Dream 18 Announces First MMA Bouts for New Year’s Eve Fight Card

December 6, 2012

In typical Japanese MMA matchmaking form (matches that make you scratch your head), DREAM 18 booked their first official MMA matches.

Bibiano Fernandes, the long reigning featherweight and bantamweight kingpin of Japan, has drawn Yoshiro Maeda in a bantamweight match.  Fernandes is hot off a win of Gustavo Falciroli in his OneFC debut.  As one of the most sought after fighters in the bantamweight class, Fernandes did a 180 after Zuffa announced they had signed him to fight with the UFC and signed a deal with OneFC.

Maeda is taking a wild step up in competition, which is where the whole head scratching part comes in.  After winning two in a row with DEEP against mediocre competition, he now faces a top ten bantamweight in Fernandes.  Maeda made a run at the WEC bantamweight strap, at the time held by Miguel Torres, and put on an exciting fight, albeit due to the fact he both received and delivered a beating for the ages.  Maeda is a veteran of multiple promotions, including PrideFC’s Bushido, DREAM, Pancrase, DEEP, and the WEC, to name a few.

Melvin Manhoef, who was recently scrapped from a KSW fight with top 10 middleweight Mamed Khalidov, will meet Denis Kang in Kang’s return to Japan after several years.  Both Kang and Manhoef were regular’s in Japan during the Pride/K-1/DREAM days.

Kang made a run at the welterweight grand prix only to lose to Kazuo Misaki.  Following that loss, things have not been the same for Kang as he has been unable to get back on the winning path.  Returning to his native Korea, Kang has fought with RoadFC, and the now defunct SpiritMC.  He spent a brief time in the UFC, as well.

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