Bantamweight Grand-Prix Semis, Sakurai vs. Chonan, Official for DREAM’s NYE Card
By FCF Staff
DREAM continues to confirm bouts for the promotion’s upcoming, New Year’s Eve event in Saitama, Japan, and as expected, the event will feature the semi-finals of the promotion’s bantamweight grand-prix. In addition, DREAM has announced that welterweight veterans Hayato Sakurai and Ryo Chonan will square off on the card.
The bantamweight tourney finals will see Bibiano Fernandes (9-3) fight Rodolfo Marques Diniz (14-1) and Antonio Banuelos (19-7) take on Masakazu Imanari (24-9-2).
Fernandes quickly choked out Takafumi Otsuka in the grand-prix’s opening round, which took place in September, while Diniz worked his way to a unanimous decision win over Yusup Saadulaev.
In Imanari’s opening round bout, he caught Abel Cullum with a third round armbar, and Banuelos scored a split decision win over fellow vet Hideo Tokoro.
Sakurai (35-12-2), who has not fought yet in 2011, will be looking to end a four fight losing streak which includes losses to Nick Diaz and most recently Jason High.
Chonan (20-12) is coming off back-to-back wins over Naoki Samukawa and Shigetoshi Iwase. The Pride vet is 3-2 in his last five bouts.
Earlier this week DREAM announced that featherweight champion Hiroyuki Takaya will take on challenger Takeshi “Lion” Inoue and that lightweight Tatsuya Kawajiri will fight Kazuyuki Miyata at the year end event.
The card will be hosted by Saitama’s Super Arena.