Following failed bids for both the Dream and
lightweight titles, Tatsuya
Kawajiri will make his featherweight debut in September when he
takes on Joachim
Dream officials Thursday announced the addition of the matchup to
the promotion’s Sept. 24 card, Dream 17,
which takes place at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Scheduled for three five-minute rounds, the bout will be contested
at the Dream featherweight limit of 143 pounds.
The men have squared off before, albeit briefly: in a 2006 Shooto
title bout, Kawajiri was awarded a disqualification victory after
catching an inadvertent kick in the groin from Hansen only eight
seconds into the first round.
Since 2009, the 33-year-old “Crusher” Kawajiri (Pictured; file
photo) has lost only twice in eight outings, but both defeats came
at the hands of world-ranked 155-pounders. In July 2010, the former
Shooto 154-pound world champion was submitted in less than two
minutes by an Achilles lock from Dream ace Shinya
After outpointing former Strikeforce champ Josh
Thomson, Kawajiri came up short in his April bid for the
American belt, as he was knocked out for only the second time in
his 11-year career by Gilbert
Melendez. The T-Blood representative returned to action in July
and easily disposed of resurgent UFC veteran Drew
Hansen, 32, has found success at 143 pounds following an
up-and-down run in Dream’s lightweight division. The Norwegian vet
stunned Aoki with a first-round knockout in 2008 to win the
Japanese promotion’s lightweight strap, but was tapped by the
spindly submission wiz in their rematch 14 months later.
Hellboy fell to then-champ Bibiano
Fernandes and now-champ Hiroyuki
Takaya in his first two featherweight outings, but subsequently
submitted both Hideo Tokoro
Aziz. Most recently, Hansen notched a split decision over
Ishida in May.
Dream 17 will also feature the opening round of the organization’s
eight-man bantamweight title tournament, as well as a lightweight
tilt between Aoki and WEC vet “Razor” Rob