The Japanese-based DREAM promotion today revealed 13 competitors for its upcoming featherweight grand prix.
The first round of the tournament takes place during the promotion's upcoming March 7 DREAM.7 event at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Announced participants include Masakazu Imanari, Wicky Akiyo, Takafumi Otsuka, Kim Jong Won, Shoji Maruyama, Joe Warren, Hiroyuki Takaya, Chase Beebe, Daiki "DJ.taiki" Hata, Hideo Tokoro, Bibiano Fernandes, Micah Miller and Atsushi Yamamoto.
The second round of the tournament is tentatively scheduled for May (DREAM.9), and the final is expected to take place in September (DREAM.11).
Imanari (15-6-1), a former PRIDE and longtime DEEP fighter, has won six of his past even fights, all via stoppage. The 32-year-old is a former Cage Rage and DEEP champion.
Akiyo (9-3-1), a Shooto veteran, is 4-1-1 in his past six fights. The 25-year-old is making his DREAM debut.
Otsuka (8-3-1), a DEEP veteran also making his DREAM debut, is 5-1 in his past six fights. The lone loss came to recent UFC signee Rafael dos Anjos via split decision in July.
Won (0-0), 32, is a 1996 Judo Olympian for South Korea. He recently began training in MMA.
Maruyama (6-4-1), 25, looks to snap a three-fight winless streak when he makes his second DREAM appearance. The vet dropped a unanimous-decision loss to Takeshi Yamazaki at DREAM.3.
Warren (0-0), a former Greco-Roman Olympic wrestler, makes his MMA debut at the event. The former University of Michigan wrestler was introduced to overseas fans after a gold-medal finish at the 2007 World Wrestling Championships in China.
Takaya (9-6-1), 31, returns to competition after going 0-2 in the WEC after losses to Leonard Garcia and Cub Swanson in 2008. The former K-1 HERO'S fighter is 2-4 in his past six fights.
Beebe (12-3), a former WEC bantamweight champion, looks to get back in the win column after back-to-back losses in the WEC. The 23-year-old four-time high-school state wrestling champion hopes to return to the WEC after the tournament.
Hata (9-5-3), a Pancrase and DEEP veteran, is 2-0-1 in his past three fights.
Hideo Tokoro (21-15-1), one of the tournament's most experienced fighters, is 2-1 in three DREAM appearances.
Fernandes (3-2) has posted back-to-back wins in the Raw Combat promotion after early-career losses to notables Urijah Faber and Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto.
Miller (10-2), a former WEC fighter, is 3-1 in his past four fights. The 21-year-old is the younger brother of UFC fighter Cole Miller.
Yamamoto (12-5-1) is 5-2 in his past seven fights, but all of the victories came via decision. He most recently scored a unanimous-decision win over Tokoro at DREAM.6.
For the latest on DREAM.7, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.
(Pictured: Masakazu Imanari)