DREAM 18: Tatsuya Kawajiri Set To Face Michihiro Omigawa On New Year’s Eve
By FCF Staff
Tatsuya ‘Crusher’ Kawajiri (31-7-2) formerly the world’s No. 1 lightweight, will enter the ring riding a four-fight win streak and face Judo specialist Michihiro Omigawa (13-12-1) in a featherweight (145 pounds/66 kilograms) bout on the DREAM 18 MMA portion of the Glory Sports International double-header event at Saitama Super Arena on New Year’s Eve, DREAM announced at a press conference today.
Kawajiri has been fighting for top level organizations throughout his career. He has competed for PRIDE FC, Strikeforce, DREAM and ONE FC, and has taken victories over former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson, Norwegian standout Joachim Hansen and current UFC lightweight Yves Edwards. Twenty-one of his thirty-one career wins have come inside the distance, twelve by KO or TKO and nine by submission.
Omigawa’s rise to prominence came after entering the 2009 Sengoku Featherweight Grand Prix tournament as an underdog. He defeated LC Davis, Nam Phan and Marlon Sandro – all of whom were heavy favorites to win the tournament – and made it to the final. He lost a close split-decision but earned a lot of respect. Shortly afterwards he signed with DREAM and was then picked up by the UFC where he impressed U.S. and U.K. audiences with his world-class judo skills.
In other DREAM 18 action on New Year’s Eve, former DREAM lightweight (155 pounds/70 kilograms) champion Shinya Aoki (31-6) will face battle-tested wrestling specialist Antonio McKee (28-4-2). Heavy hitters Melvin Manhoef (26-9-1, 1 NC) and Denis Kang (35-15-2, 2 NC) will face off at middleweight (185 pounds/84 kilograms) and former DREAM bantamweight (135 pounds/61 kilograms) champion Bibiano Fernandes (12-3) will square off with Yoshiro Maeda (30-11-2) in a 139-pound/61-kilogram catchweight contest.
All-time great Hayato ‘Mach’ Sakurai (38-12-2) will meet hard-hitting brawler ‘New York Bad Ass’ Phil Baroni (15-15) in a welterweight (170 pounds/77 kilograms) affair. DREAM Featherweight Champion Hiroyuki Takaya (17-9-1) will collide with standout Georgi Karakhanyan (19-3-1) and Satoru Kitaoka (30-11-9) will battle undefeated rising star Will ‘Ill Will’ Brooks (7-0) at lightweight.
The ‘GSI presents DREAM 18 and GLORY 4 Tokyo – New Year’s Eve Special’ double-header event will commence at 4 p.m. JST with the DREAM 18 card and continue with the GLORY 4 Tokyo – Heavyweight Grand Slam tournament featuring the world’s top heavyweight stand-up fighters, including world No. 1 ranked Semmy Schilt (39-6, 18 KO’s), Gokhan Saki (77-15, 53 KO’s), Daniel Ghita (44-7, 34 KO’s), Remy Bonjasky (77-14, 40 KO’s), Peter Aerts (104-30-1, 78 KO’s), Errol Zimmerman (76-16-1, 41 KO’s), Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva (32-8-1, 22 KO’s) and Sergei Kharitonov (22-7, 12 KO’s).
The winner of the heavyweight tournament will take home a Grand Prize of $400,000, and a total of $600,000 in prize money will be awarded to tournament participants.