by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
DREAM Lightweight GP
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Luis
Former Shooto welterweight
champion Tatsuya Kawajiri takes on Brazilian Top Team lightweight Luis Buscape.
Kawajiri has a 21-4-2 record and trains out of T-Blood with Mitsuhiro Ishida.
Buscape has a 12-3 record and trains out of the Brazilian Top Team with Murilo
Kawajiri comes off a
decision victory over Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill at DREAM 1, while Buscape
submitted Kazuyuki Miyata at the same show.
This will be a rematch of a
fight that happened several years ago at Pride Bushido 8, where Kawajiri won a
decision. A lot more is riding on this fight than their first encounter, so
expect them to take more risks and be more aggressive this time around.
Kawajiri has been steadily
improving his striking in recent years and coupled with his wrestling, he
should have an edge over Buscape. On the other hand, Buscape is the better
submission fighter of the two and will no doubt look to end the fight in that
Look for Kawajiri to be more
aggressive this time around. He will secure a takedown right off the bat and
begin to pound on Buscape with relentless strikes. Buscape will need to
capitalize if Kawajiri gets a little too careless, throwing submissions from
his back and looking to lock one either for a finish or a possible sweep. The
fight will play out with Kawajiri pounding on Buscape en route to a decision
Kawajiri by decision.
DREAM Lightweight GP
Joachim Hansen vs. Eddie
Former Shooto welterweight
champion Joachim Hansen faces off with former Bodog Fight welterweight champion
Eddie Alvarez. Hansen has a 17-6-1 record and trains out of Hellboy Hansen MMA
in Norway. Alvarez has a 13-1 record and trains out of the Fight Factory with
Hansen scored a dominant
decision victory over Koutetsu Boku at DREAM.1, while Alvarez comes off a
stoppage victory over Andre “Dida” Amade at the same show.
This is going to be the most
competitive and evenly matched bout of the night. Expect it to be all action
and vie for fight of the night honors.
Hansen is the better striker
and submission fighter of the two, but Alvarez is the better wrestler. That
could play a big factor in this one. Another factor will be which fighter will
be better conditioned to go the distance.
Alvarez got tagged several
times by Amade and switched strategies in the fight by taking him down and
pounding out a stoppage. Hansen will be willing to trade, but if Alvarez gets
tagged again, look for him to shoot for a takedown like in his last fight. The
only difference is that Hansen will threaten from his back with submissions,
unlike Amade. This is a tough fight to pick, but the difference will be Alvarez’s
wrestling, which will win him a hotly contested decision.
Prediction: Eddie Alvarez
DREAM Lightweight GP
Mitsuhiro Ishida vs. Caol
Former Shooto Pacific Rim
welterweight champion Mitsuhiro Ishida takes on K-1 Hero’s veteran Caol Uno.
Ishida has a 16-3-1 record and trains out of T-Blood with Tatsuya Kawajiri. Uno
has a 24-10-1 record and trains out of Wajyutsu Keisyukai Tokyo with Yushin
Ishida comes off a decision
victory over Bu Kyung Jung at DREAM.1, while Uno dropped a decision to Andre “Dida”
Amade at K-1 Hero’s 10.
Ishida has been on the cusp
of greatness, but fell short in a loss to Takanori Gomi. He has another chance
by winning the DREAM lightweight grand prix. For Uno, it may be his last chance
at making another run at being a relevant fighter.
The edge in wrestling goes
to Ishida, but Uno is the better submission fighter. Neither is known for his
striking and it could go either way on the feet.
Ishida has stated his
displeasure over Uno skipping the first round of the tournament and being
seeded into the second round, while every other fighter had to fight his way
in. Uno is a former shell of himself and this could be his last hurrah as a
relevant competitor. Look for Ishida to take Uno down and pound out a brutal
Ishida by decision.
DREAM Middleweight GP
Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs.
Former ICON Sport
middleweight champion Jason “Mayhem” Miller takes on pro wrestler Katsuyori
Shibata. Miller has a 20-5 record and trains out of Team Quest with Dan
Henderson. Shibata has a 2-3 record and trains out of Japan with Masakatsu
Miller in his last outing
won a decision victory over Tim Kennedy at HDNet Fights: Reckless Abandon,
while Shibata comes off a stoppage loss to Min Suk Heo at K-1 Hero’s Korea
Although the first round is
already complete, this will be the last match-up of the middleweight grand
prix. Miller never fails to deliver an entertaining fight and this one should
be no different.
Miller has the edge in every
aspect of the fight. He is the better ground fighter and the better striker.
Shibata only has his tenacity behind him in this fight and not much else.
This is an easy fight for
Miller. He is clearly the better fighter and Shibata is on a three-fight losing
streak, which will continue with this fight. Look for Miller to entertain the
crowd and submit Shibata with ease.
Prediction: Jason “Mayhem”
Miller by submission in the first round.
DREAM Middleweight GP
Melvin Manhoef vs. Dae
Dutch striking machine
Melvin Manhoef faces off with Korean wrestler Dae Won Kim. Manhoef has a 20-4-1
record and trains out of Holland. Kim has a 4-3 record and trains out of Korea.
