Yamamoto prepares for March 19th fight with Akihiro Gono in Tokyo for Krush

By EK

K-1 MAX fighter Yuya Yamamoto held a public practice session on Friday as he prepares for his March 19th Superfight against Mixed-Martial-Artist and former All-Japan Kickboxing champion Akihiro Gono.

Yamamoto has found success in the smaller Krush promotion winning his past two fights including a knock out win over Masakazu Watanabe this past January whereas he’s struggled on the bigger K-1 stage losing his last three fights.

Krush recently announced a -70kg Tournament (K-1 MAX weight) kicking off April 30th and baring any injuries, I would expect to see particiaption from Yamamoto in the tournament regardless of the outcome in his match against Gono.

 

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Bonjasky: “It’s a small chance I will return”

By Fraser Coffeen

For over a year now we’ve been hearing news of the possible retirement of Remy Bonjasky. The 3 time K-1 Grand Prix champion started talking retirement in early 2010, citing a recurring eye injury that has required multiple surgeries and threatens his long-term vision. He’s been on the sidelines for well over a year now, having not fought since the 2009 GP, instead taking jobs as a host for It’s Showtime events, a celebrity ice skater, and running his gym.

This past weekend, Kombat.ro caught up with Bonjasky at an event and asked him about his future plans. For fans of The Flying Dutchman, the news was not good:

“It’s a small chance I will return to the ring… maybe, you never know. If the money’s right, I’ll be there.”

Earlier this year, It’s Showtime’s Simon Rutz told us that he tried to set up a retirement fight for Bonjasky last year, but the money Remy asked for was too high. Since It’s Showtime isn’t willing to pay, and given K-1‘s financial troubles, I think we’ve likely seen the end of the line for Bonjasky. It’s a shame that he may go out without one final fight, as his last was an unimpressive, largely forgotten showing against Semmy Schilt. Bonjasky has a lot of detractors, but he’s one of K-1’s all time greats, and deserves a bigger farewell.

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FEG in no hurry to return in 2011

By Daniel Herbertson

If you were anxiously sitting on the edge of your seat while waiting for news of DREAM and K-1 promoter Fight and Entertainement Group’s life or death, you might as well sit back and get comfortable. You are in for a long wait.

FEG USA‘s Mike Kogan this week confirmed to MMA Fighting that the leading Japanese promoter’s internal restructuring will not be completed until at least May and no FEG events are expected until at least July.

At the moment, FEG is planning to continue all three of its major events (K-1, K-1 MAX and DREAM), although that is obviously subject to change and it is clear that the events will be scaled down.

 

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Gegard Mousasi plans to compete in boxing at 2012 Olympics

By Jon Lunther

If one was to refer to Gegard Mousasi as ‘jack of all trades,’ they wouldn’t be far off. Mousasi has an accomplished and ever-evolving career in mixed martial arts and recently nabbed a victory over a top-ranked kickboxer in Kyotaro at a K-1 rules fight in Japan.

And it appears that Mousasi is looking to compete at the highest level of yet another martial arts discipline. Sources close to the fighter have informed MMAFA.tv that Mousasi has started the qualification process to compete in boxing at the Olympics in 2012 in London. Mousasi is training in Holland and plans to represent the country at the events, should he qualify.

Apy Echteld, Mousasi’s manager, says that his success in the sport of boxing could only help his career in mixed martial arts.

“[Gegard] is getting better each and every time, so let’s see what this brings. All of us are very excited about the idea. He’s done well with every other thing he has taken up so far. If he does well with this, it could have a huge impact on his mixed martial arts career. This is a wish of his.”

 

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At long last, Kid Yamamoto enters the Octagon!

By Frank Curreri

Enjoy Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto while you can, because the Japanese sensation is not on the Randy Couture career plan, or even the Chuck Liddell longevity plan, for that matter.

Not even close.

Couture, 47, is still fighting. Liddell, at 41, recently retired. Yamamoto, a 33-year-old bantamweight, aims to crown his legacy with a UFC title and fight for two or three more years before walking away from the sport that made him famous in his homeland.

“I can fight when I’m older, but I don’t want to fight at that age,” said Yamamoto (18-3, 1 NC). “Maybe a couple more years and then I’ll quit. I always wanted to fight in the US and now the UFC has my weight (135), so it’s the right time. This is my last season.”

It’s been quite a wait – taking nearly a decade to finally land the ultra-aggressive knockout artist into the Octagon. For too long, when American fans debated the top bantamweights, it was begrudgingly wrapped in theory (which makes for a rather poor proving ground). Go back five years or so to when there was much talk about what would happen if Japan’s “Kid” clashed in a Super Fight with California’s “Kid” (Urijah Faber)? Miguel Angel Torres vs. Kid Yamamoto, who takes it?

 

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Strikeforce in Japan: Why it’ll work and UFC won’t

By Dave Walsh

There have been rumors since the announcement of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP that Strikeforce’s head honcho Scott Coker had plans on running a leg of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP in Japan, of all places. He wants this tournament to have a “global” feel to it, and running in a new market like Japan seems like a no-brainer.

I really haven’t given this much thought, as it seemed like big plans with no follow-through. Especially after Coker had all of this big talk about running Cowboys Stadium in Texas, a feat that a Manny Pacquiao fight sold 50,000+ tickets to. A bit of insanity if you ask many, as UFC has yet to even approach such a large stadium. Japan, on the other hand, seems to be a very real possibility. On Tuesday night I spoke with MMA Torch about the announcement from the UFC in regards to their “Japanese expansion” and Jamie surprised me with a question about Strikeforce running Japan.

Honestly, Strikeforce has a much better chance of running Japan than the UFC does, this year next year or after. The logic behind this is very, very simple, but also very solid. The big thing is that to run in Japan, you have to be ready to make concessions and promote in Japan. UFC’s expansion is, well, underwhelming. They have an obscure pay-TV network they run on and will now feature some mobile video services, but none of this is very interesting to fans in Japan. Without live shows, a broadcast television network and some star power the UFC has no real hopes. Their attitude of “all or nothing” will be their achilles heel in Japan.

 

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Yves Edwards compares the UFC lightweight division then and now

Speaking via TapouT Radio, Edwards said:

“I got to the UFC the first time around and the division wasn’t stacked at all. We had like six guys in the division, and basically there were three of us, me, Hermes Franca and Josh Thomson. I want to establish myself as a mainstay, as a contender. It’s the most cut-throat division right now. It’s the biggest division. Everybody is trying to keep their jobs.”

“There’s not a single guy that stands head and shoulders above everybody else. There are guys that definitely stand out. Melvin Guillard stands out because he’s explosive and powerful and fast. A guy like Frankie Edgar stands out because he has a high pace, you know, so does Clay Guida. A guy like Gray Maynard stands out because he’s so powerful and constantly improving. Everybody has their reasons for why they stand out, but nobody stands head and shoulders above anybody else,” said Edwards.

“Most of the people in the world weigh what we weigh, you know, so it’s going to be the most competition. It’s going to be really, really tough, but from top to bottom I think there are sixty-plus guys on the roster. I think, like, fifty five of those guys are beasts , but everybody is not going to be able stick around. It’s going to be entertaining for you guys and it’s going to be a little bit stressful for us.”

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