We will be going live at 3:00 AM EST with live results of DREAM.10, which takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The card will be headlined by a lightweight bout between Shinya Aoki and Vitor Riberio. Also on the card is the welterweight tournament semifinals featuring Hayato Sakurai vs. Marius Zaromskis and Andre Galvao vs. Jason High.
Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments throughout the evening. Detailed live results are after the jump.
Hayato Sakurai. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.
Fighting and Entertainment Group today announced the semifinals matchups for their inaugural welterweight grand prix tournament, which will continue at DREAM.10 on July 20 at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Fresh off of his stunning first-round TKO of Shinya Aoki at DREAM.8 in April, Hayato “Mach” Sakurai will now face Lithuanian prospect and Cage Rage product Marius Zaromskis, who won an unanimous decision over Seichi Ikemoto in his opening-round bout.
In addition, Affliction veteran Jason High will meet grappling expert Andre Galvao. Both fighters scored first-round submissions in their tourney openers. High needed less than a minute to submit Yuya Shirai while Galvao tapped UFC and WEC welterweight title challenger John Alessio in just his third professional bout.
Shinya Aoki. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.
In a bout that will pit two of Japan’s biggest MMA draws against each other, skilled grappler Shinya Aoki and Hayato “Mach” Sakurai will reportedly meet in the opening round of DREAM’s inaugural welterweight grand prix tournament according to MMA Weekly:
Dream appears ready to kick off its first Welterweight Grand Prix in a big way, pitting No. 1 ranked lightweight Shinya Aoki – who has several past welterweight bouts to his credit – against former Top 10 ranked Hayato “Mach” Sakurai. MMAWeekly.com sources confirmed the planned bout on Friday.
The bout is the first known match-up of the opening round of the tournament and should be a popular choice for the fans in Japan. Both fighters are popular, successful fighters with strong followings in their home country.
A first-round bout between the two had been rumored for some time but it was unknown if Fighting and Entertainment Group officials would be keen on matching the two together in the first round considered how vital they would be to averaging solid television ratings. However based on the extremely poor ratings DREAM.7 pulled in last weekend, it looks as if the promotion is going for broke.
Shinya Aoki. Photo courtesy of Fight Entertainment Group.
Fighting and Entertainment Group today announced that grappling wizard Shinya Aoki and former PRIDE lightweight title challenger Hayato “Mach” Sakurai would both compete in DREAM’s inaugural welterweight grand prix, which is set to begin on April 5 in Japan.
Aoki was the favorite to win DREAM’s lightweight tourney last year, but ended up falling to Joachim Hansen in the grand prix finals. However “Tobikan Judan” bounced back to record consecutive wins in his last two bouts, submitting Todd Moore at DREAM.6 and most recently, fellow top-ranked lightweight Eddie Alvarez at K-1 Dynamite!! 2008.
Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.
We will be going live at 3:00 AM ET with live results of this morning’s DREAM.6 event, which takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. Those in North America will be able to watch the event live on HDNet. A replay of the show will air at 4:00 PM ET later today.
DREAM.6 will feature the final round of the promotion’s inaugural grand prix. Melvin Manhoef will take on Gegard Mousasi and Zelg Galesic will face Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza with the two winners meeting in the show’s finale. Mirko Filipovic and Alistair Overeem will meet in an anticipated grudge match that will serve as the co-main event.
Be sure to leave comments throughout the morning. Detailed live results are after the jump.
Hayato Sakurai. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.
Fighting and Entertainment Group on Thursday announced an additional three fights that will take place at DREAM.6 on September 23 at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Former PRIDE standout Hayato “Mach” Sakurai will be taking on fellow UFC veteran Kuniyoshi Hironaka. Sakurai was originally rumored to be facing Nick Diaz for DREAM’s newly-created welterweight title, but Diaz’s camp has stated that DREAM officials have yet to compensate Diaz for his May 11 win over Katsuya Inoue.
Ikuhisa Minowa will return to the middleweight division to take on Japanese legend Masakatsu Funaki. Minowa open-weight fighting spree continued at DEEP’s “Gladiator” event on August 16 as he surprisingly submitted Don Frye with a first-round kneebar.
Funaki last fell to Kiyoshi Tamura at DREAM.2 in April. It was only his second fight since coming back to professional competition after a seven-year hiatus. Keita Nakamura will fight for the first time since being released by the UFC earlier this year when he takes on Brazilian product Adriano Martins at the event as well.
Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
The negative fallout from EliteXC’s second show on CBS is continuing. Yesterday the UFC and Spike TV blasted the organization for drawing lesser numbers on their network television broadcast than a replay of UFC 84: Ill Will in certain demographics last Saturday night. Gary Shaw and Doug DeLuca’s resignation from ProElite were also announced on Tuesday as well.
One of the things EliteXC heads DeLuca and Jeremy Lappen continually harped on in the weeks leading up to the event was the tremendous ticket sales they were enjoying. DeLuca stated that five days out from the event, they had already sold half of the available tickets and were expecting a sellout.
“We’re definitely well over half sold already,” DeLuca said during a pre-event conference call on July 22. “That was as of the weekend. I know we picked up a full head of steam on Monday. I’m really not too sure where ticket sales are at exactly, but we are fully expecting it to be a complete sell out.”
It turns out that DeLuca fibbed a bit.
Nick Diaz grapples with Katsuya Inoue. Photo courtesy of FEG.
Following his impressive victory over reigning welterweight King of Pancrase Katsuya Inoue, EliteXC’s Nick Diaz already has quite the test waiting for him following his scheduled fight against Muhsin Corbbrey in June - a DREAM title bout against Japanese veteran Hayato “Mach” Sakurai in July.
