Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto trained in Canada ahead of UFC 144. | Photo: Taro Irei


Sergio Cunha worked with Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto during his most recent training camp at Mecha MMA in Toronto, and the Chute Boxe black belt believes the Japanese star has plenty left in the tank.

Winless in two Octagon appearances, Yamamoto (18-5, 0-2 UFC) will face Englishman Vaughan Lee at UFC 144 “Edgar vs. Henderson” on Feb. 26 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The 34-year-old last fought at UFC on Fox 1 in November, when he dropped a unanimous decision to Darren Uenoyama.

“Kid Yamamoto will win and put on a great exhibition for his Japanese fans,” Cunha told Sherdog.com.

Yamamoto elected to train at the Canadian gym in advance of his bout with Lee, who came up short in his promotional debut against Chris Cariaso at UFC 138 in November. As part of a family of famous wrestlers in Japan, Yamamoto rose to MMA prominence under the K-1 Hero’s banner. His father, Ikuei, represented Japan at the 1972 Summer Olympics, and his sisters, Miyu and Seiko, have won world championships in wrestling. Miyu connected Yamamoto to Cunha.

“The partnership with Kid happened in a very cool way,” Cunha said. “His sister is a three-time world champion in wrestling and was training here with our wrestling coach. We started talking about MMA, and she knew my work because of the guys from Yoshida Dojo. Then she asked if I could train her brother for his fight; for the family, it’s the most important of his career because of the UFC’s return to Japan and because it’s a time of transition and recovery for MMA in the country.

“Yamamoto’s family has a tradition in the fighting world,” he added. “The father was a wrestler, and all of the kids are wrestlers. We agreed to all the details, and Kid came here to make his camp with me and our team.”

Now in the final stages of his training camp, Yamamoto aims to put an end to the second two-fight losing streak of his career. Cunha thinks a return home will benefit him.

“After three months of hard, intense training, we’re getting towards the end and just preparing for this fight, with a strategy that puts him in a position of advantage for a good win on home soil,” Cunha said. “That’s expected from an athlete who has been a world champion and made his mark in history.”

The Cunha-Yamamoto union was made all the more unlikely by the fact that the 2005 K-1 Hero’s lightweight grand prix winner enjoyed much of his success at the expense of Brazilians, including Royler Gracie, Bibiano Fernandes and Rani Yahya. Cunha has confidence in his new student.

“Kid is very dedicated to doing all the work with a lot of discipline,” he said. “He has worked to gain muscle mass. A food company that sponsors him sent him the meals he needed on a daily basis. We prepared physically and tactically, so, at the time of the fight, he can execute exactly what we trained.”

Alan Oliveira contributed to this report.

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

Related News

Brian Bowles among eight fighters released from the UFC

  • 28 days ago
  • 189 views

Former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles highlights the list of recent UFC cuts. Sources close to the situation told MMAFighting.com that the UFC has released Bowles, Stanislav Nedkov, Andy Ogle read news >>

The MMA Hour - 271 - Marion Reneau

  • 28 days ago
  • 0 views

Marion Reneau discusses her recent UFC run and what's next. read news >>

Knockout Radio Podcast: UFC Fighters Tim Boetsch and Michael Chiesa | MMAWeekly.com

  • 24 days ago
  • 2 views

Join Knockout Radio for the podcast of their March 5 show featuring Michael Chiesa and Tim Boetsch live, plus the guys break down UFC 184, talk Burt Watson's UFC exit, and more. read news >>

Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon full fight video

  • 24 days ago
  • 47 views

Watch Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon video for Pettis' impressive knockout win at UFC 144 on Feb. 26, 2012. It earned Knockout of the Night honors. Pettis returns to the Octagon next Saturday night at read news >>

PBC Boxing on NBC draws 3.4 million viewers, tops recent UFC on FOX efforts

  • 22 days ago
  • 10 views

Ratings are in from PBC boxing live on NBC, and the news is good for the future of the company. But maybe not as good for the UFC. This past weekend, the big player in the combat sports world was Pre read news >>

Mark Munoz fights on, meets Luke Barnatt at UFC Fight Night 66 in Philippines

  • 21 days ago
  • 2 views

Despite a three-fight skid and a recent first-round submission loss this past month, Mark Munoz is fighting on and now meets fellow middleweight Luke Barnatt at UFC Fight Night 66.Filed under: MMA Ru read news >>

Mark Munoz on Ronda Rousey facing male UFC fighters: 'It's totally different'

  • 19 days ago
  • 49 views

Mark Munoz weighs in on the recent debate about Ronda Rousey's chances against men. Ronda Rousey's dominance, coupled with recent statements from UFC figureheads like Joe Rogan and Bruce Buffer sayin read news >>

UFC 185 preview: Despite recent dominance, onus remains on Anthony Pettis to establish greatness

  • 19 days ago
  • 0 views

If Jon Jones got knocked on his ass at UFC 187, or moved up to heavyweight and got smashed by Cain Velasquez, he would still be considered the greatest light heavyweight champion of all time, and per read news >>

Despite recent struggles, UFC 185's Ross Pearson still has dreams of a championship

  • 17 days ago
  • 1 views

After his November loss to Al Iaquinta, Ross Pearson knew he didn’t want to mess around. Filed under: MMAjunkie Radio, News, UFC read news >>

Trending News

Top News

Jump to: