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Tag: Norifumi Yamamoto

The Nine Most Disappointing Debuts in UFC History


(Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

Tomorrow night in Georgia, former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold returns to the Octagon for the first time since having his face kicked into space by Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 8 last May. Although Belfort was coming off a blistering head kick KO of Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7, many were still picking and betting on Rockhold to defeat “The Phenom” in his UFC debut, and the betting line surprisingly closed as a pick ‘em.

Things didn’t go Rockhold’s way that night, to say the least. In hindsight it’s not such a bad loss considering what Belfort did to iron-chinned Dan Henderson in his next bout, but it was still incredibly disappointing for the highly-touted Californian to be knocked out in less than five minutes when — on paper at least — the fight with Belfort should have been much more competitive.

Of course, Rockhold isn’t the first UFC fighter who fell short of expectations in his Octagon debut. The question is, will he rebound in his second fight, or fall deeper into “bust” territory? Read on for our list of eight other fighters who didn’t live up to the hype in their first UFC appearances, and let us know if we’ve left out any notable disappointments.

Ben Rothwell

(Photo via Getty)

After the IFL collapsed, the promotion’s former heavyweight champion Ben Rothwell made his way over to the UFC and debuted against fast-rising contender Cain Velasquez at UFC 104. Although Rothwell’s aura of invincibility had been cracked by Andrei Arlovski’s limbs at Affliction: Banned the previous summer, there was still hope that he could get back to his winning ways and make a run for the UFC heavyweight title.

But against Velasquez, it was clear that Rothwell was thoroughly outclassed by a far superior mixed martial artist, and “Big Ben” suffered the second true knockout loss of his career. In hindsight, it’s not surprising that Rothwell couldn’t hang with Velasquez, the current UFC heavyweight champion, but at the time it was a harsh reality check for those hardcore MMA fans who believed in Rothwell after his IFL run.

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‘UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson’ Prelims on FX — Live Results & Commentary


“Damn it, Chris. SUSHI is from Japan. Pacquiao is from the Philippines, dummy.” Props: UFC.com

The UFC is making it’s first trip to Japan since UFC 29, and what a better way to celebrate it than by having this website’s most beloved weekend contributer liveblog the prelims on FX? Unfortunately for you, Chris Colemon is busy- so instead Seth Falvo will be handling the liveblogging duties for the prelims this evening. Oh well, at least it’s something. Can Takeya Mizugaki make it two in a row against Chris Cariaso? Will former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion Steve Cantwell stop his four fight losing streak against Riki Fukuda? And what does fate have in store for aging JMMA legends Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto and Takanori Gomi? Tune in here to find out as it unfolds.

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Wednesday Morning MMA Link Club


(“I’ve always wanted your autograph.” Alistair Overeem signs his new UFC contract in Lorenzo Fertitta’s office. Props: bawzzzz)

Some selected highlights from our friends around the MMA blogosphere. E-mail feedback@cagepotato.com for details on how your site can join the MMA Link Club…

- Alistair Overeem Was Offered Immediate Title Shot Before Accepting Brock Lesnar Fight (MMA Fighting)

- UFC 135: Matt Hughes vs Josh Koscheck official for Sept. 24 in Denver (MMA Mania)

- Top 10 Worked Shoot-Fights in Japanese Pro Wrestling (TheFightNerd)

- MMA Comedy Gold: Interviewer ‘Skippy’ (AKA Ed Bassmaster) Discusses UFC 133 Experience, Shouts Out CagePotato (BleacherReport.com/MMA)

- American Top Team Offering a Year of All-Expenses-Paid Training for Middleweights and Above (Five Ounces of Pain)

- Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto Meets Octagon Newbie Darren Uyenoyama at UFC on FOX 1 (5thRound)

- WWE Network coming in 2012 (MMA Payout)

- Dan Henderson Wants Jones vs. Rampage Winner, Says Rashad Evans Can Wait (LowKick)

- Your Cubicle Desperately Needs a Foot-Tall ‘MMA Alien’ Collectible (MiddleEasy)

- Lorenzo Fertitta on UFC Fighter Salaries: “All These Keyboard Warriors Have no Idea What They’re Talking About” (FightOpinion)

- Book Review: Stitch Duran’s ‘From the Fields to the Garden’ (MMA Convert)

- Ariel Helwani’s Official MMA Rankings (NBC Sports MMA)

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Heads-Up: Kid Yamamoto vs. Demetrious Johnson to Air Live on Facebook

Norifumi Kid Yamamoto MMA UFC 126
(Click the image above to watch some Yamamoto vs. Johnson video hype courtesy of the UFC’s Facebook page. Kid describes his UFC debut as both "cool" and "fun." What can we say, the dude knows how to cut a promo.)

