Imanari Drops Deep Belt; Nakamura-Otsuka Booked for June 24


Masakazu Imanari (file photo) has turned his focus toward Dream. | Photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com


Masakazu Imanari, who on Saturday advanced to the finals of Dream’s 2011 Japan bantamweight grand prix, has relinquished the 137-pound title which he held in Japanese indie promotion Deep since 2008.

Deep President Shigeru Saeki announced Imanari’s decision Tuesday during a news conference at Deep Official Gym Impact in Tokyo. Also present were Hiroshi Nakamura and Takafumi Otsuka, who will vie for the now-vacant bantamweight belt at Deep “54 Impact” on June 24.

Once the promotion’s featherweight ace, Imanari became Deep’s inaugural bantamweight champion in August 2008 with a 29-second heel-hooking of Hiroshi Umemura. The 35-year-old leglock master had gone 5-0 in Deep with two title defenses until dropping unanimous decision to Nakamura in a February non-title bout.

Imanari bested both Zst champion Keisuke Fujiwara and WEC veteran Kenji Osawa at Saturday’s Dream “Fight for Japan,” booking his passage to the tournament final against Hideo Tokoro. Regardless of the outcome of their July 16 bout, both Imanari and Tokoro are expected to advance to Dream’s planned 2011 world bantamweight grand prix in the fall.

Otsuka also entered Dream’s tournament Saturday, but was eliminated in the opening round by Osawa in a narrow split decision. The 24-year-old has lost four of his last five starts, including split verdicts against Kazuyuki Miyata and Koichiro Matsumoto, the latter of which cost Otsuka his Deep featherweight strap.

Nakamura, 30, spent the first four years of his career campaigning in Shooto, departing the ranks of the long-running Japanese organization in early-2009 and entering the Deep ring in February 2010. Despite being punched out by Isao Terada in his promotional debut -- his first loss since 2006 -- Nakamura subsequently ran off back-to-back wins over Tomohiko Hori and Tatsumitsu Wada before topping Imanari.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.
From Around the Web

Related News

  • 29 days ago
  • 57 views

At the UFC 183 weigh-ins, all 24 fighters taking part in Saturday night's UFC 183 fights will step on the scale Friday evening, and we'll have the live video here at MMAFighting.com.In the main event read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 1 views

Since launching in 2011, the largest mixed martial arts organization in Asia has been known as One Fighting Championship. But as of this week, the promotion will now be known simply as One Championsh read news >>

  • 2 days ago
  • 6 views

Yeah ... so this is actually happening. Backstreet brawler-turned-EliteXC showpiece Kimbo Slice will make his Bellator MMA debut when he goes to war against Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hall- read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 10 views

UFC 183 weigh in photos gallery for Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz, featuring all 24 fighters tipping the scale inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, home for tomorrow night's (Sat., Jan. read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 4 views

Conor McGregor on Friday confirmed that he would challenge featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 189 this summer. read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 13 views

Raymond "The Real Deal" Daniels’ two-touch flying spin-kick finish of Francois Ambang at Glory 16 “Denver” in May last year left witnesses speechless and had fans and kic read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 5 views

Anderson Silva meets jiu-jitsu black belt Nick Diaz in the main event of UFC 183 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, and works with jiu-jitsu coach Ramon Lemos in the seventh episode of his reality show read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 5 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back with episode three of its "Embedded" video blog series for the UFC 183: "Silva vs. Diaz" pay-per-view (PPV) mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which takes pl read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 2 views

The greatest MMA fighter of all time returns to the Octagon this Saturday at UFC 183, as Anderson “The Spider” Silva takes on the enigmatic Nick Diaz in the main event. The show’s headliner is enough read news >>