(Kid Yamamoto highlight reel, y’all. Bounce ta dis.)
As previously rumored, former K-1 HERO’s champ and #4-ranked featherweight Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto will end a year-and-a-half hiatus at DREAM.9 (May 26th; Yokohama, Japan) when he enters their ongoing featherweight grand prix, taking an automatic bye to the quarterfinals. Yamamoto hasn’t competed since his second-round TKO victory over Rani Yahya at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! on New Year’s Eve 2007, which was his 14th-consecutive win. And it seems like DREAM’s organizers have a sense of humor, because they’re slotting him against former U.S. wrestling champion Joe Warren, who, like Yamamoto, was involved in a reputation-injuring marijuana scandal. (Weed is a big no-no over there. Very dishonorable.) May the best pothead win? DREAM.9′s featherweight GP matchups will be arranged thusly:
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto vs. Joe Warren
Masakazu Imanari vs. Bibiano Fernandes
Yoshiro Maeda vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
Abel Cullum vs. Hideo Tokoro*
* Tokoro replaces Daiki Hata, who injured his right orbital bone during their opening-round fight at DREAM.8.
In addition to the tournament fights, DREAM.9 will reportedly feature bouts between Tatsuya Kawajiri and Gesias Cavalcante, and Gegard Mousasi vs. Rameau Thierry Soukoudjou; Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Paulo Filho are also rumored to be on the card against yet-unnamed opponents. And Nightmare of Battle passes along this mysterious update: