The Fighter Entertainment Group has announced the matchups for their featherweight Grand Prix which will commence at Dream.7 on March 8 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The fights will be contested at 139 pounds as opposed to 145 pounds, which is the recognized weight limit for featherweight under the unified rules of MMA.
World renowned Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto has been granted a bye into the second round in hopes that he will have recovered from a previous injury. The Grand Prix’s second round of the is scheduled to take place in May at Dream.9.
Yamamoto, who is 17-1 and is riding amazing 14 fight win streak has been battling various injuries for some time now, hasn’t been at full strength since defeating Rani Yahya at a K-1 “Dynamite!!” show in December of 2007.
The former K-1 HERO’s star had been scheduled to make his debut with the DREAM organization against Joseph Benavidez at Dream.5 last July before being forced to withdraw just three days before the fight.
At the time, it was reported that Yamamoto had suffered a partial tear of his anterior ligament in his knee while attempting a flying knee in practice. He has been on the sidelines ever since.
Another fighter scheduled for the Grand Prix that is on the injured list is Pancrase veteran Daika Hata. Hata received an eye injury but will face Hideo Tokoro in the opening round of the Grand Prix at Dream.8.
Here is the complete list of participants for the first round of the DREAM featherweight grand prix:
- Masakazu Imanari (15-6-1) vs. Atsushi Yamamoto (12-5-1)
- Hiroyuki Takaya (9-6-1) vs. Jong Won Kim (0-0)
- Yoshiro Maeda (23-6-2) vs. Micah Miller (10-2)
- Chase Beebe (11-3) vs. Joe Warren (0-0)
- Bibiano Fernandes (3-2) vs. Takafumi Otsuka (8-3-1)
- Abel Cullum (13-2) vs. Akiyo Nishiura (9-3-1)
- Daika Hata (9-5-3) vs. Hideo Tokoro (21-15-1)
HDNET will be broadcasting both events live in North America.