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Tatsuya Kawajiri Prepares for Strikeforce with Yuya Yamamoto

Crusher/YuyaIn April, Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez squares off with Japanese powerhouse Tatsuya Kawajiri. This is a big fight for Kawajiri and for fans of Japanese MMA, as Gilbert Melendez absolutely crushed Shinya Aoki last year in Strikeforce, sending every website's Lightweight Rankings into disarray.

For Kawajiri, it is a big fight as he will get introduced to a wider American audience, and is coming off of a big win over former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson. Kawajiri brings an entirely different skillset to the table than Aoki, including a very strong wrestling and judo game with good takedowns and the ability to hold down and pound out opponents. On top of that, he also possesses formidable stand up skills. While Shinya Aoki was taken down at will and kept at bay by Melendez's hands, with Kawajiri it will be a whole different ballgame.

It turns out that Crusher isn't just doing his normal training for this fight, he is training with K-1 MAX and KRUSH competitor, Yuya Yamamoto. Yamamoto is best known to recent fans as the guy that Petrosyan absolutely annihilated in 2009. Outside of that, Yamamoto is a strong fighter and does have some good ability on top of heavy hands. [source]

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The Reem is Back

Remember the awesome online documentary based on the life and times of Alistair Overeem? Well, apparently it did so well that there will be a second round of online documentaries based on Overeem coming soon. With Alistair's next fight looking to be in June for Strikeforce, expect training videos leading into the fight and more coming up shortly. Until then? There is a teaser (there is always a teaser). [source]

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Japan Updates (3/9)

  • K-1 to resume in April? Nightmare of Battle reports FEG President Tanikawa mentioned as much to Japanese writer Motoichiro Takasu. This would be tough to pull off leaving little time for preperation and ticket sales.

  • Pancrase added two Welterweight fights to their 5/3 card. Former Welterweight King Of Pancrase Kengo "Uraken" Ura (9-6-10) vs. Kiichi "Strasser" Kunimoto (8-3-2) and Masahiro Toryu (10-6-5) vs. Hiroki Nagaoka (16-16-9). Already scheduled is the Bantamweight King Of Pancrase Title Fight between Manabu Inoue and Seiya Kawahara. Light-Heavyweight King of Pancrase Ryo Kawamura and Ichiro Kanai will also appear. This card is already shaping up rather nicely.

  • Takasuke Kume (7-2-3) vs. Jung Min Kang (1-2) is booked for the main event of the April 17th SHOOTO GIG CENTRAL Vol.22

  • Shinya Aoki appeared at a seminar for RABBLE LIVE vol.3 this past Sunday in Japan. He's set to make return to the United States to face Lyle Beerbohm at the April 9 Strikeforce show.

  • Pancrase Legend Yuki Kondo started a new blog. If you can read Japanese, or suffer through Google Translate then check it out: http://www.kakutoh.com/pc/blog/kondoyuki/

  • 2000 Olympic Judo Gold Medalist (-100kg) and 3-time World Champion Kosei Inoue recently denied he would be entering the world of MMA.
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Team Dragon Prepare for the Krush Triple Final

source: gbring.com

Brothers Koya Urabe and Hirotaka Urabe along with fellow Team Dragon member Ryuji Kajiwara held a public workout today in Japan as they prepare for next weekends Krush Triple Final Round 2011. The event will feature the conclusion of the 63kg, 60kg and 55kg tournaments.

20-year old Koya Urabe defeated South Korean Sung Hyun Lee in the 63kg quarterfinals January 9th and will now face 2009 Krush Rookies Cup winner Takuya Shirahama in the semi's. The youngest of the Urabe brothers, Koya has an impressive 6-1 K-1 record and was the 2008 K-1 KOSHIEN runner-up.

In the other 63kg semi-final, teammate Ryuji Kajiwara will face Kizaemon Saiga. If both Koya Urabe and Kajiwara win their respected matches we'll have an all Team Dragon 63kg final.

The eldest Urabe brother, 21-year old Hirotaka Urabe, will meet Dynamite Yuta in the semi-final at 60kg. Hirotaka was the 2007 All Nippon Shinkarate Light & Middle Weight Tournament Champion and holds a 2-2 record in K-1.

The March 19th Korakuen Hall event along with the tournament fights will also be highlighted by the 70kg Superfight between between K-1 MAX fighter Yuya Yamamoto and MMA veteran Akihiro Gono.

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