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DREAM 8′s Lineup Isn’t Looking Too Awesome

("I used to be an AFC like Shinya. Now that I’ve learned the Mystery Method, I pull more tail than Hayato.")

DREAM’s 2009 welterweight grand prix kicks off April 5th at DREAM 8, and four of the tournament matchups have just been announced, along with a few features in other weight classes. The event will be headlined by a rematch between Shinya Aoki and Hayato "Mach" Sakurai; Sakurai previously won a decision over Aoki at a Shooto event in August ’05. Check out the current lineup below, and keep in mind that the opening round kicks off ten days from now, and only half the field is assembled. Not that this is the first time that DREAM hasn’t had all their GP participants locked down before the opening round, but this is really pushing it…

Welterweight GP Fights
Shinya Aoki vs. Hayato “Mach” Sakurai
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Jeff Monson (heavyweight)
Ikuhisa "Minowaman" Minowa vs. Katsuyori Shibata (194-pound catchweight)
Andrews Nakahara vs. Shungo Oyama (middleweight)
Murilo "Ninja" Rua vs. Dong Sik Yoon (middleweight)
Hideo Tokoro vs. Daiki "DJ.taiki" Hata (featherweight GP fight)

I don’t see how the winner of Aoki/Sakurai doesn’t just pwn the fuck out of this field, which is easily the weakest of any DREAM GP to date. Shirai and Ikemoto are local jobbers, and UFC/WEC-castoff John Alessio is only slightly better. High just got owned by Jay Hieron at Affliction: Day of Reckoning; too bad the Thoroughbred isn’t available for this tournament. And while Andre Galvao is a stud when it comes to jiu-jitsu, he’s underexperienced in MMA. There’d better be some big names attached to those last four spots, or the tourney could be a gigantic bust.

And the other bouts on the card aren’t much better. The Kharitonov/Monson clash could be entertaining, but of the six men in the other non-GP bouts, only Minowaman and Ninja have winning records. Seriously. DREAM is hoping for a big ratings resurgence when they return to a decent time-slot, but it’ll be hard to get fans interested — especially in the U.S., where once again, HDNet is airing the event days later on tape-delay.

Cagepotato Comments

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BM2- March 28, 2009 at 6:02 am
Dude, this card is going to be better than motherfucking Bushido 9.

Seriously. I feel like flying to Japan for MINOWAMAN VS SHIBATA alone
Left High Kick- March 27, 2009 at 9:09 am
+Kharitonov is going to destroy the snowman obviously, which makes me ask myself "who else does my nigga Sergei have to dismantel to get some recognition or title belts up in this bitch?"

+H-O-P-E-F-U-L-L-Y Ninja will kill that Dong sucks you guy.

+Mach is the man. Hope he launches those killer kicks and heavy hands around like he use to do in Pride.

+Monson is the hustler of 2009 fo sho.

+ive been catching the downwind of DREAM haters for a while now. I blame most of it because of DREAM/K1/M1 Global not being so American-viewer friendly. If it was on pay-per-view without delay, there would be way more positive upsides for both company and fans.
LockDown- March 27, 2009 at 6:52 am
How can you say it isn't too awesome when we have the possibility to watch Aoki being pwned in his own gameplane, since he can face André Galvão, a BJJ wizard.
Aaron- March 26, 2009 at 6:07 pm
What a stinker of a card. On the bright side, it's good to see japanese MMA continuing to crumble into dust. What a cesspool.
Leveled He@d- March 26, 2009 at 5:27 pm
"I used to be an AFC like Shinya. Now that I've learned the Mystery Method, I pull more tail than Hayato." = best picture caption in a while .. hahaha

Leveled He@d- March 26, 2009 at 5:26 pm
Hey Monson has some legal fees to pay, the guy is just trying to get some work ... Big country did get robbed though

Imbecile makes a good point, I think hardcore MMA fans consistently overrate Japanese fighters, so they can show off their MMA knowledge. Aoki is a hell of a fighter, super talented, but that doesn't mean he could step into the UFC welterweight or lightweight division and get a string of easy wins .... not at all ... ask Vinny how effective elite level jiu-jitsu can be

THe truth is the new generation of mma and the best fighters are in America right now where top level athletes are taking interest in the sport and devoting their lives to training.

