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Yusuke Masuda Steps-Up To Face Matt Thorpe At M-1 Challenge: Third Edition


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Three weeks was simply not going to be enough recovery time for middleweight Riki Fukuda to represent his home country of Japan during the “Third Edition” of the 2009 ” M-1 Challenge Presented by Affliction” following his upset victory over Murilo “Ninja” Rua earlier this month.

Fukuda improved to 14-4 following his two-round unanimous decision victory over the first-ever EliteXC middleweight champion at DREAM.8 on April 5. A former EliteXC veteran himself, Fukuda previously had been signed to face Matt Thorpe as a part of a best-of-five matchup between Team Japan and Team England during next Wednesday’s M-1 Challenge event in Tokyo, Japan.

Tapped to replace Fukuda against Thorpe on short notice is Fury Fighting Championship and DEEP veteran Yusuke Masuda, who will be dropping down in weight in order to face Thorpe in a middleweight matchup.

Masuda last fight in December, going to a draw against Hiroki during DEEP’s “Protect Impact 2008” event at Shinjuku Face in Tokyo, Japan. His opponent, Thorpe, is a veteran of the King of the Cage U.K. Cage Warriors and BodogFIGHT promotions, Thorpe, 10-7, holds a notable winner over Cage Rage veteran Che Mills, who recently tried out for Team U.K. during the current ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality television show.

The best-of-five line-up between Group A rivals Japan and England will now pit lightweights Luiz Andrade (Japan) vs. Ian Butlin (England), welterweights Hidehiko Hasegawa (Japan) vs. Simon Phillips (England), Masuda vs. Thorpe, light heavyweights Tatsuya Mizuno (Japan) vs. Tom Blackledge (England), and heavyweights Yusuka Kawaguchi (Japan) vs. Rob Broughton (England).

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