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.

Related News

Watch today's UFC 189/TUF 21 Finale press conference on MMAjunkie at 2 p.m. ET

  • 20 days ago
  • 0 views

LAS VEGAS – Join us for a live stream of today’s UFC 189/The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale press conference today at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT).Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

The Ultimate Fighter 21 live discussion: Episode 12

  • 20 days ago
  • 16 views

Join us here tonight for live coverage of episode 12 of The Ultimate Fighter as the latest season sees its conclusion. TUF: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians airs tonight at 10 pm on Fox Sports 1. J read news >>

Tonya Evinger Invicta FC 13 media day scrum

  • 21 days ago
  • 4 views

LAS VEGAS -- Tonya Evinger discusses recent comments by Sean Shelby, her motivation, why she would rather fight for Invicta than UFC, and more during Invicta FC 13 media day Tuesday. read news >>

Eddie Alvarez reacts to Gilbert Melendez's drug test failure: 'I understand why guys do stuff'

  • 21 days ago
  • 81 views

Eddie Alvarez got wind of Gilbert Melendez's recent drug test failure for exogenous testosterone, but it doesn't sound like the former Bellator champ is taking a very hard line stance on the issue. W read news >>

The UFC Cutting Room Floor: Hatsu Hioki and long goodbyes

  • 21 days ago
  • 3 views

Zane Simon goes in depth on the most recent UFC roster cuts, just who the fighters were, and whether or not we might expect them back soon. New to this episode, a look at the UFC signings from the mo read news >>

Forty-Year-Old Glena Avila Takes Aim at KOTC Championship After Recent Win

  • 23 days ago
  • 8 views

She may be 40 years of age, but Glena Avila is taking aim at the King of the Cage strawweight championship. read news >>

Knockout Radio Podcast: Robbie Lawler, Tito Ortiz, Ian McCall, and Josh Samman

  • 25 days ago
  • 4 views

Join Knockout Radio for a stacked podcast that includes UFC champ Robbie Lawler, Bellator contender Tito Ortiz, and UFC fighters Ian McCall and Josh Samman. read news >>

Rockhold on sponsor deals, Machida's place in the division, post-fight speeches & more

  • 27 days ago
  • 2 views

In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, Luke Rockhold weighed in on a variety of topics that include his thoughts on the Machida/Romero fight, the MW pecking order, post-fight speeches, AKA's traini read news >>

Josh Koscheck: Signing with Bellator means 'I get to take off my handcuffs'

  • 28 days ago
  • 20 views

When discussing his recent signing with Bellator, welterweight Josh Koscheck had a certain pep in his voice that he admitted was missing for a long time. Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, UFC read news >>

Video: Reebok's official unveiling of UFC Fight Kit

  • 29 days ago
  • 45 views

Join us starting at 10 a.m ET for live video as 20 of the UFC's biggest stars will help unveil Reebok's UFC Fight Kit. Join us at BloodyElbow.com starting 10 a.m. ET for the video of the official unv read news >>