by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
Dream Middleweight Grand Prix Bout:
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Melvin Manhoef
Japanese MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba takes on Dutch striker
Melvin Manhoef. Sakuraba has a 24-10-1 record and is a freelance fighter out of
Japan. Manhoef has a 21-4-1 record and is a freelance fighter out of Holland.
Sakuraba comes off a submission victory over Andrews
Nakahara at Dream 2, while Manhoef stopped Korean judoka Dae Won Kim at Dream
This is a classic striker vs. grappler match-up, however the
fight ends up going it will be exciting. This could be a last hurrah for
Sakuraba with age and injuries starting to catch up to the Japanese legend.
It’s fairly obvious who is the better fighter in their
respective areas, Sakuraba on the ground and Manhoef on the feet. Sakuraba has
trained his striking at the Chute Boxe Academy, but it would be rather unwise
of him to think that he can beat Manhoef at his own game. Manhoef hasn’t really
shown much of a ground game and that is something that Sakuraba needs to
This fight is either going to end by a submission or a
knockout, there will not be a decision in this fight. Manhoef isn’t one hundred
percent healthy and that could play into the fight, as he won’t be able to
train properly. Expect Sakuraba to take a couple of shots, but he’ll quickly
smarten up and take the fight to the ground, submitting Manhoef late in the
Prediction: Kazushi Sakuraba by submission in the first
Dream Middleweight GP Bout:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Dong Sik Yoon
Armenian striker Gegard Mousasi faces off with Korean judoka
Dong Sik Yoon. Mousasi has a 21-2-1 record and trains out of Red Devil
International in Holland. Yoon has a 4-4 record and trains out of Team Yoon
with Bu Kyung Jung.
Mousasi comes off a surprising submission victory over Denis
Kang at Dream 2, while Yoon won a decision over Japanese journeyman Shungo
Oyama earlier in the night.
This is one of the more intriguing fights of the night, as
it’s more evenly matched than most fans would think. Both fighters have shown
immense improvement over the last year with Yoon winning four in a row and
Mousasi tearing through his opponents.
Yoon has the slight advantage on the ground, but you can’t
underestimate Mousasi’s ground game, which is what cost Denis Kang in their fight.
Mousasi has the obvious advantage on the feet, but Yoon has shown over the past
year that he can take immense amounts of punishment as evidenced in his fight
It’s hard to pick a winner in this fight because these two
are so evenly matched. Mousasi will land his shots on the feet, but Yoon will
do his work on the ground and that will be the difference as Yoon will be able
to control Mousasi on the ground en route to a decision.
Prediction: Dong Sik Yoon by decision.
Dream Middleweight GP Bout:
Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Former ICON Sport middleweight champion Jason “Mayhem”
Miller takes on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
Miller has a 21-5 record and trains out of Team Quest with Dan Henderson.
Jacare has an 8-1 record and is a freelance fighter out of Brazil.
Miller dominated Katsuyori Shibata to a stoppage at Dream 3,
while Jacare submitted American wrestler Ian Murphy at Dream 2.
This is the fight that most fans are looking forward to
because both fighters are considered dark horses to win the tournament. One
thing that is for sure is that it will be a test for both, Miller facing an
accomplished grappler and Jacare facing a quality opponent.
Both fighters are primarily ground specialists, but Jacare
has the clear advantage over Miller being one of the most gifted and
accomplished grapplers in the world. Miller has the edge on the feet, where
Jacare is still getting his feet wet, but this fight will eventually hit the
One thing that is on Miller’s side is experience and that is
something that you can’t teach. This is going to be a back and forth battle
with both fighters having their moments and entertaining the fans. Once this
fight hit’s the ground, Jacare is going to be all over Miller, not giving him
an inch to work and finally locking on a submission late in the fight.
Prediction: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza by submission in the
Dream Middleweight GP Bout:
Zelg Galesic vs. Taiei Kin
Former Cage Rage British middleweight champion Zelg Galesic
faces off with K-1 veteran Taiei Kin. Galesic has an 8-3 record and trains out
of Team Trojan with Ronnie Mann. Kin has a 3-2 record and is a freelance
fighter out of Japan.
Galesic comes off a submission victory over Magomed
Sultanakhmedov at Dream 2, while Kin out struck Ikuhisa Minowa en route to a
decision victory earlier in the night.
These two met once before, just eight months ago in Korea,
where Galesic won a doctor stoppage only seconds into fight by opening a cut
with a high kick. Kin will be out for revenge and the fans will get a more
conclusive end to who is the better fighter.
These two are primarily strikers with Kin being the more
technical of the two and Galesic having more power. Galesic has the edge on the
ground as he has been working diligently to improve after being quickly
submitted by Dong Sik Yoon at K-1 Hero’s 10. One thing that Kin has shown is
that he is able to get back to his feet without taking much damage on the
This fight will be more exciting than most fans expect, as
they will be trading shots non-stop. Kin needs to stay on the outside and use
his low kicks and pick his shots. Galesic on the other hand will try and lure
Kin into an exchange, where he will look to land the fight-ending blow.
Eventually Kin will be suckered into an exchange and that will be the end of
Prediction: Zelg Galesic by TKO in the first round.
