red Devil Sport Club. The fighters will apparently compete against each other in a tournament-style format and the winner will have the chance to fight Emelianenko and pretty much face near-death in the process.
Additional details as well as the list of cast members is expected to be announced shortly.
DREAM Dropped by TBS; Picked up by HDNet?
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.
However what is Japan’s loss might be the United States’ gain according to our friends at MMARated.com, who report that tomorrow night’s episode of “Inside MMA” on HDNet will feature some interesting news regarding the FEG-owned promotion and the digital cable network.
A bout between Dutch strikers Alistair Overeem and Gilbert Yvel scheduled to take place this Saturday at the K-1 European Grand Prix has been scrapped due to Yvel suffering a left calf injury during a recent training session. The fight was the only MMA bout slated to happen on the card, which will pan out at the Amsterdam Arena in the Netherlands.
“Last Thursday during a training session with Mirko Cro Cop, I suffered an injury which was diagnosed as torn muscle fiber in the hospital,” Yvel explained Thursday at a news conference according to Sherdog.com. “Even after two days of absolute rest and with lots of ice on the leg, I was barely able to stand on my left foot.”
It is unknown if a replacement opponent will be found in time for Overeem.
Cole Replaces Goodridge at “Anger Management”
IFL veteran Wayne Cole will replace an injured Gary Goodridge against heavyweight Eric Pele at the Maximum Fighting Championship’s upcoming “Anger Management” show on May 9th according to The Fight Network.
Goodridge was forced to pull out of the main event bout due to a recently suffered back injury. Goodridge suffered the injury during a recent training session and will be required to undergo surgery to repair the the sciatic nerve in his lower back.
Alistair Overeem. Photo by Jon Swenson.
Dutch strikers Alistair Overeem and Gilbert Yvel will face off for the first time in their respective careers in a mixed martial arts bout scheduled to take place this Saturday at the K-1 European Grand Prix.
The bout between Overeem and Yvel is the only MMA bout slated to happen on the card, which will pan out at the Amsterdam Arena in the Netherlands.
Neither fighter has competed since last year. 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. The win earned Overeem the vacant Strkeforce heavyweight belt.
Yvel, a former training partner of Overeem’s while with Golden Glory, is currently riding a four-fight winning streak. The controversial PRIDE veteran most recently defeated Hakim Goram by TKO at last year’s K-1 European Grand Prix in June.
K-1 Hero’s veteran Melvin Manhoef will also be in action at the event, taking on Remy Bonjasky in a K-1 rules fight.
Mark Hunt throws a left hand at Semmy Schilt. Photo courtesy of FEG.
The 2008 K-1 World Grand Prix ended with a bang as defending champion Semmy Schilt put opponent Mark Hunt down for the count in the night’s main event in front of 10,629 at Japan’s Yokohama Arena.
Hunt, who was fighting in his first kickboxing match since taking a five-year hiatus to focus on mixed martial arts, traded leg kicks early and often with Schilt. However the strategy eventually worked against Hunt. His movement around the ring was inhibited due to sustained damage suffered courtesy of Schilt’s long legs.
After knocking the wind out of Hunt with a knee, Schilt pressed forward and ultimately sent Hunt down for good with a David Loiseau-like spinning back kick.
“We practiced the spinning back kick in training,” Schilt said in a post-fight interview. “But I didn’t know it would work out so well. I’m glad I won because he was also a GP Champion, so now I have beaten all the active K-1 Champs.”
Complete results from the event are after the jump.
Photo courtesy of World Victory Road.
As if poor television ratings for DREAM’s recent show weren’t already a good sign for World Victory Road, it appears that the promotion has secured a television deal with Fuji TV.
The news comes from MMA News, which reports that the station will broadcast tape-delayed segments from the organization’s debut show on March 5th on a program entitled “Special Ring Side”, which will feature highlights from kickboxing and mixed martial arts events around the country.
It will be the first time that Fuji TV has broadcast any type of MMA since the network broke off ties with the now-defunct PRIDE Fighting Championships, which enjoyed a long-run of ratings success until June 2006 when the channel dropped PRIDE from it’s lineup, citing a breach of contract.
However most believe that there were concerns with PRIDE parent company Dream Stage Entertainment’s rumored ties with the Yakuza, a Japan-based organized crime ring.
Zach Arnold has pointed out that Seiya Kawamata, a close confidant of K-1 creator Kazuyoshi Ishii, seems to be running the show these days when it comes to DREAM, which is promoted by Fight Entertainment Group and many former employees of DSE. The promotion’s debut show last weekend only scored a 8.9% share on the Tokyo Broadcasting System, a number that is considered to be sub-par.
It’s been said that Kawamata was the driving force behind the media getting ahold of the the DSE-Yakuza story and eventually causing Fuji TV officials to drop PRIDE programming, likely in order to help K-1 gain an advantage in the ratings war.
Ironically Kawamata’s strategy didn’t work and he’s now working with some of the same staff that he once attempted to bring down. Could we see Kawamata try something similar when it comes to J-ROCK and World Victory Road in an attempt to get his product back on Fuji TV once again? Time will tell.
Mark Hunt throws a left hand at Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.
Former PRIDE heavyweight contender Mark Hunt, who has not fought since being submitted by Fedor Emelianenko on New Year’s Eve 2006, has revealed that he will be returning to active competition in mixed martial arts this May.
