by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Dream 15 featured a return to the ring, promotional debuts, and the crowning of the promotion’s undisputed top lightweight.
To look back on all the happenings from last week’s event, HDNet’s Michael “The Voice” Schiavello went one-on-one with MMAWeekly.com and discussed how it sets up for the promotion’s return in September.
MMAWeekly: Firstly, Michael, give us your overall impression of Dream 15.
Michael Schiavello: I thought it was a very solid card with no boring fights or boring moments. There were outstanding submissions, close decisions, some controversy, and a few moments that left you staring mouth agape.
Dream is turning over some really great crowds of late and they were very vocal, maybe the most vocal Dream crowd I have heard yet.
MMAWeekly: Early on the card we saw two former Sengoku fighters make their Dream debuts in Kazuhiro Nakamura and Michihiro Omigawa. What are your thoughts on their bouts?
Michael Schiavello: Nakamura impressed me more than I thought he would. He is a classic grinder, but he looked far more aggressive and wanted to push the pace against (Karl) Amoussou and was rewarded for it.
Omigawa was handed a little known opponent and made harder work out of him than I thought he would, but in the end Omigawa did the job (against Young Sam Jung). I’m told Omigawa only had a one-fight contract with Dream, but I believe we will see a lot more of him as he brings a huge crowd base and throws another very competitive name into a heated division.
MMAWeekly: In the first round of the light heavyweight championship grand prix, we saw Tatsuya Mizuno and Gegard Mousasi advance to the finals. Do you feel as pundits do that it will be a cakewalk victory for Mousasi when they meet?
Michael Schiavello: A part of me wants to say that Mizuno could give Mousasi some headaches, especially if he enlists Matt Hume to help formulate a game plan and continues sparring with Sakurai and Nishiura, but this is Mousasi we’re talking about.
I think Mizuno will give Mousasi a red hot run for the title, but in the end Mousasi’s superior striking will win out and he will be too busy, too fast, and too aggressive for Mizuno.
MMAWeekly: When it comes to the evening’s main event title match between Tatsuya Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki, do you think it was a disappointment how quickly and one-sided the fight ended?
Michael Schiavello: I don’t think it was a disappointment. You can never be disappointed with someone winning a match so emphatically and decisively. It was a brilliant performance by Aoki and a performance Kawajiri will regret for the rest of his life.
Kawajiri made the mistake you don’t make against Aoki and he capitalized in tremendous fashion. Aoki is the king of the Dream lightweight division and he showed why yet again.
MMAWeekly: Is Kawajiri’s legacy to always play second best to other fighters?
Michael Schiavello: It looks that way doesn’t it? (That’s) sad really because Kawajiri is a nice guy and hugely popular, but he can never seem to take that next all-important step in his career. Aoki’s just one of those guys who I think will always have Kawajiri’s number.
MMAWeekly: Thanks for taking the time to break down the evening’s action for us, Michael. Is there anything you want to say as we close out?
Michael Schiavello: I’m home for three weeks and then we start another busy period which includes the return of King of the Cage on Aug. 13, Sengoku on Aug. 22 with a (Kazuo) Misake vs. (Jorge) Santiago title match and more.
Plus the next episode of “The Voice Versus” will air on HDNet on July 30, so make sure you check that out. After the success of “The Voice Versus Joe Rogan,” this next episode is truly crazy and not to be missed.