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Friday, 26th October 2012
In Sports,

Japan prepares for New Year's Eve MMA spectacular

People heading to Japan for the New Year are being given the chance to watch some mixed martial arts (MMA).

Glory Sports International (GSI) is hosting a night under the DREAM brand that will see 13 bouts staged at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama. It continues something of a tradition, as the promoter has organised such events on December 31st for the past four years.

Fedor Emelianenko, Gegard Mousasi, Shinya Aoki and Joachim Hansen are among the fighters who have displayed their skills in the past, although the line-up has yet to be confirmed for this year's event.

Pierre Andurand, chairman of GSI, said: "We are very fond of the DREAM brand and the company's world-class production team. The GSI team is passionate about Japanese MMA and is intent on restoring it to prominence. The DREAM 18 event on New Year's Eve is a first step towards this goal."

He promised fans a spectacular show and claimed the production of the programme will be better than ever before.

Those lucky enough to attend will get to see ten MMA fights and three kickboxing matches, while three Japanese competitors have confirmed their attendance. They are DREAM featherweight champion Hiroyuki Takaya, the ‘Crusher’ Tatsuya Kawajiri and the lightweight contender Satoru Kitaoka.

The Saitama Super Arena, which has a striking design, is a multi-purpose venue that can house up to 37,00 spectators when at full capacity. It is also home to the Japan Professional Basketball League team the Saitama Broncos.

It will be the second time that an GSI event takes place in Japan in December. The Makuhari Messe building in Chiba, Greater Tokyo is to be the scene of the 16-man one-night tournament that features the world’s top kickboxing heavyweights.

There will be a purse of $600,00 (£373,000) up for grabs and world number one ranked heavyweight Semmy Schilt and Remy Bonjasky, Peter Aerts and Jerome LeBanne are among those who will be fighting.