‘Kid’ Signs with UFC, Johnson Likely Foe for UFC 126

By Mike Whitman Dec 10, 2010
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (Pictured) is coming to America.

UFC President Dana White on Friday confirmed the rumors swirling around the Krazy Bee fighter’s negotiations with the organization via his Twitter account, stating that “we did sign kid.”

Yamamoto will likely debut against bantamweight Demetrious Johnson, and the promotion is reportedly trying to include the contest in its annual Super Bowl weekend card at UFC 126 on Feb. 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Sherdog learned of the proposed matchup from sources close to the situation last week. Johnson’s camp could not be reached for comment.

Along with Takanori Gomi, Yamamoto is probably the most recognizable face in Japanese MMA. He is known for his athleticism and wrestling prowess, as well as his hard-hitting stand-up attack. Due to a lack of lighter weight classes, Kid has been forced to fight outside of his natural weight class for much of his career but currently fights at Dream’s 139-pound featherweight limit.

Recently, the 33-year-old defeated Federico Lopez at Dream 14 in May, knocking out the Team Quest product in less than two minutes. Prior to that victory, Yamamoto lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his decade-long career, dropping decisions to former Dream featherweight king Masanori Kanehara and current Bellator 145-pound champ Joe Warren. Kid has only been finished once in his career and holds 13 of his 18 victories by knockout.

Johnson is fresh off a third-round submission victory over the Greg Jackson-trained Damacio Page. “Mighty Mouse” used superior wrestling and positioning to set up a guillotine choke, forcing Page to tap out in their bantamweight duel at WEC 52. Johnson has only lost once in his three-year career, dropping a unanimous decision to Brad Pickett in his WEC debut in April. Like Yamamoto, Johnson is used to fighting outside his natural weight class. The AMC Pankration product has stated he would likely drop to flyweight if the 125-pound division were instituted by the UFC. Even so, the 24-year-old has done fine at bantamweight, going 2-1 in his short career with the WEC.
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