by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
K-1 has announced additional matches for the first round of this year’s 155-pound Grand Prix. Defending champion Gesias Calvancanti will begin his quest to retain his title when he faces Chute Boxe prospect Andre Dida. Last year, “JZ” defeated Hiroyuki Takaya, Rani Yahya and Caol Uno en route to winning the tournament. Dida is coming off an impressive debut victory over Hiroyuki Takaya that saw his Japanese opponent leaving the ring with a broken nose.
Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro will make his second appearance in Hero’s when he faces Kazuyuki Miyata. Unfortunately known as the fighter who was knocked out in 4 seconds by a flying knee from “Kid” Yamamoto, Miyata has rebounded with two solid wins over Ian James Schaffa and Kultar Gill. All eyes are on Ribeiro as fans hope to see “Shaolin” and Gesias Calvancanti meet in the tournament finals.
In a rematch from their first meeting at K-1 Hero’s 5, Hideo Tokoro looks to redeem himself from a KO loss to the “Black Mamba” Kultar Gill. Since defeating Tokoro, Gill has been on three fight losing streak while K-1′s Cinderella Boy has won his last four.
Also announced was the return of former Shooto 143-pound champion Alexandre Franca Nogueira. “Pequeno” will take on Shooto and ZST veteran Shuichiro Katsumura. Katsumura is coming off of a loss to Katsuhiko Nagata at K-1 Premium Dynamite 2006. Since leaving Shooto to compete in K-1, Nogueira has yet to see success in a Hero’s ring. Alexandre was upset at the hands of Hideo Tokoro in his debut and was thoroughly defeated by Killer Bee’s Koutetsu Boku in his second outing.
Fresh off of his very first MMA win against Dutch striker Melvin Manhoef at K-1 Dynamite USA, Korea’s Dong Sik Yoon will take on Bernard Ackah. A Japanese TV personality turned fighter, Ackah is coming off of a knockout victory over former NFL player Johnnie Morton.
7/16 K-1 Hero’s 9 Card So Far:
Caol Uno vs Katsuhiko Nagata
Kazuyuki Miyata vs Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro
Hideo Tokoro vs Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill
Gesias “JZ” Calvancanti vs Andre Dida
Alexandre Franca “Pequeno” Nogueira vs Shuichiro Katsumura
Katsuyori Shibata vs Ralek Gracie
Dong Sik Yoon vs Bernard Ackah