Diaz confirmed the potential matchup with Sherdog.com, stating that a fight against Sakurai would be one against a fighter that he looks up to.
“You know, there’s a lot of other people I’d like to fight, just considering Sakurai is a lot older than I am,” Diaz said in the report. “He’s probably in his late 30’s I’d imagine, so I’m going to have a lot of respect for him and everything he’s done. I tend to do better with people I have less respect for. To be honest, I’d rather be fighting Aoki or Kawajiri - somebody other than the guy that got knocked out by someone I already beat in Gomi.”
“But I think I match up very well against Sakurai,” Diaz continued. “I think he’s a little too short to reach me, and I think his ground game needs a lot of work and you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. Like I said though, I’m not afraid to fight anybody, that’s not the issue. I’ll fight anyone you got. I’m here to prove I’m pound-for-pound the greatest fighter in the world.”
Diaz’s scheduled fight against Corbbrey in Hawaii will mark the second time that they were slated to fight. The two were set to clash this month but EliteXC’s island event was moved to June, forcing the fight to be re-signed.
The battle between Diaz and Sakurai will be for DREAM’s welterweight title despite “Mach” being upset by David Baron at a Shooto event on May 3rd.
Forrest Griffin was always crazy, even in high school.
Props to frankiscool at the UG for the find.
Sakakibara, DSE Sue Fertittas, Zuffa
Two months after Zuffa, under the name PRIDE FC Worldwide, filed a lawsuit against former PRIDE parent company Dream Stage Entertainment claiming that they were defrauded during their purchase of PRIDE in March of last year, DSE and Nobuyuki Sakakibara have countered with a lawsuit of their own.
More from Swift:
The suit filed by the former owners of Pride in federal court, under diversity jurisdiction, seeks damages for breach of the asset purchase and consulting agreements that were part of the Pride transaction, as well as fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
The complaint alleges that Pride was sold to the owners of the UFC with the promise that the Pride brand would be maintained as a “global top-level brand.” This promise allegedly resulted in the former owners’ decision to sell to the Fertittas despite more lucrative financial offers from other suitors.
DREAM Planning Events on U.S. Soil?
DREAM could potentially hold shows in the United States if the promotion eventually gains the popularity that PRIDE once had as well as a television deal according to Fight Entertainment Group figurehead Sadaharu Tanikawa.
From MMA Weekly:
FEG executive, Sadaharu Tanikawa stated that their hopes are to first establish a brand name in Japan before trying their hand in the United States. Tanikawa went on the record saying that it would take “maybe a year or two” for the new Dream promotion to gain the same strength among fans that the former Pride brand did before their demise.
With DREAM and HDNet already in talks about a possible deal, Tanikawa’s idea could become a reality sooner than later, especially if they could come to some sort of a deal with EliteXC or HDNet Fights to get some notable American names on the card.
Sakurai-Baron Set for Shooto Fight in May
Hayato “Mach” Sakurai will attempt to keep his current five-fight winning streak intact when he takes on fellow PRIDE veteran David Baron at a Shooto event in May according to a report from Sports Navi.
Sakurai stopped Hidetaka Monma with strikes at DREAM’s inaugural event last month. Baron, who is mostly known for his loss to Takanori Gomi at PRIDE Bushido 12 in the summer of 2006, has won his last three fights since then.
Touch of gloves to Fight Opinion for the find.
Emerson Replaces Stephens at UFC 84
Update 2:30 PM ET: Our friends at MMA Junkie have learned that a possible “minor legal situation” may be preventing Stephens from fighting on the card but he expects to return to action this summer.
Sam Cupitt over at Five Ounces of Pain has noticed that Rob Emerson, a contestant on the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, has replaced Iowa native Jeremy Stephens in a scheduled lightweight bout against Terry Etim at UFC 84: Ill Will according to the UFC’s official website.
It was reported back in February that Etim and Stephens had signed bout agreements, making the fight good to go. No word as of yet on why Stephens was forced out of the bout.
Mirko Cro Cop is introduced before his bout against Josh Barnett at PRIDE Final Conflict Absolute 2006. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.
SAITAMA - Returning to one of his favorite venues, Mirko Cro Cop made it look easy tonight. The cool but lethal Croatian mixed martial arts superstar required a mere 56 seconds to dispatch Tatsuya Mizuno by KO at the DREAM.1 Lightweight Grand Prix 2008 1st Round.
Held before a sellout crowd at the Saitama Super Arena—with millions of Japanese television viewers watching live—DREAM.1 featured seven qualification bouts in the DREAM Lightweight (70 kg/154 lbs) class, along with a trio of open-weight fights. This was the inaugural DREAM production—but such is the talent on tap that fans have already dubbed DREAM one of the world’s finest mixed martial arts productions.
All bouts were fought under Official DREAM mixed martial arts rules, with a 10 min first and 5 min second round.
Probably the most highly-anticipated fight on the card featured 33 year-old Mirko Cro Cop, who took on Japanese judo fighter Tatsuya Mizuno. Cro Cop wasted no time here, firing in the low kicks from the bell, stepping forward to lock up Mizuno’s right arm then pumping in uppercuts and straight punches to deposit his opponent on the canvas in a heap of pain. Cro Cop leapt atop the unresponsive Mizuno for a ground and pound finish, leaving the referee no choice but to jump in and call it.
“A lot of fighters refuse to fight me these days, but he had courage and he accepted,” said Cro Cop afterward from center ring. “For my next fight, I will need a stronger opponent, so anyone is welcome!” Who will answer the call?