Heavyweights Duffee, ‘Afrozilla’ Clash in Dream on July 16

By Chris Nelson Jun 15, 2011
American heavyweights Todd Duffee and Nick Gaston will square off July 16 in Tokyo’s Ariake Coliseum as part of the latest offering from Dream, the Japanese promotion has announced.

During a Wednesday press conference at Deep Official Gym Impact in Tokyo, event producer Keiichi Sasahara revealed that an additional alteration to the show’s card will see Keisuke Fujiwara step in to meet Kenji Osawa in the third-place match of Dream’s 2011 Japan bantamweight grand prix. Fujiwara replaces Atsushi Yamamoto, who was diagnosed with a possible retinal detachment after his May 29 scrap with finalist Hideo Tokoro.

Though not formally announced, Sasahara stated that other possible participants for the eventual 10-bout bill include welterweight titleholder Marius Zaromskis, Caol Uno, Hayato “Mach” Sakurai and “Lion” Takeshi Inoue. Dream’s lightweight ace, Shinya Aoki, will likely not take part, though two foreigners may vie for the chance to face the “Tobikan Judan” at a later date.

Duffee, 25, has not fought since a disastrous New Year’s Eve collision in Japan with Alistair Overeem. Booked on less than two weeks’ notice, the match lasted only 19 seconds, as Overeem left the Indiana native unconscious in the rope with a vicious left hand. It was the second consecutive knockout loss for Duffee, who was bounced from the UFC after suffering his first defeat, a May 2010 upset at the hands of Mike Russow. Since his loss to Overeem, Duffee has moved camps from Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas to Grudge Training Center in Wheat Ridge, Colo.

Perhaps best known for his appearance on MTV’s “Bully Beatdown,” Gaston has spent the duration of his six-fight career competing for in the King of the Cage organization. After a foul-marred no-contest in his professional debut against ex-NFL player Michael Westbrook, “Afrozilla” has reeled off five straight wins. Gaston has finished his last four opponents, including “Ultimate Fighter” alumnus Darrill Schoonover via doctor stoppage in May 2010.
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