Masakazu Imanari

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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Chonan Victorious in DEEP Homecoming

Ryo Chonan. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Fresh off of a disappointing effort in the UFC, Ryo Chonan made a successful return to his former home, picking up a unanimous decision over fellow veteran Jutaro Nakao in the main event of DEEP’s “43rd Impact” show on Sunday morning at at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

In the first of two championship fights on the card, grappling specialist Masakazu Imanari retained his DEEP bantamweight title, using a variety of submission attempts to thwart challenger Tomohiko Hori and earn a unanimous decision win.

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Quick Hits: Struve Tapped to Face Gormley, Weekend Preview & More

Stefan Struve. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

— Towering heavyweight prospect Stefan Struve has reportedly been tapped to face undefeated All-American collegiate wrestler Chase Gormley at UFC 104, which takes place on October 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.. Bout agreements have apparently been signed. Gormley was originally slated to face Ben Rothwell at the event but Rothwell was recently moved into a main card matchup against Cain Velasquez. [Fighters Only Magazine]

— A number of notable MMA veterans are in action this weekend. Art of Fighting’s latest offering in Tampa, Florida includes Seth Petruzelli, competing for the first time since his 14-second win over Kimbo Slice, going up against Chris Baten. Marcio Cruz and Delson Heleno will be on the AOF card as well. Neil Grove and Brad Pickett will also be defending their respective Ultimate Challenge UK titles in London, England while Dokonjonosuke Mishima, Masakazu Imanari, and Ryo Chonan are in action at DEEP 43 in Japan. [Bloody Elbow]

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Imanari Submits Umemura to Win DEEP Title

Masakazu Imanari. From DiBach70 on Flickr.

Masakazu Imanari added yet another DEEP world title to his resume as the former featherweight champion submitted Hiroshi Umemura in less than 30 seconds at DEEP’s “37th Impact” show on Sunday to become the organization’s first-ever bantamweight champion.

Imanari missed a body kick to start things off, allowing Umemura to set himself again before pressing forward. Imanari then moved towards him with a baseball slide on the ground before transitioning into a deep heel hook that forced Umemura to tap.

Miku Matsumoto made a successful defense of her DEEP 106 lb. title with a second-round knockout of longtime rival Misaki Takimoto. Also victorious was EliteXC veteran Riki Fukuda, who led Team DEEP over Team Wajutsu Keishukai with his unanimous decision over Hiroki Ozaki.

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Imanari Challenges for DEEP Title on Sunday

Masakazu Imanari. From DiBach70 on Flickr.

Cage Rage featherweight champion Masakazu Imanari will drop down to the bantamweight division to challenge Hiroshi Umemura for DEEP’s vacant bantamweight title this Sunday at the organization’s “37th Impact” event, which takes place at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

The fight will be Imanari’s first since losing his DEEP featherweight title to UFC veteran Dokonjonosuke Mishima via majority decision back in May. It was Imanari’s second career loss to Mishima and his first defeat since dropping a decision to Fredson Paixao in August of 2006.

Umemura brings an eight-fight winning streak into the bout. He last submitted Kunihiro Watanabe with a rear naked choke at a DEEP event in June. Umemura has struggled against top competition throughout the course of his career. He owns losses to WEC veterans Kenji Osawa and Yoshiro Maeda among others.

The card will also feature a female lightweight title bout between Miku Matsumoto and Misaki Takimoto as well as EliteXC veteran Riki Fukuda going up against Hiroki Ozaki.

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Mishima Decisons Imanari in DEEP FW Debut

Dokonjonosuke Mishima. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In his first fight in over a year, Dokonjonosuke Mishima used superior striking and wrestling to squeak out a majority decision over reigning DEEP featherweight champion Masakazu Imanari at the organization’s latest show last night in Japan.

Mishima, who was making his featherweight debut in the fight, used constant leg sweeps to frustrate Imanari and take the Cage Rage veteran down throughout the course of the bout. Mishima scored early and often with an array of strikes on the feet and was able to use an effective ground-and-pound strategy while on top of Imanari.

Imanari’s came close to ending the fight late in the third round when he caught Mishima in a kneebar that forced the colorful veteran to hold on until the final bell. After the fight, Mishima announced his intention to return to the UFC to finish out the remainder of his contract with the promotion.

Yuichi Nakanishi won a hard-fought unanimous decision over EliteXC veteran Riki Fukuda in the finals of DEEP’s middleweight tournament to capture the vacant title in that weight class. Nakanishi used an assault of first-round leg kicks followed by crisp combinations in the second stanza to earn the nod in the eyes of the judges.