Manhoef earned a stoppage
victory over Pride veteran Yosuke Nishijima at K-1 Dynamite!! 2007, while Kim
won a doctor’s stoppage over Marcelo Garcia at K-1 Hero’s Korea 2007.
Manhoef just fought a K-1
rules kickboxing match, getting knocked out by former K-1 world champion Remy
Bonjansky. It seems, though, that he is injury free entering the fight. Kim has
always looked good in his fights, but hasn’t been able to break through.
Manhoef is by far the better
striker of the two, but Kim has the edge on ground with his wrestling skills.
Neither fighter is too well versed in submissions. If cardio plays into the
fight, expect Kim to have the edge because Manhoef typically tires out early
trying to finish the fight.
This is a classic striker
vs. grappler match-up. Whoever can get off first will win the fight. Kim needs
to be patient and avoid Manhoef’s onslaught of strikes, then score a takedown
to work his game. Although he can very well win, Kim will be unable to avoid
Manhoef’s fierce striking game and will be finished.
Manhoef by TKO in the first round.
Championship Eliminator Bout:
Katsuya Inoue vs. Nick
Former welterweight King of
Pancrase Katsuya Inoue takes on EliteXC veteran Nick Diaz. Inoue has a 16-5-3
record and trains out of Wajyutsu Keisyukai RJW with Kenji Osawa. Diaz has a
15-7 record and trains out of Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with his brother, Nathan
Inoue comes off a draw with
Russian fighter Djamal Kurbanov at Pancrase: Shining 3, while Diaz suffered a
stoppage loss to KJ Noons at EliteXC: Renegade.
Inoue dropped down to
lightweight in his last fight and it didn’t seem to work for him. Now he
returns to welterweight to try and recapture success. Diaz has had a troubled
year, but finally gets a chance to fight after being prevented to do so in his
last scheduled outing in California due to complications with the athletic
Inoue is the better wrestler
and has technical striking, but lacks power in his strikes. Diaz is a wizard in
submissions and, just like Inoue, is technical on the feet, but lacks power in
his strikes. Both fighters have decent cardio, but Diaz had to cut weight on
late notice and might be jet-lagged, affecting his cardio.
At the beginning of the
week, Diaz was told by EliteXC that he would not be allowed to fight because of
the close proximity of this bout to his next fight for EliteXC, but that
decision was later reversed midway through the week. Inoue is a tough fighter,
but Diaz should be able to control the fight and win a decision to get a chance
to fight Hayato “Mach” Sakurai for the title in late July.
Prediction: Nick Diaz by
Daisuke Nakamura vs. Bu
Pride veteran Daisuke
Nakamura faces off with 2000 Olympic Judo silver medalist Bu Kyung Jung.
Nakamura has a 13-9 record and trains out of the U-File Camp with Kiyoshi Tamura.
Jung has a 0-2 record and trains out of Team Yoon with Dong Sik Yoon.
Nakamura comes off a
decision victory over Juri Ivlev at M-1 Challenge, while Jung dropped a
decision to Mitsuhiro Ishida at DREAM.1.
This should be an
interesting fight because Nakamura has shown himself to be a talented fighter,
while Jung will finally get a chance to fight someone on his level and really
show how good of a fighter he is.
Expect an entertaining
ground battle between these two. Both are well versed in submissions, but an
edge would have to go to Jung, who almost submitted two of the best
lightweights in the world. On the feet, Nakamura would have a slight edge
because of his experience in MMA.
Jung finally gets an
opponent that he has a chance at beating after being put up against two of the
best lightweights in the world in Top 5 lightweights Shinya Aoki and Mitsuhiro
Ishida. Nakamura has always been a game fighter, but he may be in over his head
against Jung if the fight goes to the ground. Expect Jung to get the fight down
and work his ground mastery, locking on a submission late in the opening
Prediction: Bu Kyung Jung
by submission in the first round.
Takeshi Yamazaki vs.
Team Grabaka fighter Takeshi
Yamazaki takes on lightweight King of Pancrase Shoji Maruyama. Yamazaki has a
13-7-2 record and trains out of Team Grabaka with Kazuo Misaki. Maruyama has a
6-2-1 record and trains out of K.I.B.A. in Japan.
Yamazaki won a submission
victory over Daiki Ozaki at Cage Force: EX Eastern Bound, while Maruyama comes
off a draw with Koji Oishi at Pancrase: Shining 3.
The winner of this fight
might have a showdown with Kid Yamamoto for the DREAM featherweight title in
his future, so a lot is riding on this fight. They have contrasting styles,
which could make for an entertaining fight.
Yamazaki has the edge on the
ground, being a better wrestler and submission fighter. Shoji will have the
edge on the feet and is the bigger fighter, cutting down to fight at featherweight.
This bout will be an
exciting back and forth affair with both fighters getting in their shots.
Yamazaki will dominate on the ground and Maruyama will crack him on the feet,
but it will be Yamazaki’s ground control that will win him the decision.
Yamazaki by decision.