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Tag: Shinya Aoki

Videos: DREAM.2 Highlights

We’ll kick things off with Kiyoshi Tamura’s quick demolition of Masakatsu Funaki, which turned out to be the night’s only stoppage-by-strikes (action starts at the 1:17 mark). More vids after the jump; for a recap of the event, click here.

UPDATE: All the broken vids have been replaced…hopefully this batch will last a bit longer.


Aoki Beats JZ in DREAM.2 Rematch; Kang + Minowaman Bounced Out of Middleweight GP

(Shinya Aoki, man of steel.)

While us Westerners were hitting the snooze button over and over again this morning, DREAM‘s second event was going down in Japan’s Saitama Super Arena. In a night full of surprises, the biggest one was how easily Shinya Aoki handled Gesias Calvancante. The “Master of Jumping Locks” played it true to his nickname, spending a large chunk of the first round hanging off of Calvancante’s back and working for a choke, and nailing a flying guard-pull in the second round. JZ landed shots where he could, but Aoki’s ground control and multiple submission attempts convinced the judges to give him the match unanimously. With the win, Aoki advances to the second round of DREAM’s lightweight tournament, which goes down May 11th. Now that he’s made it through Calvancante, he’s a strong favorite to go all the way.

The rest of DREAM.2 was devoted to the first round of their middleweight grand prix. Kazushi Sakuraba’s match with Kyokushin karate practitioner Andrews Nakahara (0-0 in MMA competition before the fight) was as lopsided as expected, with Sak schooling Nakahara on the ground en route to a neck crank submission. But there were two major upsets on the card, as crowd favorites Ikuhisa “Minowaman” Minowa and Denis Kang were eliminated from the GP. Minowa put in a lethargic performance against Taiei Kin — who owned a 2-2 record coming into the tournament — and was mostly unsuccessful in his repeated takedown attempts, absorbing a ton of leg kicks and knees to the head in the process. During the times when Minowa did have Kin on the ground, he failed to inflict any damage, and was eventually handed a loss by the judges.

Denis Kang’s submission loss to Gegard Mousasi was just as disappointing. After an energetic striking exchange to open the match, Kang took Mousasi to the ground and worked for a kimura while dodging Mousasi’s rabbit-punches and knees to the head on the ground (both of which seemed to be quite legal at this event, for some reason). But Kang was eventually kicked off, and when he went in to throw a punch at the downed Mousasi he literally fell into a triangle choke; it was the kind of a loss that only an amateur would experience, and it would be hard to argue for Kang as a top-ten middleweight at this point.

Full results are after the jump. Come back later for videos from the event, and if you get HDNet, set your DVRs now: DREAM.2 will be broadcast this Saturday, May 3rd, at 10:30 p.m. ET.


JZ/Aoki to Rematch at DREAM.2

(Photo courtesy of MMAWeekly.)

DREAM announced today that Gesias “JZ” Calvancante and Shinya Aoki will face each other again at DREAM.2 (April 29th; Saitama, Japan), to decide which fighter will proceed to the second round of its all-star lightweight grand prix. Calvancante and Aoki’s first match, at last month’s DREAM.1, ended in a no-contest after Calvancante landed a series of illegal elbow strikes to the back of Aoki’s neck, and Aoki wasn’t able to continue fighting; Calvancante had been dominating the action up to that point, and many fans speculated that Aoki overplayed his injury in order to escape the fight and avoid a loss.

DREAM.2 will also feature the opening round of a middleweight grand prix that will feature bouts between Denis Kang and Gegard Mousasi, Kiyoshi Tamura and Masakatsu Funaki, and (possibly) Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Andrews Nakahara; Yoshihiro Akiyama and Ikuhisa Minowa are also expected to participate. The winner of the JZ/Aoki battle will have to compete again just two weeks later at DREAM.3 (May 11th; Saitama, Japan) against Katsuhiko Nagata, who defeated Artur Oumakhanov by unanimous decision in the lightweight tourney’s first round. The rest of the lightweight GP’s second-round matchups look like this:

Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Luis “Buscape” Firmino (note: Kawajiri and Firmino previously met at PRIDE Bushido 8 in July 2005, where Kawajiri won by unanimous decision.)

