5 Apr 2009 07:45:05 AM
(Hayato Sakurai vs. Shinya Aoki. Listen for the Japanese version of Frank Trigg calling the action at the 1:20-1:27 mark of the video.)
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.
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