**I will post results and review once I see the event. Should be broadcast on HDNet shortly!
Dream has announced 15 participants and match-ups in its upcoming 139 pound featherweight tournament. The first round will take place on March 8th on the Dream 7 card. The event will be shown via tape delay on HDNet. The tournament features a couple big names and 4 former WEC fighters.
That field is limited to 15 as veteran Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto (17-1) holds a bye into the second round. Kid beat Rani Yahya in his last fight a year and a half ago and has since had ACL surgery. Kid's big wins have come over Genki Sudo, Royler Gracie, Jeff Curran and Cael Uno.
(Kid Yamamoto's famous flying knee KO of Miyata)
Here are the match-ups:
Masakazu Imanari (15-6-1) v. Atsushi Yamamoto (12-5-1)- Imanari owns wins over WEC champ Mike Thomas Brown, Yoshiro Maeda Robbie Oliver, Jean Silva and Jorge Gurgel. He is a former Cage Rage and DEEP champion. Imanari is known for his prowess in leglocks with 8 leglock, heel hook or toe hold victories. He is one of the favorites in the tournament.
Atsushi Yamamoto's last seven fights have gone to decision, but he has gone 5-2 during that stretch. He won over Hideo Tokoro at Dream 6. Yamamoto holds wins in Shooto and Pancrase.
Chase Beebe (12-3) v. Joe Warren (0-0)- Chase Beebe was the WEC 135 pound champion before being defeated by Miguel Torres. Beebe won the BW title over Eddie Wineland and defended the title against Rani Yahya. Joe Warren is a former Greco-Roman Olympic wrestler.
Micah Miller (10-2) v. Yoshiro Maeda (23-6)- Miller is also a veteran of the WEC with victories over Chance Farrar (7-2) and Jesse Moreng (8-1). Miller is an unorthodox, tall and lanky fighter who should present problems to the Japanese dominated field. Miller fought WEC's 145 pound division but shouldn't have a problem making 139.
Maeda's last two fights were losses in the WEC to Miguel Torres for the 135 pound title and to Rani Yahya. Maeda is a crafty veteran normally fighting at 135. He will be at a size and reach disadvantage to Miller in this fight. In his lone WEC win, Maeda knocked out Charlie Valencia with a kick to the body.
This should be a great fight. If I were ranking the tournament seeds, I would have Miller and Maeda up near the 3-5 mark, so they may have gotten shafted with the match-up.
Wicky Akiyo (9-3-1) v. Abel Cullom (13-2)- Wicky, real name Akiyo Nishiura, is 4-1 in past 5 fights and has fought primarily in Shooto. Cullom is from the United States. In the biggest fight of his career, Cullom lost a unimous decision to BJJ ace Wison Reis in ShoXC. Cullom has a 4-0 King of the Cage record with 8 subs and 4 KO's in his 13 wins.
Takafumi Otsuka (8-3-1) v. Bibiano Fernandes (3-2)- Otsuka was 4-1 in 2008, fighting primarily in Deep. Fernandes is a BJJ blackbelt with two losses to tough competition, Faber and Kid Yamamoto. Fernandes has 2 victories in a row.
Hiroyuki Takaya (9-6-1) v. Kim Jong Won (0-0)- Kim Jong Won is a 1996 Judo Olympian from Korea. Takaya's last two fights were losses in the WEC. Takaya holds wins over Antonio Carvalho and Stephan Palling.
Hideo Tokoro (21-15-1) v. Daiki "DJ.taiki" Hata (9-5-3)- Tokoro has the most experience out of the group. He recently lost via armbar to fellow competitor Atsushi Yamamoto. Tokoro's big wins in his career have been against Brad Pickett, Royler Gracie, and Alexandre Franca "Pequeno" Nogueira.
Hata is a Pancrase and Deep veteran with victory over Yoshiro Maeda. Hata suffered an injury pushing this fight to Dream 8.
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