Nakanishi and Fukuda defeated Daijiro Matsui and Yuya Shirai respectively before moving on to the final round of the tourney

Complete results from the event:

Yuichi Nakanishi def. Riki Fukuda - Unanimous Decision
Dokonjonosuke Mishima def. Masakazu Imanari - Majority Decision
Yuichi Nakanishi def. Daijiro Matsui - Unanimous Decision
Riki Fukuda def. Yuya Shirai - Split Decision
Jutaro Nakao def. Shigetoshi Iwase - Unanimous Decision
Ryuta Sakurai def. Ryo Sai - Unanimous Decision
Hidehiko Hasegawa vs. Hiroki Nagaoka - Draw
Sung Hwan Pang fef. Kazunori Yokota - KO (Punches)
Mai Ichii def. Satoko Shinashi - Majority Decision
Katsunori Kikuno def. Seigo Inoue - Unanimous Decision
Luiz Luiz def. Toshikazu Iseno - TKO (Strikes)
Koichiro Matsumoto def. Yuki Ito - Majority Decision
Hyun Gyu Lim def. Noboru Onishi - TKO (Cut)
Yasuhiro Kawasaki def. Muneyuki Sato - TKO (Strikes)

Imanari to Defend Against Mishima in May

Dokonjonosuke Mishima. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

DEEP featherweight champion Masakazu Imanari will defend his title and attempt to avenge a prior loss against Dokonjonosuke Mishima at the organization’s next event on May 19th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

The promotion officially announced the bout this past week.

Imanari and Mishima originally fought at a DEEP event in July 2003, where Mishima stopped Imanari with strikes in the second round.

Imanari submitted Jean Silva last month to successfully defend his Cage Rage featherweight title. Imanari is currently riding a five-fight winning streak and has won his last three bouts inside the confines of DEEP.

Mishima has not fought since losing a pair of fights while with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The colorful veteran was submitted by Joe Stevenson and Kenny Florian in consecutive bouts.

DEEP’s May show will also feature the remainder of the tournament for the vacant DEEP middleweight title as well as a lightweight title bout between Kazunori Yokota and Pang Sung Hwan.

Berry Stops Shamrock Overseas

Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

LONDON - Before an excitable crowd of 8,000-plus at Wembley Arena, mixed martial arts pioneer Ken Shamrock of the USA was handed his first knockout loss by English powerhouse Robert “Buzz” Berry at Cage Rage 25.

Berry landed a series of strikes to the head of Shamrock and sent him down. The referee waved off the fight at 3:26 of the first round as the 240-pound Berry prepared to pounce on his fallen opponent.

In other televised fights, Cage Rage featherweight champion Masakazu Imanari of Japan applied a text book reverse heel hook to destroy the knee of formidable Brazilian adversary Jean Silva. Silva tapped out at 2:35 of round one, and appeared to be in tremendous pain.

In a battle of big men, heavyweights Rob Broughton of England won a majority decision over fellow countryman Neil Grove by scores of 29-28 twice and 28-29. The two men entered the cage at a combined 250-plus pounds and fought an entertaining scrape for three full rounds.

Local favorite Tommy “Kong” Watson thrilled his adoring fans with a knockout of American Pierre Guillet. With Watson on his back during first-round action, Guillet dove in to attack, but Watson struck first by landing a devastating upward heel strike to Guillet’s head. Watson quickly pounced on top of the fallen Guillet and finished him with fist strikes to the head.

Complete event results are after the jump:

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Cage Rage 25 Weigh-In Results

Ken Shamrock weighs-in for UFC 61: Bitter Rivals. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The official weigh-in results for tomorrow’s Cage Rage 25: Bring It On are below. All fighters successfully made weight.

The event will be highlighted by Ken Shamrock’s return to action as he will be welcomed in his Cage Rage debut by opponent Robert “Buzz” Berry. Shamrock’s son Ryan will compete on the undercard against Giorgio Andrews. Masakazu Imanari will also defend his featherweight title against Jean Silva.

Ken Shamrock (220 lbs) vs. Robert Berry (240 lbs)
Masakazu Imanari (143 lbs) vs. Jean Silva (144 lbs)
Gary Turner (220 lbs) vs. Mustapha Al-Turk (240 lbs)
Rob Broughton (282 lbs) vs. Neil Grove (273 lbs)
Pierre Guillet (184 lbs) vs. Tom Watson (184 lbs)
Ivan Serati (200 lbs) vs. Roman Webber (204 lbs)
Aisling Daly (129 lbs) vs. Aysen Berik (132 lbs)
Giorgio Andrews (133 lbs) vs. Ryan Shamrock (134 lbs)
Henrique Santana (169 lbs) vs. Michael Johnson (169 lbs)
Marvin Arnold (180 lbs) vs. John Hathaway (184 lbs)
John Phillips (184 lbs) vs. Jake Bostwick (184 lbs)

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