Mitsuhiro Ishida vs. Caol Uno (note: Uno, a UFC/K-1 Hero’s vet, didn’t compete in the lightweight GP’s first round, and is getting an automatic bye into the second.)

Joachim Hansen vs. Eddie Alvarez (note: Joachim Hansen is a freakin’ beast.)


Friday List: Kings Without Crowns

The eight greatest MMA fighters who have never won a championship or major tournament…

8. Gilbert Yvel (32-12-1)

There are two reasons “The Hurricane” hasn’t risen to the lofty heights of champion: his lackluster ground game and his ridiculous temper. Yvel has undeniable knockout power, particularly in his kicks and flying knees, and 28 of his 32 wins have come via KO/TKO. On the other hand, a quarter of his 12 losses came from well-deserved DQ’s. If he could have gotten out of his own way, this guy could have been on top of the world.

7. Yushin Okami (22-4)

Okami had a good shot to win Rumble on the Rock’s 175-pound tourney in 2006. As you’ll recall, he was staggered by an illegal kick from Anderson Silva in the first round, picking up a DQ win that allowed him to continue on to fight Jake Shields. But Shields beat Thunder in a decision (and ended up winning the whole thing), and Okami’s title hope disappeared. Now in the UFC, Okami is a top contender for the middleweight title — but good luck getting past the division’s undisputed ruler.

6. Jeremy “Gumby” Horn (79-17-5)

Although he has logged an impressive record in over 100 pro fights — beating guys like Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Josh Burkman, Dean Lister, “The Hurricane,” David Loiseau, and Vernon White — “Gumby” has never won the big one. He had two chances to pick up a title (UFC 17 vs. Frank Shamrock for the middleweight crown and UFC 54 in a rematch with Liddell for the light heavy belt), but was stopped both times.


DREAM 1 Fight Videos: The Short Ones

From Saturday…

Mirko Cro Cop steamrolls Tatsuya Mizuno in 56 seconds.

The night’s freak-show feature: “Minowaman” taps out doughy Korean ex-baseball player Lee Kwan via kneebar.


JZ+Aoki Headline DREAM 1 Fight Lineup

(Sorry bro, rock beats finger.)

Nightmare of Battle has the official fight order for Saturday’s highly-anticipated DREAM show. Notably, the fight between Gesias Calvancante and Shinya Aoki will headline the event, Cro Cop’s match with Tatsuya Mizuno will serve as a break between the first half of the lightweight tournament bouts and the second, and the opener will be Ikuhisa Minowa in an “open-weight” fight against a freak to be named tomorrow. Cutting it kind of close, huh? Anyway, the lineup goes like this:

Lightweight Tournament 1st Round (second group)
10. J.Z. Calvan vs. Shinya Aoki
9. Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Black Mamba (Kultar Gill)
8. Andre Dida vs. Eddie Alvarez

Heavyweight Feature
7. Mirko CroCop vs. Tatsuya Mizuno

Lightweight Tournament 1st Round (first group)
6. Mitsuhiro Ishida vs. Jung Bu Kyung
5. Katsuhiko Nagata vs. Artur Umakhanov
4. Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Luis Buscape
3. Kotetsu Boku vs. Joachim Hansen

Welterweight Feature
2. Hayato Sakurai vs. Hidetaka Monma (correction: This fight isn’t part of the lightweight tournament, as we said yesterday. Props to reader “robnashville” for being smarter than us.)

Open Weight Fight
1. Minowaman vs. TBA

Christ, I’d give my left nipple to be at this show. Joachim Hansen could be a dark horse to win it all, though most likely the eventual winner will be the guy who survives Saturday’s main event. Calvancante’s utter domination of his past opponents make him the obvious front-runner, and he’s been working with Eddie Bravo to deal with Aoki’s rubber guard and straightjacket-like grappling. There are some interesting betting lines here, which list Ishida/Kyung-Jung as the biggest first-round mismatch (-1000/+550), Kawajiri as the favorite to win the entire tournament, and Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill as a laughable +3800 under-underdog to go all the way. Holler at a brotha’s comments section if you have any big predictions for the show…


DREAM Adds Fighters To Debut Event

(Cro Cop still without an opponent for DREAM 1.)

