Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. Photo courtesy of FEG.
Pound-for-pound phenom Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto has reportedly withdrawn from his scheduled featherweight bout against California native Joseph Benavidez at Monday’s DREAM.5 event in Japan after suffering a knee injury during a recent training session.
The news comes from Jordan Breen of Sherdog.com, who reports that Yamamoto could be sidelined for up to six months after a failed flying knee attempt during a recent sparring session caused an awkward landing and the sound of a pop inside of Kid’s right leg. An MRI shows that Yamamoto suffered a partial tear of his right anterior cruciate ligament, however it won’t be determined whether surgery is necessary or not until sometime next week.
DREAM event producer Keiichi Sasahara has stated that he is currently looking for a late replacement opponent for Benavidez. One option Sasahara has is matching up Benavidez and former DEEP title challenger Takeshi Yamazaki. Hideo Tokoro, Yamazaki’s scheduled opponent at the event, was hospitalized earlier this week after suffering a back injury in a minor car accident, leaving his participation in doubt.
Monday’s injury-plagued card also saw former UFC and PRIDE heavyweight contender Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic bow out after having to undergo knee and elbow surgery that will put him out of action until this fall. His opponent, Jerome LeBanner was also forced to pull out of a proposed bout against fellow former kickboxer Mark Hunt after LeBanner was injured during a recent K-1 rules bout against Semmy Schilt.
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