If you are a Japanese MMA fan, the New Years Eve show is the biggest event of the year. As such, DREAM officials are filling up the card fast and as of today have added three additional bouts to the special event.
“DREAM: Fight for Japan. How are you! New Year 2011.” is set to take place on Dec. 31 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan and it’s expected to air on HDNet in some capacity.
In welterweight action Hayato Sakurai has agreed to take on Ryo Chonan and the final two rounds of the DREAM bantamweight grand prix will conclude when Bibiano Fernandes takes on Rodolfo Diniz and Antonio Banuelos steps opposite Masakazu Imanari.
Sakurai is one of Japans biggest MMA stars. A PRIDE veteran and former Shooto champion, he remains one of the country’s biggest draws. However, star power doesn’t guarantee you wins and as such he has not been able to notch a victory since April of 2009 and has picked up losses from the likes of Marius Zaromskis, Akihiro Gono, Nick Diaz and Jason High.
Chonan may be best known to American fans by his stint in the UFC. The PRIDE and UFC veteran is currently 3-1 in his last four fights and will look to improve upon that streak at the end of the year against Sakurai.
Fernandes and Diniz bout have a successful Mixed Martial Arts run going. For Bibiano, he won his opening round of the grand prix by submitting Takafumi Otsuka and made it his ninth win in his last ten outings. His opponent Diniz took out Yusup Saadulaev in the opening round and improved his run to 11 straight victories.
Banuelos has been seen in the WEC and UFC and now with the DREAM promotion he earned a split-decision victory of Hideo Tokoro to advance in the grand prix. His opponent, Imanari, advanced in the grand prix with a submission victory over Abel Cullum. He has won eight of his last eleven fights.
The DREAM bantamweight grand prix will culminate on the night and the winners of each match will face each other in the final round following their semi-final outings.
The latest “DREAM: New Year! 2011” lineup now includes:
• Champ Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Takeshi “Lion” Inoue (for featherweight title)
• Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Kazuyuki Miyata
• Ryo Chonan vs. Hayato Sakurai
• Rodolfo Marques Diniz vs. Bibiano Fernandes (bantamweight grand-prix semifinal)
• Antonio Banuelos vs. Masakazu Imanari (bantamweight grand-prix semifinal)
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