Japan’s Fighting & Entertainment Group (FEG) announced earlier today the pairings for its featherweight grand prix semifinals as well as a tournament reserve bout, which are all set to go down at the DREAM 11 event scheduled for the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan, on Oct. 6.
The reserve bout will pit Kazuyuki Miyata (7-7) against Daiki "DJ.taiki" Hata (11-5-3).
Hata actually won his preliminary bout in the tournament garnering a unanimous decision over Hideo Tokoro at DREAM 8 this April, though he was unable to recover in time from a nagging eye injury he sustained earlier this year to compete in the quarterfinals. So the man he defeated, Tokoro, stepped up and took his place in the tournament.
First up in the semifinal action will be wrestling convert Joe Warren (2-0) taking on jiu-jitsu ace Bibiano Fernandes (5-2).
Warren made his debut in mixed martial arts in the tournament opening round at DREAM 7 this March where he defeated former WEC bantamweight champion Chase Beebe (12-4) via TKO (cuts). Then in only his second professional bout, he shocked the world when he bested featherweight superstar Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto (17-2) via decision win at DREAM 9 this May.
Fernandes' path to the tournament consisted of garnering decision victories over Takafumi Otsuka (8-4-1) and Masakazu Imanari (16-7-1).
On the other side of the brackets will be hard hitting slugger Hiroyuki Takaya (11-6-1) who is coming off a impressive annihilation of Yoshihiro Maeda (24-7-2) at DREAM 9. He takes on fellow countryman, fan favorite and general underdog Hideo Tokoro (22-16-1).
DREAM 11 is expected to air in prime time on Japanese broadcasting network TBS. It will be last show on the promotion’s current television deal. And that’s likely the reason the card has started to become stacked in hopes of drawing much needed ratings.
DREAM event producer Keiichi Sasahara has stated that he aims to have lightweight standout Tatsuya "Crusher" Kawajiri and featherweight superstar Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto compete on the card separately against pending opponents.
However the latter "Kid," while likely being a big ratings draw, is under heavy consideration for his participation in the event after suffering a vicious knockout loss to Korean import Jae Hee Chon at the K-1 World MAX Final 8 earlier this month.
Indeed, two title bouts are also in the works for DREAM 11.
It’s lightweight champion, Joachim Hansen, (19-7-1) who will make a return to action and defend his title for the first time against Japanese mainstay Shinya Aoki (21-4). And Jason "Mayhem" Miller (22-6) will battle it out with bitter-rival Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (10-2) for the vacant DREAM middleweight title.
Here is the current line-up for DREAM 11:
DREAM Lightweight title:
Joachim Hansen (19-7-1) vs. Shinya Aoki (21-4)
DREAM middleweight title:
Jason Miller (22-6) vs. Ronaldo Souza (10-2)
Featherweight grand prix semifinals:
Joe Warren (2-0) vs. Bibiano Fernandes (5-2)
Hiroyuki Takaya (11-6-1) vs. Hideo Tokoro (22-16-1)
Featherweight grand prix reserve bout:
Kazuyuki Miyata (7-7) vs. Daiki "DJ.taiki" Hata (11-5-3).
"Super Hulk" open weight grand prix semifinals:
Hong Man-Choi (2-2) vs. Ikuhisa Minowa (42-30-8)
Gegard Mousasi (25-2-1) vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (6-4)
Zelg Galesic (9-4) vs. Andrews Nakahara (2-1)
For more on DREAM click here.