DREAM 9 Featherweight Tournament Round 2
Yokohama Arena, Yokohama, Japan
Former World Greco Roman wrestling champion Joe Warren has earned the tough test of taking on Japanese star ‘Kid’ Yamamoto in the second round of the DREAM Featherweight Grand Prix. Warren, a world champion in 2006, made his MMA debut at DREAM this past March, where he took out Chase Beebe by TKO. Beebe could not continue after the first 10 minute round due to a cut.
DREAM hopes that all eyes in Japan will be watching. The Yokohama arena seats 17,000 and the bout is expected to air on television as well. "Kid’ Yamamoto was once one of Japan’s top draws and was considered one of the best featherweight fighters on the planet, however he is coming off a very bad year in 2008. He last fought on December 31st, 2007 when he took out Brazilian Rany Yahra, but has endured a series of bad press centered around marijuana use and his personal life throughout 2008. Interestingly, Warren is suspended from international wrestling due to marijuana use as well.
Our insider observes "Yamaoto is one of the best, and he has not lost a match in 6 years, he is 17-1 overall so it is a tough 2nd career bout for Warren. However does ‘Kid’ still have it? He has been off for over a year, so Warren may have a chance. What is more important for DREAM is not ‘Kid’s’ performance, but will he still be a draw? The Japanese scene has been shrinking and both Sengoku and DREAM have not found a new star. They have been recycling the same PRIDE names from years ago, and the fans have not supported them they way they did PRIDE. This is an important show for DREAM, because Yamamoto was a bankable star, and this will determine if he still has it. If Warren breaks through and wins, he may be the tournament favorite."
Bibiano Fernandes taking on Masakazu Imanari probably features the other two favorites in the tournament, and Hideo Tokoro returns despite losing in the opening round last March. the man he beat, Daiki Hata is injured, which freed up a spot for Tokoro’s return. A complete card of non-tournament bouts is yet to be announced. The rest of the announced tournament bouts appear below.
Bibiano Fernandes v Masakazu Imanari