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Tag: grand prix

Bibiano Fernandes Will Drop to Bantamweight and Train With Demetrious Johnson for DREAM Grand Prix


(Video courtesy of YouTube/HelloJapan)

According to a report by Tatame, Bibiano Fernandes (8-3) will cut to bantamweight to compete in this year’s DREAM bantamweight grand prix. The former DREAM featherweight champion will drop to 135 for the first time since losing a 2006 King of the Cage championship bout to then-champion Urijah Faber when he competes in the opening round of the tournament against a yet-t-be-named opponent on September 24 in Japan.

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“Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva” Aftermath: Action packed fights may not last long, but will public interest in the tournament?

‘Nuff said.

Being a judge for Strikeforce events must be the easiest gig in town. You can say what you will about their matchmaking, but—Challengers series aside—their last 13 consecutive televised fights have ended without tallying up the scorecards. Strikeforce has been steadily building its reputation as a promotion that puts on exciting fights, if not always competitive ones. And while the general public will gravitate toward the action, exciting fights are something that any promotion can deliver on any given night. That’s why last night’s event was about so much more to Strikeforce. It was about bringing back the energy and momentum of the tournament format. It was about distancing themselves from the pack and making a name for themselves as the promotion that takes risks and carves their own path. So, did the gamble pay off? Let’s break it down.

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Video Evidence: Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down by Overeem in K-1 World GP Final

(Propers: YouTube/zikobeetlejuice)

Alistair Overeem clearly does most of the heavy lifting during the first two rounds of last night’s K-1 2010 World Grand Prix tournament final. After edging Tyrone Sprong via close(ish) decision in the quarterfinals and surviving a game but overmatched Gokhan Saki in the semis, the outcome is basically in the books for The Reem against 40-year-old Peter Aerts in the championship. As you can see in the above vid, Overeem is so sure he has Aerts down and out with a flurry early in the first round that he’s already standing on the ropes preparing to celebrate as the referee is issuing the count.

People who actually know stuff about K-1 contend Overeem was the odds-on favorite to win the GP anyway  – and indeed he looks like the smart choice in each of these three fights – but it’s still pretty damn impressive to see the erstwhile MMA fighter stalking down and roughing up these professional punch-fighters at what we’re led to believe is the highest level. When it’s all said and done, surprisingly quiet color commentator “King Mo” Lawal even proclaims Overeem “the combat sports athlete of the year, hands down.” Kind of hard to argue with that, after this display.

Overeem’s back-and-forth slugfest with Sprong and his bout with Golden Golory teammate Saki – which Michael Schiavello dubs “Kebabs vs. Horse Meat” – are obviously the better fights. Sprong appears to have Overeem’s number early (and we can’t help but notice that The Reem is kind of allowed to cheat his ass off in that one), while Saki comes out and tries to do some video game shit during their entertaining scrap. It almost works. Those vids are after the jump.

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Sengoku Featherweight GP Quarterfinals, Late Tonight on HDNet

Ronnie Mann Hatsu Hioki MMA Japan Sengoku
(Main-eventers Ronnie Mann and Hatsu Hioki. Image courtesy of allelbows.)

Attention insomniacs and members of the undead: HDNet is hooking you up tonight with a live broadcast of "Sengoku Eighth Battle," which kicks off at 3 a.m. ET/midnight PT. Though the card lacks big names, it will feature the quarterfinals of their ongoing featherweight grand prix — and if the fights are as entertaining as the FWGP’s first round, we’ll be in for a treat, so DVR this bitch at the very least. Here’s what the matchups will look like…

FEATHERWEIGHT GRAND PRIX BOUTS
Hatsu Hioki vs. Ronnie Mann
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Nam Phan
Masanori Kanehara vs. Chan Sung Jung
Marlon Sandro vs. Nick Denis

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Question of the Day: Can You Choke a Zombie?

Kanehara MMA Zombie choke
(Props: Nightmare of Battle)

Masanori Kanehara thinks you can, and at his open workout in Tokyo he told media members that that’s how he intends to beat Chan Sung Jung, also known as “The Korean Zombie,” (that’s who he’s supposedly preparing for in the above photo, but man what a cheap zombie mask) in the Sengoku featherweight Grand Prix.  Conventional wisdom has always held that the best way to deal with a zombie is by destroying the brain or removing the head, preferably by doing something awesome/gruesome.  

But the rear naked choke?  I guess that could work, though your risk of getting bitten while sinking in the choke seems pretty high.  Still better than an armbar or guillotine choke, though.  And don’t even think about trying to heelhook one of those suckers.

Basically, to sum up: if there is a zombie attack and you are forced to choose which MMA fighter to team up with until the whole thing blows over, Demian Maia is probably not your safest pick.  Your first instinct might be to go with Fedor Emelianenko, but lest you forget, he’s lived with some fear issues when it comes to darkness.  Something to think about.

On a related note, the zombie embodies man’s fear of the crushing force of society and conformity.  Discuss.

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Kid Yamamoto to Return (Finally) at DREAM.9; ‘Superdreadnought’ Matches Also Featured


(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*

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DREAM 8′s Lineup Isn’t Looking Too Awesome

Hayato Sakurai Shinya Aoki MMA Japan DREAM
("I used to be an AFC like Shinya. Now that I’ve learned the Mystery Method, I pull more tail than Hayato.")