Just like they did with the ‘Fight for the Troops 2′ prelims, the UFC has responded to popular demand by hooking fans up with an additional UFC 126 preliminary bout on their Facebook page this Saturday. The bantamweight scrap between Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto and Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson will air live at 8:25 p.m. ET / 5:25 p.m. PT at Facebook.com/UFC. (Just click on the "Live Video" tab.) UFC prez Dana White will also be hosting a chat on the page starting at 8 p.m.

After the Kid vs. Mouse appetizer, Spike TV will air two more crowd-pleasing preliminary matches (Michihiro Omigawa vs. Chad Mendes, Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly) at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, leading into the ‘Silva vs. Belfort’ pay-per-view broadcast. Be sure to come back to CagePotato.com for live results all night. S’gonna be a good one…

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In Case You Forgot: Kid Yamamoto Makes His UFC Debut This Saturday


(Yamamoto def. Federico ‘Kiko’ Lopez via KO, 1:41 of round 1, 5/29/10)

It’s a sad state of affairs when one of the greatest featherweight fighters of all time can arrive in the UFC with virtually zero fanfare, buried on a preliminary card dark-match against a young contender. Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto enters the Octagon for the first time this Saturday at UFC 126, and while that would have been a major story three years ago, times have changed. 

Yamamoto made his name in K-1′s MMA shows as a lightning-fast knockout artist, but his reputation took a major hit in 2008-2009, when he followed-up a long knee-injury layoff with two decision losses against Joe Warren and Masanori Kanehara. (He also divorced his hot wife in 2009. So, bad times all around.) Last year, Yamamoto dropped to bantamweight for the first time in his career to face journeyman Federico Lopez at Dream.14. Showing flashes of his old self, he finished the fight in less than two minutes, crumpling Lopez with a right hook and smashing him with shots on the ground until the ref intervened.

Of course, it’s too early to say that the Kid is "back" — his opponent, Demetrious Johnson, is a tough customer who’s looked impressive in his last two wins in the WEC, and having a successful Octagon debut is easier said than done. Can Yamamoto jump-start his career in the U.S., or is it too late for him to make an impact? Check out some of his greatest victories after the jump, and remember the good times…

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Wild-Ass UFC Booking Roundup: Miller vs. Shalorus, Faber vs. Wineland, Bruce Leroy, Kid Yamamoto + More


("This big horsemeat-eating motherf*cker is next.")

There’s been a veritable orgy of UFC fight-bookings happening over the last couple days, and we might as well throw them all at you in one lump sum. We’ll start with one that might not be the biggest of the bunch, but definitely struck us as the strangest…

Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus - UFC 128:
When Dana White proclaimed that Miller’s impressive kneebar submission win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 124 put him in the mix of  lightweight contenders, nobody figured that would mean that he’d be paired with an Octagon newcomer in his next bout. But this is the UFC, and sometimes the organization’s MMA math just doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense. The Sparta, New Jersey native will attempt to increase his winning streak to seven when he takes on  (7-0-2) WEC veteran Shalorus at UFC 128 in his backyard in New Jersey.

Dan Miller vs. David Branch - UFC 128:
Considering that his brother is on the card and they can save on cornermen hotel rooms and plane tickets, it’s a no-brainer that the UFC would have another local fighter like Miller on the card for UFC 128. The fact that they now have to pay Chuck Liddell’s seven-figure salary,  bar and strip club tabs has not been lost on the accounting department who have undoubtedly suggested some cost cutting measures that will be implemented in 2011. Wait until you see the beat-up budget ex-strippers they bring in to replace Arianny and Chandella.

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs. Brendan Schaub – UFC 128:
It turned out that reports earlier this week that a rumored bout between Schaub and Stephan Struve had been verbally agreed to by both fighters were incorrect. Instead, Schaub will look to climb over former PRIDE wrecking machine, Cro Cop on his way to a top five opponent in 2011.

Filipovic will attempt to prolong his rapidly shortening career by defeating the up-and-coming fighter who is riding a three-fight winning streak which includes a "W" over Gabriel Gonzaga — the last man to put Cro Cop to sleep prior to Frank Mir turning his lights out in his last outing at UFC 119.

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According to Dana White, Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto Has Signed with the UFC

(
(Wait, you guys FIGHT in this thing?)

