During a press conference on Tuesday, DREAM announced seven new fights for their New Years Eve K-1 DYNAMITE!! Show. Six of the seven encounters will be apart of the World Victory Road vs. Dream set of matches which was previously announced.
Leading the list of fights announced is an encounter between Sengoku Featherweight Champion Masanori Kanehara and former No. 1 Featherweight in the world Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. Kid is coming off of a disastrous year as he returned from a lengthy injury only to lose to MMA rookie Joe Warren via split decision at DREAM 9. Shortly following this he had a dismal performance in K-1 against relative unknown Jae Hee Cheon.
Sengoku Featherweight Champion Masanori Kanehara will be looking to prove himself as a legitimate champion after a fluke victory of the Sengoku Grand Prix. Kanehara lost his semifinal bout to tournament favorite Hatsu Hioki, however, as one night tournaments often go, Hioki was too injured to continue and Kanehara went onto the finals.
In the finals, Kanehara won a much debated split decision over Michihiro Omigawa to claim the championship. Both men will be looking for redemption and a chance to raise their stock in what should be an exciting encounter.
Speaking of redemption, another interesting Sengoku vs. Dream fight announced was Akihiro Gono vs. Hayato Sakurai. Gono returned from his unsuccessful UFC stint to take on prospect Dan Hornbuckle at Sengoku: Ninth Battle.
The result was one of the most spectacular and horrifying knockout’s of the year as Hornbuckle sent Gono into a far away galaxy with a head kick directly to the face. Despite returning successfully since that fight, that knockout is still fresh in everyone’s mind and a win on the big stage could help heal the sting.
Hayato Sakurai is another man who needs to step up if he wants to prove he is still relevant in the ever growing sport of mixed martial arts. Sakurai started the year off successfully overpowering Shinya Aoki into a TKO. Following this was the semi-finals of the Welterweight Grand-Prix.
Sakurai came in six lb’s overweight and was then knocked out by a head kick of Marius Zaromskis. Which one of these PRIDE and UFC veteran’s will step up their game. Can Sakurai get Gono to the ground or will Gono’s kickboxing prove to be the difference?
Alistair Overeem is also returning to mixed martial arts after an amazing run in the K-1 Grand-Prix to take on Japanese veteran Kazayuki Fujita. Overeem should be able to use his striking and submission superiority to find a way to finish Fujita with relative ease.
The other fights announced are:
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hiroshi Izumi
Hideo Tokoro vs. Marlon Sandro
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Michihiro Omigawa
K-1 Rules: Ray Sefo vs. Yosuke Nishijima