Melvin Manhoef To Face Kazuo MisakiOriginally thought to be facing fellow Japanese star Kazushi Sakuraba, former Grabaka ace Kazuo Misaki will instead battle knockout king “Marvellous” Melvin Manhoef at K-1 Dynamite!! “Power of Courage 2009” on New Year’s Eve. The event airs live on HDNet.

Reports had previously confirmed that Sakuraba would compete on the card against Misaki, but it is presently unknown whether Sakuraba will still be part of the gigantic Dynamite!! event. Misaki will now face an opponent with a vastly different style when he takes on Manhoef.

Manhoef (23-6-1) is widely regarded as the most devastating striker in the middleweight division and holds a remarkable 22 wins by a form of knockout. He was a semi-finalist in the 2008 DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix and shocked the world at last year’s Dynamite!! event when he knocked out iron-jawed former K-1 Grand Prix Champion Mark Hunt in just 18 seconds. Hunt outweighed Manhoef by nearly 100 pounds in the fight.

Misaki (22-9-2, 1 NC) became the PRIDE Welterweight (183-Pound) Grand Prix Champion in 2006 and has since enjoyed considerable success in Strikeforce and Sengoku. He came up just short in the finals of the Sengoku Middleweight Grand Prix at Sengoku: “No Ran 2009” in January, but rebounded with a submission win over Kazuhiro Nakamura in August. Misaki has since departed the Grabaka Gym, as well as the Sengoku promotion.

Both Manhoef and Misaki have encountered their share of troubles in 2009, with Manhoef’s suspect ground game continuing to cause him problems and Misaki’s run-in with the law in Japan making headlines. Manhoef recently signed with the Strikeforce promotion and Misaki will look to get his career back on track in DREAM. The Dynamite!! bout will be crucial to both men as the new year begins.

K-1 Dynamite!! “Power of Courage 2009” takes place on New Year’s Eve in Japan and airs live on HDNet beginning at 12:00 A.M. Pacific (3:00 A.M. Eastern) on December 31st.