Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DREAM Japan Grand Prix Card and Thoughts

As much as I want to get an intense hard-on over this event, I just can't help but to be skeptical. The "Fight for Japan" theme is a worthy cause, no doubt, but the overall flare just isn't there. You'll notice that I included the fighter rankings beside each name on the card (rankings via FightMatrix.com). Note that none of the fighters are ranked in the top ten. In fact, only Masakazu Imanari and Takafumi Otsuka rank among the world's top twenty, taking spots at #14 and #11, respectively. Rewind only three years ago and Atsushi Yamamoto was ranked amongst the top three in the world. The lack of top ranked fighters does not have to mean a lackluster event, as quality fights are all about matchups. However, FEG/Dream's survival could depend on their ability to summon big bigger, relevant names, and right now the once seemingly bottomless bantamweight talent pool in Japan appears to be dwindling or is at least in need of a boost. Nevertheless, my heart remains with Japan JMMA -- "Fight for Japan!!!"

On a more official note, top three finishers advance to the Dream World Grand Prix planned for later this year. Superfights (single fights) have yet to be officially announced.

FULL FIGHT CARD:
Dream: “Fight for Japan” - Bantamweight Grand Prix 2011 Opening Round
May 29, 2011
Saitama Super Arena,
Saitama, Japan

Masakazu Imanari (14) vs. Keisuke Fujiwara (31)
Hideo Tokoro* vs. Yoshiro Maeda*
Kenji Osawa (36) vs. Takafumi Otsuka (11)
Darren Uyenoyama (30) vs. Atsushi Yamamoto*

* = Not Ranked

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