Earlier this week, Dana White mentioned that his promotion was in talks to add Japanese featherweight Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto to the mix of the UFC’s top notch 145-pound class.

Well, according to the UFC president, the popular 33-year-old Japanese fighter has come to terms with the Zuffa-owned organization.

White tweeted the news last night.

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Oh, Yeah: DREAM.14 Airs Late Tonight on HDNet (3 a.m. ET/midnight PT)

Ralek Gracie Kazushi Sakuraba Dream 14 weigh-ins
(A motivated Sakuraba is a dangerous Sakuraba. That doesn’t apply here, obviously, but I’m just saying. Check out more DREAM.14 weigh-in photos at dreamofficial.com.)

We haven’t given this event much play because, let’s face it, none of these fights really amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Nick Diaz is probably going to chew up Hayato Sakurai, who has been stopped in his last two outings. Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Ralek Gracie is a sideshow, even if it’s one with a historic hook. (Minowaman vs. random fat-guy Imani Lee is just a sideshow, period.) Kid Yamamoto is facing a middling prospect, while Joachim Hansen — who’s riding his own two-fight losing streak — will look for his first win at featherweight. The only real questions are: 1) How good will Diaz look? and 2) Will Saku add another beating to his highlight reel? Still, if you happen to have HDNet and DVR service (or insomnia), it’s better than nothing. Weigh-in results are below. Come back tomorrow for complete results and selected fight videos.

8. WW: Nick Diaz 76.0kg vs. Hayato "Mach" Sakurai 76.5kg
7. 88kg Catchweight: Kazushi Sakuraba 86.5kg vs. Ralek Gracie 87.4kg
6. FW: Hiroyuki Takaya 65.0kg vs. Joachim Hansen 65.0kg
5. FW: Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto 59.8kg vs. Federico "Kiko" Lopez 62.0 kg* (Lopez came in way over the fight’s 60kg limit; he will be given time to lose the weight this afternoon.)
4. FW: Hideo Tokoro 63.0kg vs. Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura 62.8kg
3. FW: Kazuyuki Miyata 64.2kg vs. Takafumi Otsuka 64.4kg
2. FW: Yoshiro Maeda 60.7kg vs. Kenji Osawa 61.0kg
1. Openweight: Minowaman 88kg vs. Imani Lee 150kg

After the jump: Diaz explains why he’s the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

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Video: Enson Inoue Sheds Light On Falling-Out With Ex-Brother-In-Law, Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto


(Video courtesy YouTube/Kimura.se)

PRIDE veteran Enson Inoue sat down with Kimura.se recently for a candid interview and discussed everything from his fighting career and marijuana possession charges to his relationships with all of the Japanese Yakuza mafia families.

Inoue was asked about his tumultuous relationship with former brother-in-law Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto and expounded on why their friendship went south.

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‘How Far They’ve Fallen’ Alert: Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto


(Props: spicadocious)

There was a time, not too long ago, when Norifumi Yamamoto was considered to be far-and-away the world’s best fighter under 155 pounds. His star-making run in K-1′s MMA shows from 2004-2007 featured Kid savagely knocking out fighters like Caol Uno, Royler Gracie, Rani Yahya, and most famously, Kazuyuki Miyata in just 4 seconds. Yamamoto hasn’t been the same since he returned to competition last year following a knee injury layoff, and has dropped back-to-back decisions against Joe Warren and Masanori Kanehara. Still, we weren’t expecting this recent news from MMAFighting:

Japanese star Kid Yamamoto is expected to make his Strikeforce debut on May 15 against Federico Lopez. The fight is not officially signed, but sources say it is close. The fight would be contested at 135 pounds. As of right now, the fight isn’t expected to air on Showtime.

FYI, Federico Lopez is a 4-2 Team Quest product who has lost his last two matches. I only have one question: You kiddin’ me? While promoting Yamamoto in the U.S. has its share of challenges — Strikeforce’s lack of a bantamweight division, for one thing — Yamamoto is a true legend, and one of the biggest MMA stars that Japan has ever produced. Recent losses aside, Yamamoto would still have great value in the hands of the right promoter. At the very least, why wouldn’t you have him headline a "Challengers" event, instead of sticking him on the dark portion of "Heavy Artillery"? (I still wouldn’t trust Showtime to show his fight between/after main card bouts, UFC-style.) Will Strikeforce be able to convince casual fans why Kid Yamamoto matters? After the jump: The tentative lineup that Yamamoto may be getting lost in…

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