Five fighters were announced for the SENGOKU Featherweight GP today. They are American Top Team’s undefeated WEC veteran Chris Manuel, Hatsu Hioki, Featherweight King Of Pancrase Marlon Sandro, undefeated KOTC veteran Nick Denis, and the talented Ronnie Ushikawa (Mann) from Team Trojan.
WVR PR Kokuho said that fighters from 7-8 nations will participate in the GP. There are already fighters from 5 different nations (USA, Japan, Canada, The UK, and Brazil) so expect Russia and South Korea to be two of the possible three other nations.
Update: Kokuho said that the plan in the beginning was 8 Japanese and 8 foreign fighters, but now it looks like the number of Japanese fighters might increase a little.
Date: March 20th, 2009
Place: National Yoyogi Stadium 2nd Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan
Possible Featherweight GP Participants:
Alexandre Franca Nogueira
Roger Gracie vs. Jeff Monson
Yoshihiro Akiyama has announced in his blog that he will release a book that is planned to be released in March. The book will be about what he has experienced during his life. The book will cover subjects such as Japan, South Korea, discrimination, MMA, and that match.
Kazuyuki Miyata made an appeal to join the DREAM Featherweight GP to FEG President Sadaharu Tanigawa at the opening ceremony of his new gym called “Brave” today. Tanigawa responded that because it is not for him to decide, he will tell DREAM Event Producer Keiichi Sasahara about it.
Some notable fighters present at the ceremony were Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Michihiro Omigawa, and Naoya Uematsu.
In related news, there is a new post at Japan-MMA.com about a couple of other fighters who might participate in DREAM’s Featherweight GP. They are Takafumi Otsuka and the winner of a fight which I don’t think has been officially announced yet for DEEP 40, DJ.taiki vs. SHOJI.
More Cro Cop UFC comeback rumors
There has been more talk of Mirko Cro Cop making a return to the UFC after Dana White confirmed recent rumors in video interview with Fighters Only Magazine. White said that the UFC is in early talks with Cro Cop for a comeback to the UFC. He also said that Cro Cop’s return would not be a one off fight deal but that it would be long term contract. He then refuted rumors that his comeback fight would be against MMA veteran Mark “The Hammer” Coleman. Below is a recent Croatian article that speculates as to what the most likely scenario is for the former Parliamentarian.
Cro Cop To Return To The UFC?
The worlds most popular MMA organization is planning to recruit Mirko Cro Cop for its scheduled event in Cologne, Germany. The event will be the organizations first in Germany and is scheduled for the 12th of June. The news of the talks were first reported by Sherdog, a popular MMA news portal.
According to American sources, Mirko Filipovic (34), is seriously considering a UFC return after his Dream/FEG contract expires. Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, is offering a Cro Cop a main event statues should he accept a new contract with the UFC. The main reason behind offer is the UFC inability to secure either Chuck Liddell or Randy Couture for the card.
Speculation from the Sherdog article suggests that Mirko could either face former champion Tito Ortiz (34) or Brazilian Lyoto Machida (30). However major obstacles remain for the proposed match ups including Ortiz’s unwillingness to move to the heavyweight division and Cro Cop inability to move down the light heavyweight division. (Translation from Croatian news portal, Index)
Late Money on Fedor Wise Investment
If you had been watching the betting lines for Fedor vs. Arloski, you would have noticed a lot late money coming in for Fedor. The betting lines for several major sports books had moved dramatically in the WAMMA champions favor. Naturally it was quite a bad night for the odds makers as the majority of the favorites cashed in on the night. The only upset on the main card turned out be Vitor Belfort’s knockout win over Matt “The Law” Lindland. Four out of five favorites won on the main card. The same number of favorites were victories on the under card.
The next major MMA event is less than a week. UFC 94 betting odds have been up for a while however under card lines should be released on Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest. Most of the betting action on the main event has favoured underdog BJ Penn. His line has come in sharply. Betting lines for the co-main event, Machida vs Silva, have remained steady. UFC 94 is could become the most bet on MMA card in history.
In an interview with Gegard Mousasi at the Honda Center by iguillotine.com, Mousasi says that he will fight in DREAM next in either March or April. It seems that the fight will be at Light Heavyweight.
SENGOKU Middleweight Champion Jorge Santiago says in a newly translated interview that SENGOKU are hiring new fighters and that “it seems Akiyama (Yoshihiro) will be there now.”
In the latest Gonkaku Magazine a lot of Japanese Featherweights were asked about the two Featherweight GP’s in Japan.
DREAM: Masakazu Imanari (said that he will do his best to get a fight with KID), Wicky Akiyo (clearly DREAM)
Overseas: Dokonjonosuke Mishima (it seems that he is injured right now, will defend his DEEP title in July, and then back to the UFC or WEC), Takeya Mizugaki (aiming at the WEC), Akitoshi Tamura (will drop to Bantamweight in the WEC)
SHOOTO: Masakatsu Ueda, Lion Takeshi (will fight in SHOOTO in May), Rumina Sato (his target is the SHOOTO title), Hideki Kadowaki (he wishes that others join SHOOTO)
Undecided: Hiroyuki Takaya (no comment), Yuji Hoshino (undecided between the two, but thinks that 65kg fits him the best), Hatsu Hioki (interested in DREAM, SENGOKU and the WEC), Yoshiro Maeda (wants to fight in DREAM but is bothered by his losses in the WEC)
There is a report on the sponichi website hinting at a Hidehiko Yoshida vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama fight in July at SENGOKU IX. There is also a quote by WVR PR Kokuho in the article where he showed interest and didn’t deny anything.
In related news, Kazuo Misaki is quoted as saying: “If Akiyama signs I will welcome him. I want to hold a boiling-like fight.” in the latest Gonkaku magazine.