The monumental "DREAM vs. SRC" – themed Dynamite!! 2009 New Year’s Event is now less than four weeks away. While much hype has built around the merged fight card, the details regarding the NYE matchmaking have been scarce.
The general opaqueness of operation and down-to-the-wire shuffling of fight card by Japanese MMA organizations are nothing new. Nonetheless, the fans have been getting anxious, considering the multitude of high-profile clashes between fighters from the two preeminent forces in Japanese MMA.
In the past few days, several participants in the NYE fight card have been confirmed. Also, FEG president Sadaharu Tanigawa has unveiled on twitter that he would like to announce the whole 19-bout fight card in one press conference. As of now, it looks like Yoshihiro "Kiss" Nakao and Bob Sapp will not fight in the event.
According to MMAfanhouse, Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi will once again fight under the K-1 rule in one of the K-1 vs. MMA showdowns. The 24 year-old fought the Japanese K-1 legend, Musashi, at Dynamite!! 2008 and won by first-round TKO.One of Strikeforce’s recent high-profile acquisitions, Melvin Manhoef has also committed himself to fighting in the Dynamite!! After a successful last-minute entry in Dynamite!! 2008 in which he toppled the heavyweight K-1/MMA veteran, Mark Hunt in 18 seconds, he hopes to make another NYE appearance before a tentative Strikeforce showdown with Robbie Lawler in 2010.
Fresh off the fourth successful K-1 World Grand Prix title run last weekend, Semmy Schilt hopes to return to Japan on NYE as well. Kazuyuki Fujita, Josh Barnett, and Hiroshi Izumi have surfaced as possible opponents for him in a MMA match.
On Friday December 11, the executive committee of World Victory Road officially lifted its suspension of PRIDE veteran, Kazuo Misaki. Misaki was placed on indefinite suspension in July following a run-in with Tokyo police earlier in the year. Charged with interference with public servant, Misaki competed in August in Sengoku and emerged triumphant over Kazuhiro Nakamura; however, the suspension cost him his fight salary and title shot against Jorge Santiago.
As the recently dismissed World Victory Road director, Takahiro Kokuho hinted previously, Misaki’s good behavior, along with his diligent effort to contribute to Japanese MMA through coaching and cornering roles has been the key in his absolution. Also, the committee acknowledges Misaki’s status as one of the few successful Japanese fighters in the middle-weight divisions that are ruled by non-Japanese fighters in Japan and overseas.
Misaki recently announced his split from his longtime home of SRC-affiliated Grabaka gym. Citing his intent to "start from scratch," he has not divulged the details regarding his training situation. Nonetheless, he is now scheduled for appearance in Dynamite!! 2009, possibly against the fellow PRIDE veteran and Japanese MMA legend, Kazushi Sakuraba.
Stay tuned to MMAmania for more information about the Dynamite!! 2009 fight card. The full 19-fight card is expected to be announced next week.