In a bizarre turn of events in Osaka, Japan, Joachim Hansen became the Dream lightweight champion stopping Shinya Aoki in front of an energized crowd at the Osaka Jo Hall.
These two met at Pride Shockwave 2006 with Aoki submitting Hansen, but on this occasion a lot more was on the line with the winner taking home the Dream Lightweight Grand Prix. Hansen came out swinging and was immediately taken to the ground by Aoki, who again looked to work for a submission, but was hit with an accidental up kick to the groin. The fight was restarted and again a wild swing from Hansen ended with both fighters on the ground and Aoki going for an arm lock that Hansen was able to escape.
Hansen made Aoki pay, dropping heavy bombs that seemed to bother Aoki, who soon tied up Hansen. That only delayed the inevitable as Hansen got loose and dropped more heavy punches, this time stunning Aoki and swarming in for the finish, which forced the referee to stop the fight at 4:16 of the first round, making Hansen the Dream lightweight champion.
Unfortunately Eddie Alvarez, who won his semi-final bout, was unable to continue to the final because of the cut under his eye had caused his eye to become swollen shut, which vaulted Hansen into the final to fight Aoki for the title.
In what was one the best fights of the year so far, Eddie Alvarez and Tatsuya Kawajiri fought an all-out war. Alvarez wanted the fight on the ground from the onset, but Kawajiri defended well and took it to him on the feet, cutting him under the eye. Alvarez responded, dropping Kawajiri with a quick combination, but he was unable to finish him.
The fight was halted to check Alvarez’s cut and once it was restarted Kawajiri dropped Alvarez with a right hand. He was also unable to finish. After a scramble, the fighters got back to their feet and an all out war ensued with both fighters landing heavy blows. The pace was incredible as neither fighter backed down. Alvarez finally broke through, dropping Kawajiri with a right hook and uppercut and finishing him off with strikes at 7:35 of the opening round, advancing to the final.
Shinya Aoki was the first to punch his ticket to the final, controlling UFC veteran Caol Uno en route to a unanimous decision. From the onset both fighters were cautious to engage, neither wanting to make the first mistake. Finally Aoki charged in with a flying knee and both fighters went to the ground. From there, Aoki controlled the fight, using positioning and threatening with submissions like leg locks and chokes. Towards the end of the round, Aoki transitioned to a slick triangle choke that seemed to have Uno done, but the wily veteran somehow survived and escaped to the second round.
The second round was much of the same as Aoki was able to get the fight to the ground and again used control with some submission attempts to keep Uno on the defensive. Once the fight came to an end, it was obvious that Aoki had the fight wrapped up, winning a unanimous decision and advancing to the final.
Mark Hunt made his return to MMA after taking a year and half off. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t go as planned after being submitted by Alistair Overeem. After some feeling out on the feet, Hunt landed a hard punch and threw Overeem to the ground as he charged in with punches. That was a crucial mistake as Hunt got over anxious and was soon fending off an armbar that Overeem modified and forced Hunt to tap at 1:11 of the opening round.
Yoshihiro Akiyama took longer then expected to finish off Japanese pro wrestler Katsuyori Shibata. It seemed like Akiyama was taking it easy as he stalked Shibata for half the round, landing jabs and low kicks. Shibata tried to return fire but he was simply outclassed as Akiyama finally got a grip on him, taking him down and shortly thereafter locking on a sleeve choke with gi that left Shibata out cold at 6:34 of the first round.
Ground specialists Hideo Tokoro and Takeshi Yamazaki met in a featherweight bout. Tokoro was the aggressor throughout the fight both on the feet and on the ground. He tagged Yamazaki on the feet with punches and kicks and on the ground he switched from submission attempt to attempt, while Yamazaki was unable to do much of anything from the top. Although he was on top for the majority of the fight, Yamazaki didn’t do any damage, while Tokoro tried on many occasions to finish the fight and that swayed the judges, who gave Tokoro the decision victory.
UFC veteran Kuniyoshi Hironaka ended his two-fight losing streak, stopping undefeated fighter Motoki Miyazawa by doctor’s stoppage. Hironaka was light on his feet, putting together crisp combinations that tagged Miyazawa, who was forced to take the fight to the ground. Unable to do anything on the ground, the fighters were stood up and Hironanka took full advantage by tagging Miyazawa with punches, who returned fire, but not with much success. After being tagged with vicious combinations, Miyazawa was bleeding profusely from a cut that forced the doctor to stop the fight at 8:57 of the first round.
Fighting out of Ultimate Fitness with Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez made his Dream debut taking on last minute replacement Junya “KODO” Kudo. (Editor’s Note: Benavidez’s original opponent, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto withdrew, officially due to injury, but amidst speculation that he was under investigation from authorities due to alleged involvement in marijuana use.)
Kudo started the fight by taking it to Benavidez, who responded by taking the fight to the ground and landing some knees. After some scrambling, Kudo was able to get to his feet, but was taken off them as Benavidez picked him up and slammed him to the ground, After another scramble, Benavidez was able to lock on a guillotine choke, getting on top and forcing Kudo to tap at 2:42 of the first round.
In the lightweight reserve match, former Shooto champion Joachim Hansen submitted lanky striker Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill. Hansen instantly wanted the fight on the ground as he charged in for a takedown. Gill defended, landing several knees, before finally being taken down. He wouldn’t be there for long as he worked back to his feet, landing a couple of punches, before again being taken down by Hansen. After some scrambling on the ground, Hansen was able to secure an armbar at 2:33 of the opening round.
In the opening fight of the night, lightweight submission fighter Daisuke Nakamura made quick work of K-1 Max veteran Andy Ologun, submitting him with a beautiful flying armbar at 3:41 of the first round.
DREAM 5 Results
-Joachim Hansen def. Shinya Aoki by TKO at 4:16, R1
-Alistair Overeem def. Mark Hunt by Submission (Armbar) at 1:11, R1
-Yoshihiro Akiyama def. Katsuyori Shibata by Submission (Sleeve Choke) at 6:34, R1
-Hideo Tokoro def. Takeshi Yamazaki by Unanimous Decision, R2
-Kuniyoshi Hironaka def. Motoki Miyazawa by TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 8:57, R1
-Joseph Benavidez def. Junya Kudo by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:42, R1
-Joachim Hansen def. Kultar Gill by Submission (Armbar) at 2:33, R1
-Eddie Alvarez def. Tatsuya Kawajiri by TKO at 7:35, R1
-Shinya Aoki def. Caol Uno by Unanimous Decision, R2
-Daisuke Nakamura def. Andy Ologun by Submission (Armbar) at 3:41, R1