Katsunori Kikuno vs Daisuke Nakamura Set For DREAM: "Fight For Japan"DEEP Lightweight Champion Katsunori Kikuno will battle armbar specialist Daisuke Nakamura at DREAM: “Fight For Japan” on May 29th in Saitama, Japan. The non-title matchup is the seventh confirmed fight for the event, which will also kick off the DREAM Japan Bantamweight Grand Prix.

DREAM officials announced the bout earlier today. Kikuno has won two of his last three fights and defended his DEEP title in October. Nakamura has won three straight bouts, including a December flying armbar victory, since dropping a decision to Justin Wilcox in his lone Strikeforce appearance.

Kikuno (14-3-2) is best known for his unorthodox striking style, which includes the devastating crescent kicks to the body that have become a staple of his recent fights. After capturing the DEEP Lightweight Championship in 2009, Kikuno debuted for DREAM at the promotion’s tenth event and stopped former top prospect Andre “Dida” Amado in the first round. He then gave Bellator ace Eddie Alvarez all he could handle in a back-and-forth battle at Dream.12 before succumbing to a second-round rear-naked choke. Since that time, Kikuno has lost just one time, in a close and competitive bout with former K-1 HERO’s champ Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante.

Nakamura (23-12-0) prefers to end his fights with submissions, but he too has demonstrated knockout power. Having used flying armbars to defeat four past opponents, Nakamura is affectionately known as “The Armbar Genius.” A veteran of many top promotions, Nakamura reigned undefeated for over two years from 2007 until early 2009. During that time, he picked up eight straight victories; all but two of which came by knockout or submission. Though he has struggled in the past when stepping up to face divisional elite, Nakamura remains a dangerous opponent for lightweight contenders and he will look to neutralise Kikuno’s striking in their May bout.

DREAM Japan Grand Prix: “Fight For Japan” takes place on May 29th at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The event may air on HDNet in North America. Proceeds from the card will go towards disaster relief and reconstruction after the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11th.


DREAM: “Fight For Japan” Fight Card (to date; subject to change):

– Katsunori Kikuno vs Daisuke Nakamura
– Caol “Uno Shoten” Uno vs “Wicky” Akiyo Nishiura
– “The Endless Fighter” Mitsuhiro Ishida vs Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen
– Darren “BC” Uyenoyama vs Atsushi Yamamoto (*)
– Yoshiro Maeda vs Hideo Tokoro (*)
– Masakazu “Ashikan Judan” Imanari vs Keisuke Fujiwara (*)
– Kenji Osawa vs Takafumi Otsuka (*)
– Winner of Uyenoyama/Yamamoto vs Winner of Maeda/Tokoro (**)
– Winner of Imanari/Fujiwara vs Winner of Osawa/Otsuka (**)

*DREAM Japan Bantamweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal
**DREAM Japan Bantamweight Grand Prix Semi-Final



(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)