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K-1 World Max Final 8: Kid Yamamoto KO'd by Jae Hee Cheon

In another setback for a once-great MMA fighter, Japan's Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto was knocked out in the first round of his kickboxing match with Korea's Jae hee Cheon at the K-1 Max 2009 World Championship Tournament Final 8 in Tokyo.

Yamamoto was widely regarded as one of the Top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts a couple of years ago, but a knee injury forced him to miss all of 2008, and he still hasn't won a fight in 2009. He lost his highly anticipated return fight against American newcomer Joe Warren at Dream 9, and now he's lost in K-1 as well.

The fight with Cheon was a short one. Yamamoto reached for a punch, left his chin exposed, and was hit with a right-left combination that sent him sprawling. He couldn't get up and was knocked out just before the halfway point of Round 1.

Kickboxing has never been Yamamoto's specialty, and seeing him lose a K-1 fight isn't the shock that seeing him lose in Dream was, but it's still a major sign that Yamamoto, at age 32 and with a bad knee, is never going to be the same fighter he once was.

So what's next for Kid? Who knows. He's still a draw in Japan, and I imagine we'll see him again in Dream, by New Year's Eve at the latest. But he's no longer a great fighter, and that's sad to see.

UPDATE: Full results are below:
Superfight: Masato defeats Tatsuya Kawajiri via TKO at 1:43 in Round 2
Reserve Fight: Yoshihiro Sato defeats Joeri Mes via Decision (Ext. Round)
Reserve Fight: Yasuhiro Kido defeats Leroy Kaestner via Decision (3-0)
Superfight: Jae Hee Cheon defeats Norifumi "Kid" Yamamto via KO at 1:20 in Round 1
Final 8: Buakaw Por. Pramuk defeats Nieky Holtzken via Decision (3-0)
Final 8: Andy Souwer defeats Artur Kyshenko via Decision (3-0)
Final 8: Giorgo Petrosyan defeats Albert Kraus via Decision (3-0)
Final 8: Yuya Yamamoto defeats DRAGO via Decision (3-0)
Superfight: HIROYA defeats Kiko Lopez via Decision (3-0)
Superfight: Dzhabar "Chengiskhan" Askerov defeats HINATA via Decision (3-0)
Opening Fight: Jae Gil No defeats Go Yokoyama via KO at 2:01 in Round 3
(via Bloody Elbow and K-1 official.)

Note: Our friends at The Savage Science have live K-1 coverage. The K-1 Max 2009 World Championship Tournament Final 8 will air Friday at 10 PM ET on HDNet.