Japan’s Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG) recently announced additional match-ups for it’s next event, K-1 World MAX Final 8 from the Nippon Budokan Arena in Tokyo, Japan on July 13.
Among them is mixed martial arts featherweight superstar Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, returning from a four year absence from the stand-up only combat sport as he clashes with young Korean Jae Hee Chon in a K-1 rules bout.
Yamamoto has fought three times before in K-1, with varied results.
After winning his first K-1 bout by knockout against Takehiro Murahama, a step up in competition against the likes of K-1 deity Masato saw him lose a decision. And in his last K-1 bout Yamamoto was knocked out by Greek kickboxing sensation Mike Zambidis. Still, that was four years ago and "Kid" has likely improved and looking to show he can still hang in K-1.
"Kid" was most recently upset by Greco-Roman wrestling stud Joe Warren at DREAM 9 last month, with the inexperienced wrestling convert garnering a decision over the highly regarded Yamamoto to make a name for himself and progress in the DREAM featherweight tournament in the process.
The loss may be good motivation for him to return to form as he looks to get back on track on July 13.
His fellow Krazy Bee teammate Atsushi Yamamoto is also scheduled to compete and will make his K-1 debut against boxing convert Kazuhisa Watanabe.
Also announced was a non-tournament bout between K-1 MAX Japan tournament participant Hinata Watanabe up against Dzhabar Askerov of 'The Contender: Asia' fame.
There will also be two reserve bouts for the K-1 MAX Tournament that will feature fan favorite Yoshihiro Sato clashing with Joeri Mes and in the second reserve scrap will be Yasuhiro Kido doing battle with Leroy Kaestner.
The winners of those two bouts will go on to fight each other in another final reserve bout in October, where the tournament concludes.
The event will also play host to the K-1 MAX (154 lbs) World Championship Tournament quarterfinals.
K-1 MAX Japan Tournament runner-up Yuya Yamamoto will collide with Gago Drago in his preliminary bout.
Italian bruiser Giorgio Petrosyan will also be in action. He’s been on an absolute tear on the smaller circuits earning a 19-fight win streak (bar a draw with Buakaw Por. Pramuk). Though he may have his hands full when he faces off against the first ever K-1 MAX tournament winner Albert Kraus, who is certainly no pushover.
Last year's runner up in the tournament, 22-year-old prospect Artur Kyshenko is set to do battle with Dutch blitzkrieg Andy Souwer in his opening round bout.
Rounding out the rest of the brackets will be former two-time K-1 MAX Champion Buakaw Por. Pramuk. He takes on K-1 MAX Scandinavia 2006 tournament champion Nieky Holzken.
Also in non-tournament action will be former two-time K-1 MAX Grand Prix Champion Masato who is set to do battle with DREAM lightweight standout Tatsuya "Crusher" Kawajiri in a K-1 Rules bout.
The fight continues the recent slew of K-1 vs. MMA fighters that FEG has been brewing, which has seen various mixed martial artists invade K-1 and try their hand out in the stand-up only combat. And more often then not it has seen the mixed marital artists win or at the very least give the K-1 stars a run for their money.
Now it appears "Crusher" will look to continue that trend against the K-1 legend in one of his final battles.
Here is the current line-up for ‘K-1 World MAX Final 8:'
K-1 World MAX 2009 quarterfinals:
Yuya Yamamoto (6-5) vs. Gago Drago (6-5)
Giorgio Petrosyan (1-0) vs. Albert Kraus (24-10-1)
Artur Kyshenko (11-2) vs. Andy Souwer (18-3)
Buakaw Por. Pramuk (24-4) vs. Nieky Holzken (1-1)
K-1 World MAX 2009 reserve fights:
Yoshihiro Sato (13-9) vs. Joeri Mes (1-1)
Yasuhiro Kido (8-4) vs. Leroy Kaestner (0-1)
Masato (34-4-1) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri (1-0)
Norifumi Yamamoto (1-2) vs. Jae Hee Chon (0-1)
Hinata Watanabe (1-1) vs. Dzhabar Askerov (0-1)
Kazuhisa Watanabe (1-0) vs. Atsushi Yamamoto (0-0)
Go Yokoyama (0-0) vs. Jae Gil Noh (4-3)
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