FEG DREAM.9 Featherweight Grand Prix 2009 2nd Round Preview

18417-2009521730330.Bob Sapp vs Minowaman.jpg

All Shapes and Sizes at DREAM.9


TOKYO, May 20, 2009 — The Featherweight Grand Prix 2nd Round is the marquee attraction for DREAM.9, but fightsport fans will be treated to a lot more on Tuesday, May 26, as a quartet of "Super Hulk" David vs Goliath battles rock the Yokohama Arena.

American bruiser Bob Sapp — who set the K-1 world on its ear a few years back with dramatic victories over no less than Ernesto Hoost — will bring a 25cm/10" height advantage and a whopping 76kg/150lbs weight advantage to the ring for his bout with Japanese pro-wrestler Minowaman. Similarly heterogeneous are K-1 veteran Jan "The Giant" Nortje and Cameroon judoka Sokoudjou; and Korean titan Hong-Man Choi and six-time Major League Baseball All Star Jose Cansesco, who will also take to the ring next Tuesday. Actually, with a mere 43kg/95lbs weight differential and 8cm/3" of height going the other way, boxers Gegard Mousasi of Holland and Kiwi Mark Hunt represent, on the Super Hulk card anyway, relatively similar physical specimens.

Of course, weight means less and height means next to nothing when a fight goes to the ground. And so much of the speculation in advance of the Super Hulk extravaganza has been about tactics — a topic even the purists cannot resist. Plenty of attention has been focused on these bouts, the winners will advance to the Super Hulk semifinals in September, with the two men victorious there clashing at the New Year’s Eve "Dynamite!" event.

Meanwhile, because Mousasi has moved up a weight class he has outgrown his DREAM Middleweight title. DREAM.9 will crown a new Middleweight Champ when Brazilian Ronaldo Jacare and American barbarian Jason "Mayhem" Miller clash in Yokohama.

In a highly-anticipated Superfight in the Lightweight class, it will be Tatsuya Kawajiri of Japan and JZ. Calvin of Brazil.

For all the amusement the Super Hulks are expected to bring to Yokohama, the heart of the event is the Featherweight Grand Prix Second Round — and, more specifically, the return to action of local hero Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto.

Yamamoto, who has not fought since New Year’s Eve 2007, got a bye in the Lightweight GP’s first round. He will meet American wrestler Joe Warren in one of the four 63kg/139lbs contests.

Also in the tournament: Brazilian jiujitsu master Bibiano Fernandes will meet Masakazu Imanari of Japan; Japanese grappler Hideo Tokoro will step in against American ground fighter Abel Cullum; and Yoshiro Maeda of Japan will meet compatriot Hiroyuki Takaya.

The four winners on Tuesday will advance to the September DREAM Lightweight GP semifinals.

The Olympia DREAM.9 Featherweight Grand Prix 2009 2nd Round kicks off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26 at the Yokohama Arena. It will be broadcast live in Japan on TBS and SkyPerfect; and in the United States on HDNet. For delay-broadcast information in other areas, contact local providers. Visit the K-1 Official Website (www.k-1.co.jp/k-1gp) for comprehensive coverage of this and all FEG productions.

By Monty DiPietro
Pictures "Courtesy DREAM"

(Bob Sapp vs Minowaman)Bob SappGegard MousasiHong-Man ChoiJan NortjeJason MillerJoe WarrenJose CansecoJZ CalvanKid YamamotoMark HuntRonaldo JacareSokoudjou