Katsunori Kikuno2

 Lurking amongst higher profiled fights like Aoki versus Shaolin and Filho versus Manhhoef is a sure-to-be barnburner featuring recently crowned DEEP lightweight champion Katsunori Kikuno taking on Muay Thai cyclone Andre "Dida" Amade.  This fight has "entertaining brawl" written all over it.

Amade has a substantial following and solid recognition as one of the sport's most astounding and exciting strikers from his history in the K1 Hero's promotion.  "Dida" truly exemplifies the Chute Boxe style; morphing into a barely-visible whirlwind of full-force hooks, high-torque kicks, and deadly flying knees- all registered at 1,000 miles-per-hour for as long as the fight continues.  Amade packed up for San Diego when this fight was booked to hone his BJJ skills with legends like Saulo Ribeiro, André Galvão and “Xande” Ribeiro, as reported by Tatame.com.  His goal is to round out the other aspects of his game to keep the fight standing, feeling more than confident in his demolition-style striking.

He will collide with a lesser-known fighter, especially to American fans, by the name of Katsunori Kikuno- a Judo and (keeping up the growing trend sparked by Lyoto Machida) a Kyokushin Karate-based fighter who also boasts a diverse arsenal of weapons.  Kikuno employs a somewhat unorthodox stance that can vary throughout the fight, switching from traditional to southpaw, and attacks with crisp boxing combinations, stout knees from his powerful clinch, and also throws in creative crescent kicks ("Mikazuki Geri") for good measure.  For his proficiency with the latter technique, he has been dubbed "Master of the Mikazuki Geri", as he has used this particular assault for much more than show by damaging his unexpecting opponents with kicks landing from odd angles that fighters are not anticipating, often targeting the liver.

Kikuno is far from the type of fighter to throw caution to the wind, however.  He is a very tactical and methodical fighter, using his many years of Judo training coupled with his karate background and subsequent training with MMA legend Tsuyoshi Kohsaka at the A-Square facility to formulate intelligent attacks and excellent defense.  He started his reign in DEEP in 2005 and only lost one fight after winning their "Future King" tournament, and has since enjoyed 9 victories with one draw.  He has shown few weaknesses with his crafty throws and trips from the clinch, and prefers to maintain position and pound away from the top position versus implementing a BJJ/submission strategy.

Although Andre "Dida" Amade has fought at a much higher level, losing to dominant overseas lightweights like Eddie Alvarez and JZ Cavalcante but beating Caol Uno, Kikuno is emerging as the favorite to win the fight according to many published betting odds, but the only safe wager is that this is one fight not to sleep on.

 

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