(Fight starts at 4:15, though all the good stuff is before that. Vids Props: YouTube/ZombieProphet420)
Leading up to his fight with Kazushi Sakuraba at Dream 16, Jason “Mayhem” Miller said he wanted to be the first person to submit the Japanese legend since Kimo did it during a possibly worked fight back in 1996. Well, Miller gets his wish here, though at this point beating Sakuraba seems to be the same level of accomplishment as going to the grocery store and coming back with everything on your list. The only way it’s not going to happen is if something goes horribly wrong.
We’re told that Saku’s entrance video before this bout is an homage to a popular cartoon in Japan. Don’t know about all that. In the states, we just call that shit creepy. The whole scene – complete with fellow old-school fighting phenom Tsuyoshi Kohsaka on the “drums” – is almost bizarre enough to distract from the sad reality of what’s become of Sakuraba as he continues to fight well into his golden years. Almost, but not quite.
Prior to the Miller-Sakuraba fight, it appears that “Mayhem” is not content to let Saku have the only over-the-top walk-out. You have to look quick at the beginning to see it, but it appears Miller brings his own literal teenage fanclub with him to the ring. In all honesty, they have a lot to cheer about here.
Though Sakuraba tosses out some half-hearted punches in the early going – and even rolls for a leg lock once the fight hits the ground – it’s all over as soon as “Mayhem” stabilizes his position on top. Before the fight Michael Schiavello wonders aloud if Miller will have the heart to give Sakuraba a beating if it comes to it. The answer to that question is a resounding yes. Miller helps Saku along in his march toward Alzheimer’s with some stuff shots on the mat, then transitions to an arm triangle that Sakuraba appears totally content to let him have.
Pretty much everything about this fight gives the impression the 41-year-old is just out to make an appearance in front of the home crowd. Give the people a little thrill, take a minor beating, go home. Sad, really.
Other noteworthy results from Dream 16 include a smattering of first round wins, including quick victories for Takaya, Joachim Hansen, Michihiro Omigawa and Gegard Mousasi. (Ed. Note: Apparently the win netted "Sweet N’ Sassy" the Dream light heavyweight title. Who knew?!?) Shinya Aoki picked up a decision nod over the miraculously healed Ikuhisa Minowa on points. Oh hey, James Thompson lost again. This time by decision. So that sounds weird. It was just the second time in Thompson’s career that he’s gone the distance. The first was against Dan Severn back in 2004.
(Ed. Note: Sorry to get your hopes up, James Thompson fans. I erroneously reported earlier that he’d won by split decision. Turns out, he didn’t. That’s my bad. CD)
Anyway, on to the beating:
(Fight starts at 2:55.)