Blockbuster Lightweight Bouts Added To "Dynamite!!" CardPutting weeks of speculation to rest, Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG) has officially confirmed a pair of blockbuster DREAM vs Sengoku lightweight bouts for the massive K-1 Dynamite!! “Power of Courage 2009” event on New Year’s Eve.

DREAM Lightweight Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki will battle Sengoku Lightweight Champion Mizuto Hirota, while #1 contenders Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri and Kazunori Yokota will also square off in a featured bout. The event will air live on HDNet in North America.

Aoki (22-4-0, 1 NC) was rumoured to be defending his title against Kawajiri on New Year’s Eve, but that fight will be held over until 2010 at an undetermined DREAM event. A world-renowned submission ace, Aoki captured the DREAM Lightweight Championship with a second victory over Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen at Dream.11 in October. Aoki makes no secret of his desire to compete solely on the ground, but he has shown improvement in his striking over the past year.

Hirota (12-3-1) is one of the hardest-hitting lightweights in the entire sport. He claimed the Sengoku Lightweight Championship with a fourth-round stoppage of Satoru Kitaoka in early August. Shunning the practice of taping his hands for fights until fairly recently, Hirota has since won six of his last eight fights and all of those victories have come by a form of knockout. His punching power is not something that Aoki will be eager to mess with.

Kawajiri (25-5-2) was widely expected to be the next challenger to Aoki’s crown, but the #1 DREAM lightweight contender will instead have to earn his way into the title fight against his Sengoku counterpart, Yokota. Splitting his time between mixed martial arts and K-1 bouts, Kawajiri has won six of his last seven fights in MMA and is known for his strong finishing ability. A victory over Yokota would leave no doubt as to Kawajiri’s status in the division.

Yokota (11-2-3) was defeated by Kitaoka in the finals of the Sengoku Lightweight Grand Prix at Sengoku: “Sixth Battle” in November of 2008, but he was victorious over current champion Hirota earlier in the evening. Having won all three of his fights thus far in 2009, Yokota is poised to have another shot at Hirota and a second victory would crown Yokota as the new champion. He will first have to get past the ultra-aggressive Kawajiri.

Elsewhere on the card, a middleweight bout between Japanese legends Kazushi Sakuraba and Kazuo Misaki may no longer take place. Misaki is now rumoured to be facing knockout extraordinaire “Marvellous” Melvin Manhoef, but this has yet to be confirmed by FEG. The Dynamite!! card currently stands at 16 MMA and K-1 kickboxing bouts, with more to be announced in the coming week.