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.

Related News

  • 22 days ago
  • 1 views

WrestleMania! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will eliminate one light heavyweight from the 205-pound title chase when Phil Davis goes head-to-head with Ryan Bader at the upcoming UFC on FOX 14 read news >>

  • 16 days ago
  • 0 views

Anthony “Showtime” Pettis believes he will defend his belt easily against Gilbert Melendez this Saturday in the co-main event at UFC 181 in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Events Center. read news >>

  • 13 days ago
  • 3 views

The welterweight belt changed hands at UFC 181 on Saturday when Robbie Lawler defeated Johny Hendricks by a controversial split decision. Fighters reacted to the fight via twitter. read news >>

  • 9 days ago
  • 26 views

After the twelfth and final episode of The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned, only two women remain. One will be crowned the inaugural UFC strawweight champion. read news >>

  • 8 days ago
  • 796 views

At the UFC on FOX 13 weigh-ins, all 24 fighters taking part in Saturday night's UFC on FOX 13 fights will step on the scale Friday evening, and we'll have the live video here at MMAFighting.com.In th read news >>

  • a day ago
  • 597 views

At the UFC Fight Night 58 weigh-ins, all 24 fighters taking part in Saturday's UFC Fight Night 58 fights will step on the scale Friday, and we'll have the live video here at MMAFighting.com.In the ma read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 0 views

Like many fighters, Will Noland dreams of fighting in the UFC. Unlike many fighters, he is close to making his dream a reality. read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 0 views

21 November 2014 - Beijing, China: Asia's largest mixed martial arts organization with a 90% market share, ONE Fighting Championshi (ONE FC), has announced that ONE FC: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS is set to read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 37 views

A look at the Saturday, December 6th UFC PPV in Las Vegas, which features a pair of championship bouts, including a rematch between welterweight champion Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler. Yesterday' read news >>

Jump to: