The opening round of DREAM’s 2009 welterweight grand prix went down today at DREAM.8 in Nagoya, Japan, with Hayato Sakurai and Andre Galvao establishing themselves as early favorites to go all the way. In the evening’s main event, Sakurai was able to defeat Shinya Aoki for the second time in his career, reversing position after a slick takedown from Aoki, then unleashing a brutal series of knees to the head and punches that forced a stop to the action just 27 seconds into the fight. Aoki, who didn’t bother putting on weight for the match, hopefully learned that he’s better off at lightweight.
Elsewhere in the welterweight GP, Andre Galvao looked impressive yet again, taking out UFC/WEC vet John Alessio by armbar at 7:34 of the first round; the powerful jiu-jitsu ace increases his record to 3-0, with all wins by armbar. Jason High was able to bounce back to the W column with a quick choke-out of Yuya Shirai, while Marius Zaromskis edged out Seichi Ikemoto by decision after a 15-minute slugfest.
In the non-tournament bouts, Jeff Monson won for the third time in three weeks (!), using his significant grappling advantage over Sergei Kharitonov to sink in a north-south choke early in the first round. Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro was also victorious in his return to competition, controlling Katsuhiko Nagata for most of the first round of their match until a series of knee-strikes from Ribeiro opened up a nasty gash on Nagata’s head; doctors immediately went in to check the wound, and decided to stop the fight. And in a minor upset, Riki Fukuda — a late replacement for Dong Sik Yoon — was able to score a very close decision over Murilo Rua after a 15-minute standup battle.
Full results and more videos after the jump…
Welterweight GP Opening Round
Hayato Sakurai def. Shinya Aoki via TKO, 0:27 of round 1
Jason High def. Yuya Shirai via submission (rear-naked choke), 0:59 of round 1
Marius Zaromskis def. Seichi Ikemoto via unanimous decision
Andre Galvao def. John Alessio via submission (armbar), 7:34 of round 1
Daiki Hata def. Hideo Tokoro via unanimous decision [featherweight GP opening-round bout]
Jeff Monson def. Sergei Kharitonov via submission (north-south choke), 1:42 of round 1
Riki Fukuda def. Murilo "Ninja" Rua via unanimous decision
Vitor Ribeiro def. Katsuhiko Nagata via TKO (cut stoppage), 7:58 of round 1
Andrews Nakahara def. Shungo Oyama via TKO, 2:00 of round 1
Katsutori Shibata def. Ikuhisa Minowa via unanimous decision
(Jeff Monson vs. Sergei Kharitonov)
(Andre Galvao vs. John Alessio)
(Vitor Ribeiro vs. Katsuhiko Nagata)