Throughout each week, The MMA Corner will spotlight event announcements, fight matchups, and injuries/cancellations from international events from the entire globe.

Mousasi vs. Izumi, Takaya vs. Miyata Title Bouts Booked for DREAM.17

After their first event of the year on May 29, Japanese promotion DREAM has announced a host of bouts, including two title fights, for DREAM.17 to be held at Ariake Colosseum on July 16.

In title matches, former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, former DREAM middleweight champion and reigning DREAM light heavyweight ace Gegard Mousasi is set to defend his strap against Olympic silver medalist judo player Hiroshi Izumi and DREAM featherweight belt-holder Hiroyuki Takaya will defend his title for the first time against suplex-machine Kazuyuki Miyata, who is undefeated as a featherweight with six consecutive wins.

The event will also feature the finals of the Bantamweight Japan Grand Prix Final where Masakazu Imanari and Hideo Tokoro will vie for first place while Atsushi Yamamoto and Kenji Osawa will battle for third and a place in the Bantamweight World Grand Prix which is tentatively scheduled for September.

Finally, former Shooto belt holders Tatsuya Kawajiri and Willamy “Chiquerim” Freire will also clash in a lightweight contest.


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

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 promotion DEEP since 2008.

Promotional President Shigeru Saeki announced Imanari’s decision Tuesday during a news conference at 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.

SOURCE: Sherdog

Featherweight Hatsu Hioki vacates Shooto belt, will attend UFC 131

Japanese featherweight Hatsu Hioki turned down an offer to fight featherweight champion Hiroyuki Takeya at DREAM.17 and on Tuesday announced that he’s vacating his Shooto lightweight title.

Shu Hirata, an associate of Hioki who represents several Japanese fighters, today said that the fighter is headed to UFC 131 as a guest, and all signs point to contract negotiations.

The manager said Shooto’s official rules require a champion to defend his title every six months. However, that stipulation is not in the promotion’s contracts, and the fighter’s announcement is simply a courteous gesture to his former employer.

Hioki is also the Sengoku featherweight champion and has a contract with its promoter, World Victory Road. His deal has one fight remaining on it, yet it’s unknown whether the promotion will ever return given serious financial problems its recently suffered. Several of its champions have asked for and been granted release from their contracts, including Jorge Santiago, who held the promotion’s middleweight belt before he vacated it for a UFC contract.

Photo Credit: Ester Lin/Strikeforce