The Fighter Entertainment Group held a massive 17-bout show on New Year’s Eve in Japan that featured fighters from both its K-1 kickboxing and DREAM mixed martial arts rosters.
The show, which emanated from the Saitama Super Arena in the city of Saitama and was televised live on network TV in Japan, featured a mix of bouts that were contested under K-1 and also MMA rules.
In some unusual matchmaking, MMA stars such as Alistair Overeem, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and DREAM middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi were all pitted against K-1 stars in K-1 rules bouts. And in a major surprise, all three were victorious.
Overeem knocked out K-1 “bad boy” Badr Hari following a left hook that was delivered at 2:07 of round 1 with Mousasi also winning his bout in the first round over the similar-named Musashi at 2:32. Kawajiri, a top ten ranked lightweight fight by virtually every major rankings poll, completed the trifecta of first round KO upsets after he finished Kozo Takeda with a left hook knockdown that was preceeded by a knockdown caused by a flying knee.
The event also featured familiar MMA stars competing in bouts governed under MMA rules such as Kazushi Sakuraba, Mirko Cro Cop, and Shinya Aoki. In the main event, Japanese legend Sakuraba lost his second consecutive fight after losing a unanimous decision to Kiyoshi Tamura.
Cro Cop, a former veteran of PRIDE and the UFC, was successful in defeating 7’2” kickboxer Hong Man Choi via TKO at 6:32 of round 1 after the referee called the stop to the fight due to Choi favoring his knee after being the recipient of several major leg kicks. After the bout, Cro Cop reportedly announced a six-month hiatus from fighting in order to undergo knee surgery.
Aoki also became the first-ever lightweight champion of the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts after he submitted Eddie Alvarez with a heel hook at 1:32 of round 1. WAMMA officials were not on hand to present Aoki a belt as an agreement between the organization and FEG could not be worked out in time. According to WAMMA officials, the organization decided to sanction the bout independently after both Alvarez and Aoki consented to accepting the title in the event that they won. Aoki is expected to be presented the title at a ceremony to be held at a later date.
“Dynamite!!” also featured one of the year’s biggest upsets, with middleweight Melvin Manhoef stepping in to face super heavyweight Mark Hunt on short notice after Jerome LeBanner pulled out of the fight. Despite the tremendous disparity in weight, Manhoef needed just 18 seconds into the fight to knock Hunt out.
Other results included Ikuhisa “Minowaman” Minowa submitting Errol Zimmerman at 1:01 of round 1; Bob Sapp TKO’ing professional wrestler Akihito Tanaka (competing under the identity of an Japanese Anime character known as “Kinniku Mantaro”); Semmy Schilt submitting Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga at 5:31 of round 1; and Hayato “Mach” Sakurai TKO’ing Katsyuyori Shibata at 7:01 of round 1.
The 17-bout event had originally been planned to consist of 18 fights but a non-title match between DREAM lightweight champion Joachim Hansen and Gesias Calvancante was cancelled at the last minute after Hansen could not gain medical clearance.