Plan Unveiled for Next HERO’S 154-lb GP

By Stephen Martinez Jun 11, 2007
Kicking off the annual mixed martial arts extravaganza of shows put together by most Japanese promoters this time of year and coming hot on their heals of the promotion's first attempt to "invade" the American market, Japan's largest fight promoter, Fight Entertainment Group, announced a partial list of names for the upcoming HERO'S 154-pound tournament to be held at Yokohama Arena on July 16.

While not sporting the same caliber of fighters as the now inactive PRIDE lightweight division, HERO'S, under the guidance of ex-RINGS head-honcho Akira Maeda (Pictures), has really come around in the last three years by building an interesting division that mixes good local talent with international names well known in the MMA community.

Joining current HERO'S welterweight champion Gesias Calvancanti (Pictures), some of the names officially announced by FEG include Caol Uno (Pictures), Vitor Ribeiro (Pictures), Hideo Tokoro (Pictures), Katsuhiko Nagata, Kazuyuki Miyata (Pictures), Kultar Gil, Shuichiro Katsumura (Pictures) and Alexandre Franca Nogueira (Pictures).

While FEG didn't announce any official matches or brackets, it's expected that the upcoming HERO'S show will mark the opening round of the welterweight tournament, taking course through the rest of the year until the finals at K-1 Dynamite New Year's Eve show.

It's interesting to notice that some regular names from HERO'S welterweight division like Norifumi Yamamoto (Pictures) and Genki Sudo (Pictures) were not announced like in previous years.

Yamamoto is focused on pursuing a spot in the Japanese Wrestling Olympic team leading to next year's Olympic games to be held in Beijing, China, while Genki Sudo (Pictures) is currently retired from MMA activity due to a non-official but chronic back injury. He has found a new career in Japan: entertainment.

Also, current 76-kilogram ADCC champion Marcelo Garcia (Pictures) stated he's not interested in cutting weight down to 70-kg for his anticipated MMA debut, ruling him out of any participation in the 155-pound tournament for the time being. The decision also leaves him with no other choice but to participate in the almost non-existent 76-kilo division.

Other fighters on the card but not taking part of the middleweight tournament are Melvin Manhoef (Pictures), Taiei Kin (Pictures), Katsuyori Shibata, Bernard Ackah (Pictures), and the always-entertainment Akebono.
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