Aoki vs. McCullough. Enjoy it while it’s still available. Props: FightVieoMMA.com
Earlier this morning, DREAM 17 went down in Saitama, Japan. For those of you who have been reading this website for a while now, you know the drill. For those of you who are new here, first off, welcome. Second, DREAM publishes the results of their fights immediately after they happen, but the fights aren’t typically aired on HDNet until a later date. So if you feel like you’ve already read the results from somewhere or already saw the fights, well, you probably have. However, if you were really drunk last night and want to refresh your memory on what you saw (not that we condone that sort of thing), or are too disinterested in DREAM to have stayed in to watch it, then come inside where we have full results waiting after the jump.
As Japanese MMA seems to slowly dwindle away from the glory days of the sport, hardcore fans like myself shed a tear for our great loss. It wasn’t just knowing those obscure 135-pounders whose names had syllables our gaijin tongues could barely pronounce, or the fact that it was the land where stomping and soccer-kicking a human being in the face was perfected into a sweet science. More than that, it was the stars that were produced that we came to know and love, whether they were fighting someone on their level or tearing open a tomato can — and that is where this list begins.
Blatant mismatches aside, JMMA gave us so many beautiful fights with men like Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko “Crocop” Filipovic (go tell your favorite TUF noob that his last name is not Crocop and relish in their confusion), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Ikuhisa Minowa and Kazushi Sakuraba. For every epic bout that went into the history books for their unbelievable drama, we had other fights that we remember for less than pleasant reasons. Yes, the freak show fights! What would a JMMA event be without a match worthy of a 1930′s carnival? The big question here was how do I rank something that is mediocre to begin with? Well, I’m as clueless as you are, so let’s get started on this journey down “Freak Show Lane,” across the street from “What Were They Thinking? Boulevard”…
10. Daiju Takase vs. Emmanuel Yarbrough
Pride 3, 6/24/98
This was the first freak show fight in Pride history, and earns a place on this list for that merit alone. It pit 169 lb. Daiju Takase against 600 lb. Emmanuel Yarbrough, who most fans will recall was clobbered into submission by Keith Hackney and his broken hand at UFC 3 (Yarbrough has no luck in any event associated with the number three). The sumo plodded around the ring tossing his hamhock arms at Takase, while the smaller Japanese fighter fled and slowly wore down Yarbrough.
Takase makes the mistake of going for a lazy single leg on Yarbrough, which results in the large fighter flopping onto his belly and absorbing Takase into his flesh. As Stephen Quadros lamented, “This is horrible! This is like “Jaws!” Eventually, Takase slid out from the greasy underside of Manny, and in an ending eerily similiar to his UFC 3 fight, Takase went to town with clubbing hands to his exhausted opponent’s face, leading to a tapout in the middle of the second round.
Full results from today’s New Year’s Eve event in Saitama, Japan, are after the jump, along with a few must-see videos courtesy of ZP420MMA. Note: Bob Sapp apparently backed out of his IGF slap-fight-rules bout with Shinichi Suzukawa at the last minute.
(Forget money and fame – Phil was fighting back when the prize was a weird trophy and a semi-attractive Japanese chick. / Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)
When we learned that the match between UFC veteran Phil Baroni and 23-year-old prospect Brad Tavares would indeed be aired before the UFC 125 pay-per-view broadcast this Saturday, it reminded me of our last chat with the New York Bad Ass on episode 11.1 of the Bum Rush Radio Show. Baroni has reached that point in his career where youngsters are trying to make their names off of him, and he has to beat them if he wants his own name to retain its value. I asked Phil if he felt like the last in a bygone generation of fighters, considering that so many of his rivals are no longer competing. And I thought his response was worth sharing again…
Usually when a fighter or his management put out a highlight reel or a mini-documentary that they have the final say in producing, the final product is equal parts bias, hype and bullshit. There are exceptions of course, but nine times out of ten the best videos come from passionate fans who have no vested interest in the fighter, besides being entertained by them.
The Minowaman video above is no exception.
If you aren’t familiar with the story of "The Giant Killer," Ikuhisa Minowa is a Japanese fighter who began his career with a dismal record of one win in his first ten fights before turning things around and becoming one of Asia’s biggest MMA stars.
(We should all be that fired up, at least once in our lives. Props: UFC.com)
When BJ Penn knocked out Matt Hughes at UFC 123, one of the greatest rivalries in MMA history finally got its conclusion. And while not every two-fight series needs an immediate tie-breaker — the Internet has already informed Dana White what we think of Lesnar vs. Mir III — there’s something incredibly dramatic and satisfying about a good rubber-match. Off the top of our heads, here’s a few others we’d like to see…
Jason "Mayhem" Miller vs. Tim Kennedy
History: Kennedy def. Miller via decision @ Extreme Challenge 50 (2/23/03), Miller def. Kennedy via decision @ HDNet Fights: Reckless Abandon (12/15/07) Why it needs to happen again: Look, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for Jason Miller to agree to a catchweight fight with Nick Diaz under 185 pounds. Mayhem hasn’t even fought for Strikeforce since he squashed Tim Stout in April, and Kennedy is still without an opponent himself after dropping a decision to Jacare Souza in August — and he’s already mentioned that he wants another go-round with Mayhem. Strikeforce has two talented, unattached middleweights at their disposal with a storyline already in place. It doesn’t take rocket appliances to figure this out, guys.
