‘Kid’ Yamamoto vs. Kanehara & Other Bouts Announced for Dynamite

By Jordan Breen Dec 15, 2009
With the biggest night in Japanese combat sports just over two weeks away, K-1 and Dream parent company Fighting and Entertainment Group announced seven new matchups for the 2009 installment of Dynamite at the Saitama Super Arena on New Year's Eve.

As anticipated, six of the new fights feature a Dream versus Sengoku theme, pitting fighters from Japan's two big-ticket promotions against each other.

A strong contingent of featherweight bouts will see superstar-cum-bad boy Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto taking on Sengoku champion Masanori Kanehara, Dream featherweight grand prix runner-up Hiroyuki Takaya facing Sengoku tournament second-placer Michihiro Omigawa and Japanese MMA's "Cinderella Boy" Hideo Tokoro facing 145-pound King of Pancrase Marlon Sandro.

Outside the featherweight division, Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem will take on durable Japanese heavyweight Kazuyuki Fujita. Veteran welterweights Hayato "Mach" Sakurai and Akihiro Gono will also square off, and 2004 Olympic judo silver medalist Hiroshi Izumi will look to get his first career victory against untamed pro-wrestler Katsuyori Shibata.

Announced K-1 action will feature long-time promotional standout and recent Strikeforce competitor Ray Sefo taking on boxer-turned-failed-MMA-fighter Yosuke Nishijima.

The thematic matchmaking was an expected device, as the rebranded Sengoku Raiden Championship opted to cancel its slated Dec. 31 card at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo after being unable to secure a network television deal to air the event live in Japan. Following the subsequent departure of executive Takahiko Kokuho, with the promotion's immediate future in a state of flux, parent company World Victory Road allowed for its talents to be loaned out for the annual Dynamite card.

The seven new fights bring the total of announced bouts to 14. FEG president Sadaharu Tanigawa stated that he was hoping for 18 or 19 fights on the card and wants to have the additional contests official by later this week.
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