Dream featherweight ace Hiroyuki Takaya (left) defends against Kazuyuki Miyata on Saturday. | Photo: Taro Irei
TOKYO -- All fighters with the exception of UFC veteran Drew Fickett hit their respective weight marks for Saturday’s “Fight for Japan: Japan Grand Prix Final,” set to take place at Ariake Colosseum.
Fickett, who entered as a late replacement for the injured Willamy Freire last week, weighed in two pounds over the 154-pound limit for his bout with Tatsuya Kawajiri. Dream officials stated that they would allow Fickett extra time to shed the excess weight and that he would be reweighed later in the evening. An unimpressed and otherwise hostile Kawajiri claimed that though he hopes that Fickett eventually passes his next weight check, he does so in the expectation of “beating [Fickett] back to America.”
Also in the realm of weight issues, the newly minted Marius Zaromskis-Eiji Ishikawa bout was announced as being contested at a 174-pound catchweight. Longtime Japanese veteran Ishikawa stepped up to replace an injured Hayato “Mach” Sakurai yesterday, saving the Zaromskis bout on a card already plagued with injuries. While Sakurai was announced as having a non-specific “leg injury” yesterday, the UFC, Shooto, and Pride veteran made an appearance at Friday’s press conference complete with crutches and a bandaged leg.
Dream event producer Keiichi Sasahara specified that Sakurai had suffered a torn ligament in his right ankle, and that the fighter would be on the shelf for at least a month.
Wincing through pain, an apologetic Sakurai made a statement of his own, claiming, “I don’t know what to say. To the fans, Mr. Zaromskis, Mr. Ishikawa, and our associated teams, I’d like to truly apologize. I really wanted to fight because this would have been my 50th fight. I’ve fought for the last twenty years, but I’ve never injured myself just before a fight like this.”
Headlining Saturday night’s event will be current Dream featherweight champion Hiroyuki Takaya, who takes on the surging Kazuyuki Miyata, undefeated in his last six bouts. The 2000 Sydney Games Olmypian promised to put the champion through the gamut of his wrestling abilities, while Takaya made a simpler promise of “wildness and violence.”
Joining the featherweight championship on the card will be a light-heavyweight title tilt between former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion and former Dream middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi and 2004 Athens Games judo silver medalist Hiroshi Izumi, as well as the finals of Dream's 2011 bantamweight tournament, pitting former Deep featherweight and bantamweight champion Masakazu Imanari against K-1 Hero's fan favorite Hideo Tokoro.
Update, 4:07 a.m. ET: Drew Fickett successfully weighed in at 5 p.m. local time, tipping the scales at 154.3 pounds.
Dream “Fight for Japan: 2011 Japan Bantamweight Grand Prix Final” weigh-in results:
Dream Featherweight Championship
Hiroyuki Takaya (143.3 pounds) vs. Kazuyuki Miyata (143.4 lbs)
Dream 2011 Japan Bantamweight Tournament Final
Masakazu Imanari (134.5 lbs) vs. Hideo Tokoro (134 lbs)
Dream Light Heavyweight Championship
Gegard Mousasi (205 lbs) vs. Hiroshi Izumi (204.3 lbs)
Tatsuya Kawajiri (154.3 lbs) vs. Drew Fickett (154.3 lbs)
Keisuke Fujiwara (134.5 lbs) vs. Kenji Osawa (134 lbs)
Trevor Prangley (205 lbs) vs. Tatsuya Mizuno (202.8 lbs)
Marius Zaromskis (174.2 lbs) vs. Eiji Ishikawa (173.5 lbs)
Bruno Carvalho (154.3 lbs) vs. Eiji Mitsuoka (153.7 lbs)