by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com, pics by FEG
Dream held its fourth show at the Yokohama Arena, highlighted by the second round of the Dream Middleweight Grand Prix.
Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba met Dutch terror Melvin Manhoef in the main event of Dream 4 with the last spot in the semi-finals of the Dream Middleweight Grand Prix on the line. Both fighters started tentatively, not wanting to make the first mistake and give their opponent the advantage. Just as Manhoef pushed Sakuraba against the ropes, he threw a high kick that partially landed and swarmed in for the kill, tagging him with punches and knees. At several instances it seemed that fight should have been stopped, as Sakuraba was being overwhelmed with strikes and not defending at all. After a series of hammer fists, the referee finally stepped in and stopped the fight at 1:50 of the opening round, Manhoef moving on to the semi-final round of the tournament.
In the most anticipated quarterfinal of the Dream Middleweight Grand Prix, ground master Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza took on eccentric Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Jason “Mayhem” Miller. From the onset, Jacare established his ground dominance by taking Miller down and quickly going to work. Moving from position to position, Jacare had Miller on the defensive, attempting an array of submissions including chokes and leg locks. Miller to his credit escaped each submission and reversed position, but was never able to get any significant offense going.
The second round was slower as Jacare looked to take the fight to the ground, but Miller was able to defend well against that takedown. Keeping it on the feet, Miller started to tag a tiring Jacare, but never landed that telling blow to sway the fight in his favor. As the fight was ending, they went to the ground with Jacare working for a choke until the fight ended. Although he escaped everything Jacare threw at him, Miller was unable to mount any significant offense and the judges took notice, awarding Jacare a unanimous decision.
Bad luck reared its head again for Zelg Galesic and Taiei Kin. In their first encounter, Galesic opened a gash on Kin’s eyelid that forced a stoppage; once again an early stoppage marred this fight. After clinching along the ropes, the fighters were restarted with both fighters trading quick blows. Galesic grabbed hold of Kin and went for a judo throw, but Kin landed on his elbow, which bent backwards and was surely dislocated, forcing a stoppage at 1:05 of the opening round.
Gegard Mousasi advanced to the semi-final round of the Dream Middleweight Grand Prix, dominating Korean judoka Dong Sik Yoon. Mousasi used crisp low kicks and knees throughout the opening round to prevent Yoon from taking him to the ground, leaving Yoon vulnerable on the feet. Mousasi dropped Yoon with a knee midway through the round, but the Korean remained poised and continued on. Towards the end of the round, Mousasi went to the ground and it almost cost him the fight as Yoon reversed him and nearly locked on an armbar.
In the second round, Yoon quickly went to the ground again, but Mousasi was able to get his back and never let go for the rest of the round, peppering Yoon with punches until the fight ended. After dominating the majority of the fight, Mousasi was awarded the unanimous decision.
The semi-finals of the middleweight tournament are now comprised of Manhoef, Jacare, Galesic, and Mousasi.
During intermission, the semi-final match-ups for the Dream Lightweight Grand Prix were determined by a random lottery. Having won his bout earlier in the night, Shinya Aoki drew first and ended up in the second bracket, followed by Tatsuya Kawajiri who drew into the first bracket. The crowd waited in suspense as Caol Uno drew and ended up in the second bracket with Aoki, receiving a loud applause from the crowd. That left Eddie Alvarez, who will face Tatsuya Kawajiri in the first semi-final and Shinya Aoki taking on Caol Uno in the second semi-final.
In a back and forth featherweight battle, Hideo Tokoro used a mix of strikes and submission attempts to win a decision over Californian Darren Uyenoyama. After a feeling out process, Tokoro landed a crushing knee that dropped Uyenoyama to the mat. Tokoro charged in, but Uyenoyama stayed composed as Tokoro started to transition from submission to submission, keeping Uyenoyama on the defensive. Ending up on top, Uyenoyama started to work over Tokoro with punches, landing a solid punch that stunned Tokoro. Maintaining his composure, Tokoro got back to his feet, dropping Uyenoyama with a knee to the body, finishing out the round on top of his downed foe.
The second round was a little slower than the first as the fighters traded takedowns and positions with neither gaining an advantage over the other. At the end of the fight, Tokoro had done more damage in the judges’ eyes, earning the decision.
Stepping in at the last minute, Ralek Gracie survived some early trouble to submit Russian knockout specialist Alavutdin Gadzhiev. Gadzhiev looked good in the early stages, stuffing Gracie’s takedown attempts and landing punches, but not being able to land that decisive knockout blow. Gracie clinched and finally took the fight to the ground, quickly mounting Gadzhiev. After some jostling on the ground, Gracie spun around and locked on an armbar, forcing the Russian fighter to tap at 3:02 of the first round.
Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem made short work of Korean Ssireum champion Tae Hyun Lee. Overeem landed a punishing left hook, following it up with a overhand right and a knee for good measure that left Lee out cold on the mat only 36 seconds into the bout. After the fight, Overeem let it be known that he had arrived in Dream and wanted to fight Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
Shinya Aoki advanced to the semi-finals of the Dream Lightweight Grand Prix, submitting 2000 Olympic silver medalist Katsuhiko Nagata. After a brief feeling out process, Aoki took the fight to the ground, but Nagata quickly got back to his feet before being taken down once again. Wasting no time, Aoki quickly mounted Nagata, staying patient and picking his shots. Just as the fight passed the halfway mark, Aoki smoothly locked on a gogoplata from the top, forcing Nagata to tap at 5:12 of the opening round.
-Melvin Manhoef def. Kazushi Sakuraba by TKO (Strikes) at 1:50, R1
-Ronaldo Souza def. Jason Miller by Unanimous Decision, R2
-Zelg Galesic def. Taei Kin by TKO (Injury) at 1:05, R1
-Gegard Mousasi def. Dong Sik Yoon by Unanimous Decision, R2
-Hideo Tokoro def. Darren Uyenoyama by Unanimous Decision, R2
-Ralek Gracie def. Alavutdin Gadzhiev by Submission (Armbar) at 3:02, R1
-Alistair Overeem def. Tae Hyun Lee by KO at 0:36, R1
-Shinya Aoki def. Katsuhiko Nagata by Submission (Gogoplata) at 5:12, R1