DREAM’s 2009 welterweight grand prix kicks off April 5th at DREAM 8, and four of the tournament matchups have just been announced, along with a few features in other weight classes. The event will be headlined by a rematch between Shinya Aoki and Hayato "Mach" Sakurai; Sakurai previously won a decision over Aoki at a Shooto event in August ’05. Check out the current lineup below, and keep in mind that the opening round kicks off ten days from now, and only half the field is assembled. Not that this is the first time that DREAM hasn’t had all their GP participants locked down before the opening round, but this is really pushing it…

Welterweight GP Fights
Shinya Aoki vs. Hayato “Mach” Sakurai
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Jeff Monson (heavyweight)
Ikuhisa "Minowaman" Minowa vs. Katsuyori Shibata (194-pound catchweight)
Andrews Nakahara vs. Shungo Oyama (middleweight)
Murilo "Ninja" Rua vs. Dong Sik Yoon (middleweight)
Hideo Tokoro vs. Daiki "DJ.taiki" Hata (featherweight GP fight)

I don’t see how the winner of Aoki/Sakurai doesn’t just pwn the fuck out of this field, which is easily the weakest of any DREAM GP to date. Shirai and Ikemoto are local jobbers, and UFC/WEC-castoff John Alessio is only slightly better. High just got owned by Jay Hieron at Affliction: Day of Reckoning; too bad the Thoroughbred isn’t available for this tournament. And while Andre Galvao is a stud when it comes to jiu-jitsu, he’s underexperienced in MMA. There’d better be some big names attached to those last four spots, or the tourney could be a gigantic bust.

And the other bouts on the card aren’t much better. The Kharitonov/Monson clash could be entertaining, but of the six men in the other non-GP bouts, only Minowaman and Ninja have winning records. Seriously. DREAM is hoping for a big ratings resurgence when they return to a decent time-slot, but it’ll be hard to get fans interested — especially in the U.S., where once again, HDNet is airing the event days later on tape-delay.

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DREAM 7 Quick Results + Videos

(Aoki vs. Gardner. Props to MMALinker.)

The opening round of DREAM’s featherweight GP is in the books, with tournament standout Masakazu Imanari advancing (just barely) over Atsushi Yamamoto, former wrestling world champion Joe Warren scoring a cut-stoppage victory over former WEC bantamweight champ Chase Beebe, and Korean judo champ Jong Won Kim losing his MMA debut to Hiroyuki Takaya.

The non-tourney bouts were all easy victories for the big names, as Mitsuhiro Ishida used his wrestling to dominate Daisuke Nakamura for 15 minutes, and Tatsuya Kawajiri was able to choke out BJ Penn student Ross Ebanez in the shortest fight of the night. The Shinya Aoki/David Gardner 163-pound feature started out exciting, with the American punishing Aoki with punches to the face after Aoki tried to pull guard, but once Aoki took his back it was only a matter of time before the submission came. Completely trapped, Gardner took a couple opportunites to wave to the audience. I don’t think I need to tell you what happens when you’ve got Aoki on your back and you decide to lift your arm to wave.

Full results are after the jump, followed by videos of the Warren/Beebe and Ishida/Nakamura scraps.

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Bout Order Announced for Sunday’s DREAM 7

Shinya Aoki Japan MMA BJ Penn
(Hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

FEG has finalized the lineup for this Sunday’s DREAM 7 in Saitama, Japan, which will feature the opening round of their featherweight grand prix. Even though the card contains such big names as Shinya Aoki (in a welterweight tune-up match), Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Mitsuhiro Ishida, the show’s main event will be the tournament’s most anticipated first-round bout, between #5-ranked featherweight Masakazu Imanari and Krazy Bee standout Atsushi Yamamoto. Here’s how the fights will go down: 

9. FW GP: Masakazu Imanari vs. Atsushi Yamamoto
8. FW GP: Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Kim Jong Won
7. FW GP: Yoshiro Maeda vs. Micah Miller
6. Lightweights: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Ross Ebanez 
5. Welterweights: Shinya Aoki vs. David Gardner
4. Lightweights: Mitsuhiro Ishida vs. Daisuke Nakamura
3. FW GP: Akiyo Nishiura vs. Abel Cullum
2. FW GP: Chase Beebe vs. Joe Warren
1. FW GP: Takafumi Otsuka vs. Bibiano Fernandes

You might have noticed that DREAM 7 will only produce six quarterfinalists for the featherweight GP. The other two will be Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, who’s getting a bye to the second round, and the winner of the Daiki Hata/Hideo Tokoro match at DREAM 8 (April 5th, Nagoya, Japan). Unfortunately, Sunday’s event won’t be broadcast on HDNet until next Saturday, but we’ll post the best fights on Sunday and Monday, so stay tuned.

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Gomi Is Depressed


(Sometimes you have only one friend, and he’s somewhere at the bottom of that next mug of beer.)

In a recent interview with Sportsnavi (via Suki) Takanori Gomi talks about his fall from the top of the lightweight division and his loss to Satoru Kitaoka (video here, and it doesn’t take long) in the Sengoku lightweight Grand Prix.  Give him credit for owning up to his poor performance, as Gomi more or less says that he has sucked lately and doesn’t seem entirely hopeful that things will get better.

As you saw, I couldn’t do anything. I suppose fans who knew me since PRIDE considered that I looked like a totally different person. I don’t even know why. I didn’t feel any energy in the ring. After the fight, I felt like I was free. I thought I fulfilled my duty.
- Do you mean that you resigned from a representer of the top lightweight fighter?
I suppose so. I hadn’t proven myself in the last few fights. I was training, yet everything was fall in apart. I couldn’t put together because my training wasn’t enough. My skills went down in the last 2 years. I experienced a lot in the last 2 years. I quit Kiguchi dojo without thinking well, and started my gym. I felt responsibility to take care of my students, and I was passive about my fight. I was just waiting and see who I fought with.
- The title of the tournament was “road to Gomi”
I have no excuse about my performance and my loss. Kitaoka was entirely better than me. I I hope he becomes a great champion and defends his title.
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