Dream Lightweight GP Bout:
Shinya Aoki vs. Katsuhiko Nagata
Shooto middleweight champion Shinya Aoki faces off with 2004
Olympic wrestling medalist Katsuhiko Nagata. Aoki has a 15-2 record and trains
out of Paraestra Tokyo with Yuki Naki. Nagata has a 4-2 record and trains out
of the New Japan Factory with Yuji Nagata.
Aoki comes off a decision victory over Gesias “JZ”
Calvancante at Dream 2, while Nagata pounded out a decision over former Cage
Force lightweight champion Artur Oumakhanov.
This is the last quarterfinal bout of the Dream Lightweight
Grand Prix, with the winner advancing to the finals at Dream 5. This is going
be an interesting fight between two totally different ground fighters.
These two are two ground specialists with vastly different
styles, Nagata being a wrestler and Aoki being a submission artist. Aoki will
have the advantage because he will be constantly be threatening with submission
attempts, while Nagata will look to just pound on Aoki. Neither fighter is
overly skilled on the feet, so that is toss up between the two.
Aoki seems to have healed up from any injuries he sustained
and is ready to go and that will be problematic for Nagata. This fight will hit
the ground and it will only be a matter of time before Aoki submits the
Prediction: Shinya Aoki by submission in the first round.
Hideo Tokoro vs. Darren Uyenoyama
Submission wizard Hideo Tokoro takes on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
black belt Darren Uyenoyama. Tokoro has a 19-13-1 record and trains out of
Reversal in Japan. Uyenoyama has a 4-1 record and trains out of Ralph Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
with Luke Stewart.
Tokoro comes off a submission loss to the much bigger
Kiyoshi Tamura at K-1 Dynamite!! 2007, while Uyenoyama submitted Anthony
Figueroa at Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Le.
Tokoro is one of the more exciting fighters in Japan, but his
career has been plagued by inconstancy and bad luck. Uyenoyama makes his return
to Japan after getting some wins under his belt in the United States.
Both fighters are well versed on the ground with Uyenoyama
being the more technical fighter and Tokoro being the risk taker. On the feet,
Tokoro has the edge as Uyenoyama continues to learn the craft on the feet.
Another factor in the fight will be the immense experience that Tokoro holds
and the fact that Uyenoyama is usually a bantamweight, which will make him the
smaller fighter in the bout.
These two are going to put on an exciting ground battle, but
with Tokoro’s strength and size advantage it’s going to be hard for Uyenoyama
to get going. Tokoro will control the fight on the feet and dictate the pace on
the ground en route to a decision victory.
Prediction: Hideo Tokoro by decision.
Alistair Overeem vs. Tae Hyun Lee
Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem takes on
Korean Ssireum champion Tae Hyun Lee. Overeem has a 26-11 record and trains out
of Golden Glory with Martin de Jong. Lee has a 1-1 record and is a freelance
fighter out of Korea.
Overeem comes off a stoppage victory over UFC veteran Paul
Buentello at Strikeforce: Four Men Enter, One Man Survives, while Lee stopped
Yoshihisa Yamamoto at K-1 Hero’s Korea 2007.
Overeem has so much potential, but some bad decisions and
luck have prevented him from reaching his full potential. That should change
here. Lee is still making the transition from Ssireum to mixed martial arts and
it hasn’t been an easy one for him.
Overeem has the advantage on the feet being a kickboxer. On
the ground he once again betters Lee, being an ADCC European champion. Lee’s
best chance at winning will be to catch Overeem off guard on the feet and tag
This is more or less a set-up fight for Overeem. He should
punish Lee on the feet with punches and knees until Lee finally goes down,
setting up a potential showdown for Overeem with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at
Prediction: Alistair Overeem by TKO in the first round.
Light Heavyweight Bout:
Alavutdin Gadzhiev vs. Ralek Gracie
Russian fighter Alavutdin Gadzhiev faces off with Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu stylist Ralek Gracie. Gadzhiev has a 7-1 record and trains out of SK
Absolute Russia with Artur Oumakhanov. Gracie has a 1-0 record and trains out
of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in California.
Gadzhiev comes off a knockout victory over Hikaru Sato at
Pancrase Shining 2, while Gracie submitted Katsuyori Shibata at K-1 Hero’s 9.
Both fighters initially had different opponents in different
types of matches scheduled for this fight card. Gracie was originally scheduled
to fight in a special grappling rules match against Cro Cop, while Gadzhiev was
to face Alexandre “Cacareco” Ferreira in an MMA match. They now meet in an MMA
match after both their opponents were pulled from the card.
Gadzhiev has the obvious advantage on the feet with strikes
and with punching power, being touted as one of the hardest punchers in MMA
today. Gracie will want to get this fight to the ground and avoid any type of
striking, as that’s his weakness and he hasn’t been training for an MMA fight.
This will be an interesting fight for both men. Gadzhiev
will be tested on the ground and Gracie will be tested with a striker. Gracie
hasn’t been training for an MMA fight and that will hurt the already
inexperienced fighter, who will be punched for the first time in his MMA career
and he will crumple under the punching power of Gadzhiev.
Prediction: Alavutdin Gadzhiev by TKO in the first round.