DREAM officials put together the first pairings for the upcoming world bantamweight grand prix, which is set to begin September 24 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan at DREAM.17.
The eight participants in the tournament include Antonio Banuelos (18-7), Hideo Tokoro (30-23-1), Bibiano Fernandes (8-3), Takafumi Otuska (12-8-1), Masakazu Imanari (23-9-2), Abel Cullum (18-5), Rodolfo Marques (12-1) and Yusup Saadulaev (8-0-1).
Banuelos will meet Tokoro, Fernandes and Otuska square off, Imanari and Cullum meet, and Marques takes on Saadulaev.
Currently, there have been no reports of North American broadcast plans for the event.
Banuelos is a veteran of the WEC, but lost his first UFC match to Miquel Torres and was released. Tokoro won Japan’s bantamweight grand prix, defeating Imanari in the finals by decision.
Marques and Saadulaev will be making their debuts for DREAM. Cullum is a former King of the Cage fighter.
Four non-tournament fights have also been scheduled for the night, as Shinya Aoki takes on Rob McCullough, Willamy Freire faces Satoru Kitaoka, Takeshi Inoue and Caol Uno square off, and Joachim Hansen meets Tatsuya Kawajiri.