During his long and storied career, Ikuhisa "Minowaman" Minowa has made his reputation off fighting much larger opponents. The reigning Super Hulk champ‘s list of victims includes Eric "Butterbean" Esch (400+ pounds), Giant Silva (385 pounds), Bob Sapp (340 pounds), Imani Lee (330 pounds), Hong Man Choi (320 pounds) and Jimmy Ambriz (285 pounds). On October 24th at Deep 50 Impact, Minowa was able to add another pudgy pelt to his collection — Chang Hee Kim, a South Korean 300-pounder who came into the fight with an 0-1 record. Would Minowa be able to overcome his opponent’s tremendous size and utter lack of skill, as he has so many times in the past?
Short answer: Yep. Kim shows a hint of capability in the beginning, defending a takedown attempt and sneaking in a knee from clinch. But once Minowa flips that big body over — very impressively, we might add — it’s pretty much a wrap. Minowa goes from mount, to side-control, to a slick little armbar-variation that he sets up with a kind of leg-crucifix. Proving once again, Minowaman ain’t gonna lose to no guy with titties.
(A motivated Sakuraba is a dangerous Sakuraba. That doesn’t apply here, obviously, but I’m just saying. Check out more DREAM.14 weigh-in photos at dreamofficial.com.)
We haven’t given this event much play because, let’s face it, none of these fights really amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Nick Diaz is probably going to chew up Hayato Sakurai, who has been stopped in his last two outings. Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Ralek Gracie is a sideshow, even if it’s one with a historic hook. (Minowaman vs. random fat-guy Imani Lee is just a sideshow, period.) Kid Yamamoto is facing a middling prospect, while Joachim Hansen — who’s riding his own two-fight losing streak — will look for his first win at featherweight. The only real questions are: 1) How good will Diaz look? and 2) Will Saku add another beating to his highlight reel? Still, if you happen to have HDNet and DVR service (or insomnia), it’s better than nothing. Weigh-in results are below. Come back tomorrow for complete results and selected fight videos.
8. WW: Nick Diaz 76.0kg vs. Hayato "Mach" Sakurai 76.5kg 7. 88kg Catchweight: Kazushi Sakuraba 86.5kg vs. Ralek Gracie 87.4kg 6. FW: Hiroyuki Takaya 65.0kg vs. Joachim Hansen 65.0kg 5. FW: Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto 59.8kg vs. Federico "Kiko" Lopez 62.0 kg* (Lopez came in way over the fight’s 60kg limit; he will be given time to lose the weight this afternoon.) 4. FW: Hideo Tokoro 63.0kg vs. Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura 62.8kg 3. FW: Kazuyuki Miyata 64.2kg vs. Takafumi Otsuka 64.4kg 2. FW: Yoshiro Maeda 60.7kg vs. Kenji Osawa 61.0kg 1. Openweight: Minowaman 88kg vs. Imani Lee 150kg
After the jump: Diaz explains why he’s the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
- Masato def. Andy Souwer via unanimous decision (K-1 MAX bout)
- Hidehiko Yoshida def. Satoshi Ishii via unanimous decision – Gegard Mousasi def. Gary Goodridge via TKO, round 1 DREAM vs. SRC – Shinya Aoki def. Mizuto Hirota via injury stoppage (Aoki’s armlock snaps Hirota’s arm), round 1 (Channeling Nick Diaz and BJ Penn, Aoki followed up the gruesome submission by flipping Hirota the Tokyo Heybuddy, then telling the crowd to visit ShinyaAoki.com, which doesn’t even exist.What an asshole!) – Alistair Overeem def. Kazuyuki Fujita via KO (knee), round 1 – Masanori Kanehara def. Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto via unanimous decision – Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Kazunori Yokota via unanimous decision – Hideo Tokoro def. Jong Man Kim via unanimous decision – Melvin Manhoef def. Kazuo Misaki via TKO, round 1 (this fight, along with Minowa/Sokoudjou were arguably early stoppages) – Akihiro Gono def. Hayato Sakurai via submission (armbar), round 2 – Michihiro Omigawa def. Hiroyuki Takaya via TKO, round 1 – Hiroshi Izumi def. Katsuyori Shibata via unanimous decision Final score: DREAM (5), Sengoku (4)
– Ray Sefo def. Yosuke Nishijima via unanimous decision (K-1 bout)
DREAM Super Hulk Final – Ikuhisa Minowa def. Rameau Sokoudjou via TKO, round 3