Takeshi Inoue To Face Koichiro Matsumoto At DREAM: "Fight For Japan"Former two-time Shooto Lightweight Champion “Lion” Takeshi Inoue will clash with current DEEP Featherweight Champion Koichiro Matsumoto at DREAM: “Fight For Japan” on May 29th in Saitama, Japan. The 143-pound matchup was officially announced by the promotion earlier today.

Inoue broke a two-fight losing streak on April 29th when he stopped Taiki Tsuchiya at Shooto Tradition 2011 and has never been finished in 24 fights. Matsumoto has not suffered a loss in over two years and he most recently knocked out Shoji Maruyama at DEEP: “51 Impact” in December.

Inoue (19-5-0) first captured Shooto title gold five years ago by defeating Antonio “Pato” Carvalho at Shooto: “The Devilock” in a rematch from nine months prior. He would lose the belt one year later, but regained it on November 29, 2008 by stopping Hideki Kadowaki. Inoue remained champion until last May, when he dropped a Split Decision to divisional standout Hatsu Hioki, and he lost again to talented wrestler Kazuyuki Miyata in September. A well-rounded fighter with eight knockouts to his credit, Inoue will look to follow up on his win over Tsuchiya when he faces Matsumoto in three weeks.

Matsumoto (12-2-0) has won 11 of his last 12 fights, with the lone blemish coming in an April 2009 bout with Katsunori Kikuno. The hard-hitting Matsumoto has racked up six knockout wins and captured the DEEP Featherweight Championship last July with a Split Decision victory over Takafumi Otsuka. Among Matsumoto’s other notable wins is a February 2009 decision over veteran Jutaro Nakao. Inoue will be one of Matsumoto’s toughest tests to date, but an upset of the former Shooto king would be huge.

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):

– “Lion” Takeshi Inoue vs Koichiro Matsumoto
– 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)