The new Japanese DREAM organization from FEG and DSE has announced – via press conference and their website – the addition of three more fights to their debut event, DREAM 1, on March 15th. The show will of course go down in Japan.

Gesias “JZ” Calvancante vs. Shinya Aoki has already been announced for DREAM’s 16-man lightweight tourney, and now they have added Tatsuya Kawajiri against Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill, Joachim Hansen versus Kotetsu Boku, and Kazuyuki Miyata facing Luiz Firmino. Andre Amade, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Caol Uno, Gilbert Melendez, Artur Oumakhanov, and Jung Bu-Kyung, are all expected to fight in the tournament as well but opponents have not been named.

Aside from the Lightweight Grand Prix, Cro Cop may also fight at the event. No opponent has been named, although it’s being reported that Ray Sefo has turned down the fight – via the Xtreme Couture blog. The fighter didn’t feel he had enough time to prepare since the match was just offered to him last week. He does hope to fight Cro Cop, maybe even this summer. So a Cro Cop fight is still up in the air for March 15th.


Yushin Okami: Americans Are Pussies

(Okami: The new Ivan Drago)

Suki MMA has translated Yushin Okami’s latest blog post, in which the Japanese UFC middleweight contender gives his thoughts on UFC 81:

Minotauro was terrific. That sweep was artistic. I was amazed to see his mental strength and his submission techniques. I found a lot to learn from his fight. I was also surprised to see how quick Sylvia gave up and tapped out though. It seems the American style.

Oh, you bastard. I can only hope that the collective chants of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” fill Evan Tanner with enough patriotic fury to wipe the mat with Okami next month. First of all, giving up is not the American style. I think Okami was forgetting something when he wrote this blog post. Namely:


Flag-faced eagle speaks the truth! As Tom Petty has said many times before, you could stand us up at the gates of hell, but we, won’t back down. And by the way, using Tim Sylvia to represent the fighting spirit of our entire nation? Not cool.

Unrelated, but also notable on Suki’s blog: Shinya Aoki recently met with his tights designer, meaning that it won’t be long until his next fight. Yatta!


Fight of the Day: Shinya Aoki vs. Joachim Hansen

We mentioned this one yesterday. Here’s Aoki’s dismantling of Hansen at PRIDE Shockwave 2006 (12/31/06), and though Aoki’s rainbow stretch-pants are ridiculous, his skills are no joke. Check out his Penn-like flexibility as he works for the ultra-rare gogoplata submission; in our opinion, there’s only six welterweights in the world who could deal with him…


“JZ” Calvancante and Shinya Aoki Will Throw Down at K-1 in March

(Shinya Aoki wraps up Akira Kikuchi during a Shooto championship bout in February 2007.)

Gesias “JZ” Calvancante and Shinya Aoki — who we have ranked as the #2 lightweight and #7 welterweight in the world, respectively — were originally scheduled to face each other at the Yarennoka! card in Japan on New Year’s Eve, but Calvancante had to pull out of the match due to a knee injury sustained during training. Luckily, Calvancante has recovered and the fight has been rescheduled to a K-1 event in March.

Calvancante, a Brazilian-born American Top Team member, has won the K-1 HERO’S Lightweight Grand Prix championship for the last two years, knocking off fighters like Rani Yahya, Caol Uno, and Vitor Ribeiro in the process. His record is 14-1-1, with his only loss coming at the hands of Joachim Hansen in 2004, and his draw coming from a 2005 match with current IFL lightweight champ Ryan Schultz. Shinya Aoki — one of the only fighters in the world whose ground skills may surpass B.J. Penn’s — is Shooto’s current middleweight (167 lbs.) champion. The Japanese fighter’s 12-2 record includes wins over Joachim Hansen, Clay French and Akira Kikuchi (twice).

It’s not clear yet which weight class the match will be fought at, or if this will be an open-weight bout — we’ll update you when we know more.