Last night, HDNet aired their footage from DREAM’s disaster benefit show, which took place last weekend. Most of you already know what to expect, as results were posted immediately after the event took place, but the fights are worth a quick look. During Aoki vs Clementi Frank Trigg generously guestimated that a half dozen fighters were mentioned as possible opponents for Shinya Aoki. To be fair, that’s about when we stopped paying attention to rumored opponents for Aoki as well. Unfortunately, we don’t have any videos from the bantamweight tournament semifinal matchups. If we find some we’ll get them up. Videos are after the jump.
Also supporting the Japan Bantamweight Tournament at DREAM.17 will be a featherweight meeting between PRIDE Bushido/DREAM mainstays Joachim Hansen and Mitsuhiro Ishida. Hansen’s last DREAM appearance was a first-round submission of Hideo Tokoro last September, while Ishida is riding back-to-back decision victories over Daiki Hata and “Wicky” Akiyo Nishiura. Speaking of Wicky, he’s also been booked for a DREAM.17 date against 15-year MMA veteran Caol Uno, who has gone winless in his last five fights.
Of course, Uno has previously suffered losses to Aoki and Hansen, while Aoki and Hansen have fought each other three times. Basically, everybody mentioned in this article shares germs.
(Alistair engages in a moment of reflection with his life-partner, Hilda. That’s the name of his sledgehammer. What, you didn’t think I was talking about the dumpy broad on the right, did you?)
Contradicting earlier reports, Alistair Overeem will probably not face Ricco Rodriguez at DREAM.15 next Saturday. Said Overeem’s trainer Martin De Jong: "If he’s going to fight, he’s probably not going to fight Ricco Rodriguez…We didn’t receive any contract. [DREAM] proposed Ricco Rodroguez, but they didn’t send a contract, and definitely we did not sign it." De Jong added that Overeem has no problem fighting Rodriguez, but they may skip DREAM.15 due to other issues with the promotion that he wouldn’t discuss.
“I did not grease in the fight. The athletic commission was with me the whole time. I didn’t bring any grease with me. I didn’t think there was much grappling in the fight anyway…. It’s kind of funny, but kind of weak. I beat him good and there’s no way I greased.”
While cruising MMAMoneyline earlier today, I was rather surprised to see Gilbert Melendez as a solid favorite to beat Mitsuhiro Ishida in their Strikeforce interim lightweight title fight on Saturday. After all, Ishida defeated Melendez by decision at Yarennoka! less than two years ago. It was a very close match — and maybe the decision could have gone the other way if it didn’t take place in Ishida’s home country — but Melendez never really put Ishida in serious danger at any point in the fight (expect for when he slammed Ishida on his head, at the 4:12 mark above), nor could he find many answers for the Endless Fighter’s grappling; Ishida’s aggressive wrestling and nonstop pace was absolutely Guida-esque. On the other hand, they’ll be on Melendez’s home turf for the rematch, and Ishida is coming off a nasty TKO loss to Mizuto Hirota. It’s a pick ‘em, and the winner will take on Josh Thomson…someday. Part one of their first meeting is above, and part two is after the jump.
(Mizuto Hirota vs. Mitsuhiro Ishida; props to MMA Scraps)
Shooto’s "Final Tradition" event, held yesterday in Tokyo, produced an action-packed card that was highlighted by Takanori Gomi snapping his two-fight losing streak. The Fireball Kid looked fit and focused in his non-title-fight against Shooto welterweight champ Takashi Nakakura, getting the better of Nakakura in striking exchanges en route to a knockout victory at the end of the second round. In the night’s main event, Rumina Sato pushed the pace against Shooto lightweight champ Takeshi Inoue with a creative arsenal of striking, rocking Inoue with punches near the end of the first round, but Inoue hung on and managed to stop Sato in a shocking turnaround.
Elsewhere on the card, Mitsuhiro Ishida suffered a surprising loss against Mizuto Hirota, who flattened Ishida with a left hook just 90 seconds into their bout and threw down more punches until he scored the victory; it was arguably an early stoppage, as Ishida was trying to tie up Hirota’s legs and get to his feet when the ref stopped the fight. In the night’s sole women’s feature, undefeated submission buzzsaw Megumi Fujii tore through kickboxer Won Bu Chu in less than a minute.
Full results and videos of the Gomi, Inoue, and Fujii fights (courtesy of NelsaoCB) after the jump…
Yeah, we pretty much slept on this card since mentioning it once like two months ago — that’s our bad, and we’re just going to have to live with it — but Shooto Tradition is having its star-studded "Road to 20th Anniversary Final" show this Sunday in Tokyo, featuring lightweight PRIDE legend Takanori Gomi, unstoppable female fighter Megumi Fujii, and more big names. Unfortunately it won’t televised in the U.S., but we promise to get all the best fight vids up by Monday. Nightmare of Battle passes along the compete lineup, which is after the jump, and quite sick-looking…
You might have noticed that DREAM 7 will only produce six quarterfinalists for the featherweight GP. The other two will be Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, who’s getting a bye to the second round, and the winner of the Daiki Hata/Hideo Tokoro match at DREAM 8 (April 5th, Nagoya, Japan). Unfortunately, Sunday’s event won’t be broadcast on HDNet until next Saturday, but we’ll post the best fights on Sunday and Monday, so stay tuned.
(Mitsuhiro Ishida vs. Justin Wilcox; props to MMA Root)
Last night’s Strikeforce card at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills featured two Japanese stars making successful debuts for the organization, lightweight champ Josh Thomson easily winning his squash match, and impressive performances by Terry Martin, Trevor Prangley, and Luke Stewart. In the night’s main event, #9-ranked middleweight Kazuo Misaki went toe-to-toe with Joe Riggs, with both fighters hesitant to engage in the first round. Riggs dropped Misaki with a straight left in the second, but Misaki hopped back up and connected with a straight right that sent Riggs to the mat. Misaki threw down blows from above until referee Josh Rosenthal declared it a TKO; Riggs immediately complained about the stoppage, despite Rosenthal’s repeated (and unanswered) warnings for Riggs to improve his position.
In a relatively pointless non-title fight, Josh Thomson disposed of Lion’s Den product Ashe Bowman in just over a minute. Aside from a stiff overhand right from Bowman that landed flush on Thomson’s chin, the match belonged to The Punk, who swarmed his opponent with punches to end the match. His victory sets up a future match with Shooto/PRIDE/Dream vet Mitsuhiro Ishida, who won his Strikeforce debut last night with a submission over the far-outmatched Justin Wilcox. See the above video for Ishida’s unbelievable transition from kimura to armbar (2:36-2:42), which apparently didn’t feel very pleasant for Wilcox.
Full results and video of the Thomson/Bowman fight after the jump.