The news comes from Rogue Magazine, who recently sat down for an interview with the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix champion.
According to Hunt, he will be fighting inside the confines of DREAM after taking on Semmy Schilt in a K-1 bout at the organization’s world grand prix in April.
‘My contract with K-1 only has one kickboxing match, the rest of my fights will be under MMA rules,” Hunt said in the interview. K-1 and DREAM are partners so my fights will fall under the new promotion. It’s good, suits me fine. I didn’t really want to fight K-1 since I’ve already won the title but I’m always up for a challenge.”
So are there any potential opponents for Hunt? Interestingly enough, he seemed to beat around the bush when Fedor was put into the equation.
“A fight against Fedor Emelianenko is another fight that will happen in the near future,” Hunt said. “That’s it for the moment though, I can’t say anymore about it.”
After nearly five years as a professional kickboxer, Hunt bursted onto the MMA scene in 2004 and quickly shocked the world with consecutive upsets over Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Cro Cop. Since then the New Zealand native has split his last four fights and has been concentrating on his part-time pro wrestling career during his time off since the demise of PRIDE.
Touch of gloves to MMA Man Japan for the find.
Photo courtesy of FEG.
Rumors that Fight Entertainment Group and Dream Stage Entertainment were working together to create a new mixed martial arts promotion were confirmed earlier today as officials from both sides gathered at the Metropolitan Edmont Hotel in Tokyo, Japan to announce the creation of “DREAM”.
The promotion, which will also be run by officials involved with Yarennoka! and promoted by the Tokyo Broadcasting System, will now serve as the official successor for the PRIDE and K-1 Hero’s brands. K-1 announced plans for the discontinuation of Hero’s events late last month.
“Now that PRIDE and Hero’s are gone, we’ve wanted to put on new mixed martial arts shows that would continue the dream that was achieved on New Year’s Eve,” FEG President Sadaharu Tanikawa stated at the press conference. “We wanted to create a show that would be enjoyed by the fans and would make for an exciting live event. We received a petition including over 3,000 signatures from fans who requested that we find a replacement for PRIDE. We’ve answered their calls and we plan to put together something that no one has ever seen before.”
Matchmaker Keiichi Sasahara’s first order of business will be putting together the promotion’s first card, which will apparently feature a lightweight grand prix. The only announced bout for the event was a long-awaited showdown between Shinya Aoki and Gesias Calvancante, who were booked to face each other at Yarennoka!. The bout was scrapped after Calvancante re-injured his recently surgically repaired knee during training.
Additional participants for the tournament that were also announced included the following: Andre Dida, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Caol Uno, Joachim Hansen, Gilbert Melendez, Kotetsu Boku, Artur Oumakhanov, Luiz “Buscape” Firmino, Jung Bu-Kyung, and Kazuyuki Miyata.
The event is currently slated to take place on March 15th at the Saitama Super Arena. Five other events including the remainder of the lightweight grand prix and a middleweight tournament were also announced.
The biggest surprise of the day came when heavyweight star Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic was introduced on stage. The native Croatian was recently under contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he had lost two of his last three bouts, including a brutal knockout at the hands of Gabriel Gonzaga.
Filipovic assured fans that he was not “running away” from the UFC, but simply doing what was best for his career.
“I had a hard time losing my last two fights in the UFC,” said Filipovic. ” I don’t want anything to think that I’m running away from the UFC but I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do with the rest of my career lately and right now I believe DREAM is the right place for me. I never liked fighting in the cage, always in a ring. Japan is also like my second home. Many reasons have brought me back here.”
The UFC has yet to make a public statement about the UFC’s departure. Various rumors concerning Filipovic’s contract status with the promotion have been floating around lately. Some have speculated that the UFC asked the Croatian to either restructure his contract or that they would release him. MMA Weekly reports that sources have said the split between the two sides was amicable.
Aside from Filipovic, a number of potential participants in future events were revealed. Kazushi Sakuraba, Kiyoshi Tamura, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, and Hayato “Mach” Sakurai are all expected to be fighting inside the promotion in the coming months. Royce Gracie and Fedor Emelianenko also appeared via satellite to make their intentions to compete at a future event known.
So how do the weight classes break down?
Surprisingly, they are strikingly similar to those that are currently used in the United States. The heavyweight, light heavyweight, and middleweight classes are exactly the same. Welterweights will compete at a maximum of 168 lbs while lightweight will be capped off at 154 lbs. Plans for lower weight classes are said to be discussed in the future.
Rani Yahya ducks under a right hand from Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! Photo courtesy of FEG.
Fight Entertainment Group, the parent company of K-1 Hero’s, has announced that Rani Yahya’s protest made in hopes of overturning his loss to Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! has been denied.
Yahya filed the protest last month following his TKO loss to Yamamoto at the event. Yahya stated that a pair of soccer kicks delivered by Yamamoto caused the stoppage and that the decision should have been overturned due to the kicks being illegal under the official rules of the promotion..
However Hero’s official Gen Isono announced that referee Minoru Toyonaga halted the bout after Yahya crumpled to the ground following a Yamamoto left hook and that soccer kicks had no involvement with the stoppage since they came after the punch had already landed.