The dearth of awesome fan-made promos does not bode well for DREAM. VidProps: DREAM
DREAM returns for the final round of the Japan Bantamweight Grand Prix on July 16, and there are a few interesting matchups on the card (which is apparently *not* DREAM.17 as we’d been thinking). Even if there weren’t, it’s smack in the middle of the summer MMA doldrums, and there’s not much else going on. Even if there were something else going on, jesus, don’t you assholes care about Japan?
Come on in past the jump and we’ll fill you in on the bouts slated for the event, with a few notes for your enlightenment and/or entertainment. Just call us the love child of the Buddha and Louis CK.
It’s just as well. Frankly “011-44-115″ is harder to remember than “209″ (Pic: Strikeforce.com)
The first major Strikeforce event under the Zuffa/Forza banner delivered a full night of action and first round stoppages, with a little of the obligatory ‘Majority Draw’ bullshit mixed in for good measure. While it was a typical Strikeforce show from top to bottom, the UFC hardly tried to keep a low profile at the event. Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta were both in attendance, the cage floor advertised the upcoming GSP-Shields fight, and talk of cross-promotional bouts peppered the event from the commentator booth to the stupid text polls. Maybe it’s just us, but there are far more important issues to vote on.
After years of watching Nick Diaz win the stand-up battle against “better strikers”, is it now time for us all to admit that he is the better striker? In true Diaz fashion, he did exactly what he said he would do and exactly what the media and fans alike discouraged- stand up with a dangerous striker. Like a successful version of Jorge Gurgel, Diaz has built his mystique and fanbase upon his refusal to utilize his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and his unquenchable thirst to punch dudes in the face. While victorious once again, that doesn’t mean he dominated the fight. Daley’s power was a known commodity headed into this bout, which made the both the risk and the reward to stand and bang with him all the greater for Diaz. The two exchanged heavily throughout the one-round fight, and twice “Semtex” dropped Diaz to the floor in what looked like the beginning of the end for the pride of Stockton.
Of the five betting websites we perused this morning, only one – Bookmaker.com – is offering lines on all four of Strikeforce’s scheduled televised bouts as well as a couple from the undercard. Most electronic bookies are steadfastly avoiding Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine, likely because they don’t want to be complicit in Jardine’s untimely demise. Not Bookmaker though, those brave motherfuckers are posting odds on that fight and somehow still allowing prop bets on the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix. A guy can still get Fab Werdum to win it all at +550 over there, if you’re interested. In order to stay focused on the here and now however, after the jump are the lines for Saturday night’s “Diaz vs. Daley” show courtesy Bookmaker, plus our picks.
Unfortunately, one of the names on the poster — lightweight title contender Tatsuya Kawajiri — might have to drop out of the event, due to the current devastation in Japan. According to an MMAJunkie report, Jorge Masvidal and KJ Noons have been asked to stand by as replacements in case Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki are unable to compete. Masvidal and Noons were originally slated to face each other on the “Diaz vs. Daley” card, which goes down April 9th card in San Diego; now we could be seeing Melendez vs. Masvidal and Noons vs. Lyle Beerbohm. We’ll let you know when things are official.
Give the DREAM bosses some credit, these guys sure know how to build suspense into what otherwise might be a fairly straightforward and pleasing night of MMA fights. As it turned out, there was no surprise run-in from Alistair Overeem and the Japanese promotion with the fly-by-the-seat-of-its pants matchmaking style never found a fight for Ricco Rodriguez. We hope it paid for the flight and the sushi, at least. On the bright side, DREAM finally did manage to convince Gegard Mousasi to put in the 31 seconds of work it took to defeat an overweight Jake O’Brien and Shinya Aoki likewise bounced back from an embarrassing loss in Strikeforce a few months ago to put a quick and typically stoic beating on Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Like “Sweet and Sassy,” Aoki called it an early night, withstanding some heel kicks to the face as he locked up an Achilles lock that secured the tap and appeared to damage his Kawajiri’s leg in just one minute, 53 seconds. A couple of days after possibly declaring his bi-sexuality at the event’s weigh-in (we assume he was being ironical), Aoki ditched his trademark colorful tights for relatively conservative board shorts and rushed from the ring following his win to get some lovin’ from his (possibly female) fiancé.
