A hand injury has forced Darren Uyenoyama (above) from Dream's Japan GP. | Photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
TOKYO -- Strikeforce veteran Darren Uyenoyama has been forced out of his May 29 bout in Dream's Japan bantamweight grand prix against Atsushi Yamamoto due to a recurring hand injury.
Uyenoyama told Sherdog.com Wednesday that a hairline fracture to a metacarpal in his right hand ultimately forced him to pull out.
Uyenoyama's last action was in the Shooto ring last September, where he crushed then-Shooto world champion Shuichiro Katsumura with brutal ground-and-pound for a second round stoppage in a non-title bout. Despite the emphatic finish, the victory came at the cost of Uyenoyama's right hand according to the San Francisco-based fighter.
"I couldn't even use chopsticks for a few weeks [after the Katsumura fight]," said Uyenoyama. "It started acting up again several weeks ago, but only really became an issue recently."
"I've been told my recovery time will be about three months, at which point I hope to return to Japan, either to fight for the Shooto world title or return to Dream," Uyenoyama added. "Whether I show up in Japan or the U.S. though, I want everyone to know I'll always fight for Japan."
The Yamamoto bout would have been Uyenoyama's second Dream appearance after his 2008 "Fight of the Year" candidate against Hideo Tokoro at Dream 4.
Following Uyenoyama's withdrawal, Dream announced that Uyenoyama would be replaced by Osaka-based prospect Yusaku Nakamura at an open workout at Deep Official Impact Gym in Tokyo.
A student of Dream veteran Seichi Ikemoto, the 24-year-old Nakamura sports a 3-0 record with each of his three wins coming by way of knockout. Nakamura last saw action at Deep's 10th anniversary "50 Impact" event in October, where he crushed Deep mainstay Isao Terada to notch another stoppage.
Taro Irei contributed to this report.