The Korean MMA site MFight mentions three Korean fighters that are likely to participate in the SENGOKU or DREAM Featherweight GP’s this year. They are the always dangerous Kim Jong Man, the promising 21 year old newcomer Chang Son Jon, and the Atalanta 1996 Judo participant Kim Jong Won (he was only 20 years old when he participated in the Olympics).
Kim Jong Won has been training MMA at Yoon Dong Sik’s Team Yoon for over a year and a half (he has been Yoon’s second since his PRIDE debut against Sakuraba) but has yet to make his debut. I expect to see him in the DREAM GP.
In other South Korean MMA news, Aleksander Emelianenko left the country after a visit yesterday. However, while there he deepened his friendship with SENGOKU’s Heavyweight Choi Mu Bae as he was invited to train at Bae’s Team Tackle gym.
Check out MFight.co.kr for pictures from the training session.
Alexander Karelin was in Japan yesterday where he trained with a Japanese Amateur Wrestling youth team and talked with the press. He said that if any of the Russian Amateur Wrestlers under his guidance wants to turn professional, the possibility of him sending them to SENGOKU is high.
When asked about himself returning to MMA Karelin said: “One time is enough” (vs. Akira Maeda in 1999).
The article also mentions that there is a cooperation between the Japanese Wrestling Association and WVR. WVR also got into a relationship with SHOOTO promoter Sustain recently.
Source: Chunichi Sports
Fabricio Werdum has told Tatame that he is close to signing with SENGOKU and Affliction. Check for details on Tatame’s English site if/when they put it up.
Two other notable Heavyweights will clash on May 16th at an It’s Showtime event in Amsterdam when Semmy Schilt takes on Badr Hari in a Kickboxing bout.
Hari’s teammate Melvin Manhoef might have a very busy fight schedule in the coming months. Manhoef’s management confirmed to Five Ounces of Pain that Melvin might participate at DREAM.7 in March. Besides that Melvin has a Kickboxing fight in February at an It’s Showtime event, a possible K-1 WGP in Yokohama participation at the end of March, and a fight at the aforementioned It’s Showtime event in May against Stefan Leko.
HEIWA DREAM.7 Featherweight GP 2009 1st Round
Date: March 8th, 2009
Place: Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan
Possible Featherweight GP Participants:
A 4-man DEEP Lightweight title tournament that is really worth keeping an eye on will commence on February 20th at DEEP 40 IMPACT. The winners of the two fights will fight for the title in April. Three tournament fighters were announced today. They are Jutaro Nakao, Koichiro Matsumoto, and Katsunori Kikuno.
Update: The 4th tournament fighter is a “foreign veteran/champion”.
The card & fight order for the DEEP & CMA Fan Thanksiving event on February 10th have been announced. In one of two MMA rules fights on the card, the all but official DJ.taiki vs. SHOJI fight was announced and as posted before, the winner will get a spot in DREAM’s FWGP.
DEEP & CMA – Fan Thanksgiving 2009
Date: February 10th, 2009
Place: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
7. Minowaman vs. Minoru Suzuki
U-System Tag Team Match:
6. Kazuo Takahashi & Eiji Mitsuoka vs. Ryushi Yanagisawa & Makoto Kato
5. TAICHI vs. Ryota Matsui
4. DJ.taiki vs. SHOJI
3. Puroresu 10-Man Royal Rumble
U-System Tag Team Match:
2. Daijiro Matsui & Kouichi Takemura vs. Kousei Kubota & Yukio Sakaguchi
1. Motoki Awaji(?) vs. Tomohito Hashimoto
It was announced today that DREAM veteran Katsuhiko Nagata will participate at the next Cage Force event scheduled for February 28th. He will face Yasunori Kanehara who fights out of Yoshihiro Akiyama’s Team Cloud.
Also announced for the event was a Lightweight title fight between champion and SENGOKU LWGP semifinalist Mizuto Hirota and an opponent yet to be announced.
Update: Hirota said at the press conference that he wants to fight SENGOKU Champion Satoru Kitaoka this year. With an impressive victory in February he could be one of the candidates for Kitaoka’s first title defense, which will probably be in July.
Update #2: GCM’s Seiji Itou(?) said that they are considering a re-measurement of fighters on fight day to prevent them from recovering too much weight.