THough I do hope some quality Asian fighters can represent the technical aspects of the sport over the roided out WWE drop outs

Satoshi Ishii !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lodz- March 26, 2009 at 3:57 pm
Imbecile, you are an imbecile. This tourney will have absolutely no significance in the welterweight top 10 rankings. Dream's lightweight GP had weight because of the quality of the fighters, not because of some japanese can kicking conspiracy.
Damarx- March 26, 2009 at 3:20 pm
WTF Y'all completely overlooked the Tokoro vs. Hata that is probably the 2nd best fight on the card after Aoki vs. Sakurai. Still weak for Dream but it isn't that bad off.
backbaconbilly- March 26, 2009 at 3:16 pm
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Jeff Monson ??? LOL, please! Sergei should pick Monson apart, face it, Big country got robbed in his decision loss to Jeff ( terrible judging ) Kharitonov won't need the Judges help in this one, night night Jeff!
Anonymous- March 26, 2009 at 2:58 pm
Kharitonov! looking forward to that fight
mike rip- March 26, 2009 at 2:44 pm
If galvao can get by alessio he will own Aoki so bad it will make everyone's headspin. I'd like to see him try his rubberguard and gogoplata shit on Galvao! bwahahahaha. No way he wins that fight. No effin way...
Imbecile- March 26, 2009 at 2:31 pm
Typical Japanese tourney - they want either Aoki or Sakurai in the finals, so they have them fight first so that the winner of that match will be the clear winner of the tournament. Here's hoping that John Alessio takes it all, so that he can be ranked in the top three in the world simply by beating overrated Japanese fighters. Not sure exactly where you would rank these guys (WW or LW) but it would be great to see how stupid rankings look if Alessio were to win and is then ranked above guys like Sherk and Florian.
Harry Russo- March 26, 2009 at 2:29 pm
Monson's fight schedule is fucking wicked. Fighting a dude like sergei in Japan only three weeks off of his last fight is hardcore.
Sodak- March 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm
kharitonovs a bad ass, hes enough to get me excited for this card, aoki and ninja too not bad i hate when they delay broadccast tho
GetUpAndKill- March 26, 2009 at 2:05 pm
Ya see...this is why I like CP.

I only know of Allessio, Monson, Ninja, Aoki and Sakurai...who in their own don't entice me too much to watch them (though I likely will). So who really cares if the rest of the card is filled with cans and idunnowhos with losing records.

But thanks for the news nonetheless.

JiMMA- March 26, 2009 at 2:03 pm
@ Clan

I don't believe that there is a 'dream haters club' forming. Its just that the company has been lacking compelling bouts as of late. With that going on along with little to none US coverage dream has been lackluster in my mind lately.
Mr.Whitefolks- March 26, 2009 at 1:33 pm
Yeah I know he's not in the GP. stupid brain cramp.
Mr.Whitefolks- March 26, 2009 at 1:08 pm
I have to agree with Clan. DREAM hate is on the rise. I have Aoki losing a close one in the semis. He'll be back tho.
Clan- March 26, 2009 at 1:03 pm
could be wrong but im fairly certain the tournament is only 8 man. Featuring 4 japanese and 4 others. The card should be entertaining, but then again it seems like everyone just wants to insult DREAM these days.
Lodz- March 26, 2009 at 12:46 pm
And Alessio is still a solid fighter. Hes coming off a loss to daley, but chalk that up mostly to daley looking absolutely fucking awesome in that fight.
Bootylam!- March 26, 2009 at 12:44 pm
If Galvao starts winning he better watch out for illegal tactics. Alessio is a cheating ass.
Lodz- March 26, 2009 at 12:38 pm
Dont sleep on Jason High.
He will make the finals for sure, and is a talented prospect.
Sure he is coming off a MASSIVE knockout, but who in this tourney has the hands to repeat that?
Rubberguardian - March 26, 2009 at 12:24 pm
No way man. Aoki's the shit. He's gonna win the whole thing.
I'm curious about the tights he has picked out.
Gramps- March 26, 2009 at 12:21 pm
Uhh if Galvao meets Aoki at any point in time, Aoki's going to get fucking styled on. Seems likely because Mach hasn't really had the time to train for this fight properly.
iron helps us play- March 26, 2009 at 12:11 pm
Come on CP, you have to remember that sometimes the best shows happen during weak cards. Have some faith.