The longstanding tradition of Japanese MMA to close out the calendar will continue this year in fine fashion thanks to the fine folks at Glory Sports International who decided to rekindle DREAM for a December 31 effort at Saitama Super Arena. With the date growing closer, officials have started announcing match-ups scheduled to take place at the spectacle including recent bouts featuring heavy-handed kickboxer Melvin Manhoef and slick bantamweight Bibiano Fernandes.
In middleweight action, Manhoef will mix it up with Denis Kang, while Fernandes is set to fight WEC veteran Yoshiro Maeda.
Manhoef is one of MMA’s most devastating strikers, racking up 24 knockouts in 26 total victories. Among the opponents he’s chopped down in his career are a number of notable names including Kazushi Sakuraba, Kazuo Misaki, and Mark Hunt. Comparably, the 35-15-2 Kang is also an apt finisher and should pose a legitimate threat for the sub-par submission defense of Manhoef come showtime at DREAM 18.
Meanwhile, Fernandes (12-3) is a Top 10 fighter on a four-fight winning streak. However, he should have his hands full with Maeda (30-11-4) who is as seasoned as they come and is riding the momentum of back-to-back submission stoppages.
PHOTO CREDIT – FEG