After the jump, O’Brien vs. Mousasi, where it will take you all of the first 15 seconds to see why the American had a little trouble making weight …
Can Rodriguez use Overeem as a springboard to a career rebirth? No, probably not — but he could impress a lot of people just by giving Overeem a tough fight and not spitting on anybody. In a related story, Ricco is no longer listed for that 7/18 Impact FC fight against Jeff Monson, which is unfortunate because you can bet that Paulo Filho and Ken Shamrock will be dropping out at the last minute…
- 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
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.
(Alvarez vs. Kawajiri: Fight of the Night. Props to MMA-Core.)
Chaos rules when it comes to single-night tournaments, and today’s DREAM.5 show in Osaka was marked by an unexpected twist — lightweight grand prix alternate Joachim Hansen defeated crowd-favorite Shinya Aoki in the finals to become DREAM’s first lightweight champion, following an eye injury suffered by Eddie Alvarez in his semifinal match.
The first semifinal bout was dominated by Aoki, who threw his entire bag of submissions at Caol Uno, threatening Uno repeatedly with chokes, leglocks and armbars. Uno hung in like a champ, but the judges made the obvious choice when the clock ran out, and an exhausted Aoki advanced to the finals.
In the second semifinal, the Philadelphia-based Eddie Alvarez proved that he should be counted among the world’s best lightweights, getting the best of Tatsuya Kawajiri in a thrilling slugfest. Alvarez suffered a cut under his right eye early by Kawajiri’s nasty power punches, but Alvarez dropped Kawajiri with his own. After time was called for Alvarez’s eye to be checked out, the fight-restarted with Kawajiri taking control again, punching Alvarez to the mat and swarming him from the top. Alvarez eventually got to his feet, taking heavy damage in return. But Alvarez battled back, throwing his fists until Kawajiri succumbed. Unfortunately, it was later announced that Alvarez wouldn’t be able to continue to the finals because his eye was swollen shut.
The tournament’s alternate bout saw Joachim Hansen withstand an early assault by Indian fighter Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill; Hellboy quickly regained control and put away his outmatched opponent via armbar at the 2:33 mark. Hansen, who had lost to Alvarez at the lightweight GP quarterfinals in May, would now be replacing him in the finals.
(Jason Miller keeps ‘em laughing against Katsuyori Shibata.)
DREAM.3 went down today in Saitama, Japan, with two upsets pulled off in the lightweight grand prix, while Nick Diaz, Jason Miller, and Melvin Manhoef all scored first-round TKOs. The night’s biggest surprise was the defeat of top-ten lightweight Mitsuhiro Ishida at the hands of Caol Uno — who had received a bye into the GP’s quarterfinals — by way of rear-naked choke early in the second round. Eddie Alvarez also took an unexpected win, grinding down Joachim Hansen over 15 minutes en route to a unanimous decision. The card’s other marquee names didn’t disappoint, with K-1 vet Melvin Manhoef demolishing Dae Won Kim, and Nick Diaz getting the better of Katsuya Inoue in a slugfest. But Jason Miller did his best to steal the show, entering the ring in Zubaz-esque tights for his fight against the completely outmatched Katsuyori Shibata, and repeatedly posing for the camera. Full results are below, and videos are after the jump.
Lightweight GP Quarterfinals
Caol Uno def. Mitsuhiro Ishida via rear-naked choke, 1:39 of round 2
Eddie Alvarez def. Joachim Hansen via unanimous decision
Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Luiz “Buscape” Firmino via unanimous decision
Nick Diaz def. Katsuya Inoue via TKO (towel thrown), 6:47 of round 1
Middleweight GP Round 1
Jason Miller def. Katsuyori Shibata via TKO, 6:07 of round 1
Middleweight GP Reserve Fight
Melvin Manhoef def. Kim Dae Won via TKO, 4:08 of round 1
Daisuke Nakamura def. Jung Bukyung, 1:15 of round 2
Takeshi Yamazaki def. Shoji Maruyama via unanimous decision