Posted by angryfightfan on May 24, 2009
The stacked MMA week finishes Tuesday as the next installment of DREAM takes place and minus the last New Years Eve show this has to be the best of all DREAM shows so far. There’s a mixture of classic fights in the making, significant fights and just pure Japanese MMA freakshows on display which should make this event very entertaining. In a nutshell the card consists of the quarter finals of the Featherweight Grand Prix, a Lightweight Super Fight, a Middleweight title fight and four freakshow matches that are going to be watched for no other reason then curiosity.
Super Hulk Tournament Round one
The Super Hulk Tournament was announced a few weeks back and people are still shaking their heads at some of the matchups. Most notably is the matchup between baseball (yes, baseball) superstar Jose Canseco and the world’s largest professional fighter Hong Man Choi. Canseco has no fighting background and was knocked out in a celebrity boxing match by a man much smaller then him. This is the only fight on the card I’m not looking forward to as Canseco could be seriously hurt which would have major mainstream implications for the sport.
Bob Sapp returns to Japan to take on the Japanese journeyman Ikuhisa ‘The Punk’ Minowa who is now referred to as Minowaman. Sapp has about a 200lb weight advantage over the 190lb Minowa, but his lack of ground game could get him in a lot of trouble against the leg lock specialist. Minowa has submitted big men before, most notably Kimo Leopoldo in a PRIDE Bushido event a few years ago. I like Sapp in this fight, probably by quick and brutal knockout. In the same league as this bout is the one between gigantic journeyman Jan Nortje and Light Heavyweight fringe contender Sokoudjou. Sokoudjou needs this win or his career will basically be over. Nortje is most known for his knockout win over Bob Sapp at a Strikeforce event last year, but that win was one of only two in his MMA career. Sokoudjou will likely win this fight quickly by submission.
The interesting (in terms of skill vs skill) fight in this tournament and the one that will likely produce the eventual winner is the Gegard Mousasi vs Mar Hunt fight. Mousasi is last years DREAM Grand Prix winner in the Middleweight division after memorable upset wins over Denis Kang, Melvin Manhoef and Ronaldo Jacare. Hunt is a former K-1 World Grand Prix champion who has been fighting in MMA of late although with little recent success as he suffered an 18 second knockout loss to Melvin Manhoef at New Years Eve last year. Hunt on his game though will be a very stern test for Mousasi, especially considering the 90lb odd weight advantage he has. I’m picking Mousasi, his grappling should help him win a clear unanimous decision.
Featherweight Grand Prix Quarter Finals
Some very interesting fights in the 2nd round of this tournament. The return of Kid Yamamoto against one fight veteran Joe Warren being the exception. While I didn’t give Warren a chance against Beebe, I’m going to risk making the same mistake twice as Yamamoto is simply too good for a one fight veteran, Kid should win this fight quickly. The other fight I think will be one sided is the one between Yoshiro Maeda and Hiroyuki Takaya. Takaya is the weakest of the fighters in the eight and despite any size advantage, Maeda’s skills are exceptional and I can’t see him losing this one outside of the punchers chance that Takaya has.
The Fernandes-Imanari fight should is the most interesting as Fernandes is an exceptional BJJ player while Imanari is one of the stand-out Japanese ground fighters. Hopefully the fight hits the ground and we get an old school classic MMA ground fight and I’m picking Fernandes to win this one because although Imanari has never been submitted, I doubt he’s grappled someone in the elite class of Fernandes. The other fight in the tournament sees American Abel Cullum up against Japanese fighter Hideo Tokoro who despite his loss in the first round advances due to Daiki Hata’s inability to be in shape for this fight. Tokoro is a brave fighter who has fought many men larger then himself in his career which explains his average record. Cullum is a solid grappler who will likely win this fight over the allotted time.
Gesias Calvancante vs Tastuya Kawajiri
This is the fight I’m looking forward to the most on this card. Two of the world’s most exciting and skilled Lightweights battling for what will likely be the next shot at the DREAM Lightweight title after Aoki and Hansen battle again at DREAM.10. JZ Calvan hasn’t fought since the loss to Aoki at DREAM.2 last year. Kawajiri made the semi finals of the tournament last year before losing to Eddie Alvarez in what was fight of the year in my opinion. Calvancante is a very well dangerous fighter in all aspects of the game while Kawajiri throws some of the best punches in MMA and is dangerous against any man he fights because of this. I give the edge in the stand-up to Kawajiri, while JZ has a big advantage if he can get on top although that will be hard as Tatsuya has shown good takedown defence in the past. Both guys are big for the weight, although JZ is probably the bigger guy having fought in higher weight divisions in the past. I’m going with Kawajiri, although I’m not at all confident. I think he’ll win this over 15 exciting minutes in what will likely be a fight of the year candidate if someone doesn’t totally dominate.
Ronaldo Jacare vs Mayhem Miller
(DREAM Middleweight Championship)
The main event sees a rematch of last years DREAM.4 match between Jacare and Mayhem for the vacant Middleweight title that was vacated by Gegard Mousasi earlier this year. Jacare won last years contest in an exciting grappling match by unanimous decision before losing to Mousasi by knockout in the final of the tournament. Mayhem stands a serious chance in this fight if he can keep it standing but I’m picking Jacare to win the rematch, probably over the full distance as their last fight was.