Joachim Hansen. Photo courtesy of DREAM.
Joachim Hansen was the surprise winner of DREAM’s inaugural lightweight grand prix this morning, avenging a past loss to Shinya Aoki by knocking out the skilled grappler in the tournament finals despite starting the night as a reserve.
In a dramatic turn of events, Hansen was pushed into the lightweight title main event after Eddie Alvarez was unable to compete due to injury. During the first few minutes of his battle against Aoki, it looked as if Hansen was about to fall victim to another submission loss once again, just as he did against Aoki at PRIDE Shockwave 2006 a few years back.
However the tide turned once Hansen landed a strong left hand while falling back to Aoki’s guard. The punch hurt Aoki, allowing Hansen to bomb away with unanswered right hands until Aoki stopped responding and referee Yuji Shimada was forced to stop the bout. An elated Hansen jumped into the arms of his corner. After composing himself, Hansen was quick to push for a rematch of his war against Alvarez earlier this year as his first official title defense.
“This still has to sink in a little,” Hansen said after the fight. “I am the sort of person who takes one thing at a time, so I concentrated on Kultar Gill (whom Hansen defeated via TKO earlier in the night) and felt a little strange going into the final match, so I took my time and looked for the right chance to strike. I had a great night, thanks to my team and everybody who helped me, and next time I hope to defend my title against Eddie Alvarez.”
We will be going live at 2:00 AM ET with live results of tomorrow morning’s DREAM.5 event, which will take place at the Osaka Castle Hall in Japan. Those in North America will be able to watch the event live on HDNet tomorrow morning at 2 AM ET. It will air again via tape delay at 10 PM ET as well.
The show features the final round of the promotion’s inaugural lightweight grand prix - Eddie Alvarez, Caol Uno, Shinya Aoki, and Tatsuya Kawajiri will battle it out in a four-man tournament with the winners facing off for the GP title in the night’s main event. Additional featured bouts include a slugfest between Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem as well as a lightweight tourney reserve bout between Joachim Hansen and “Black Mamba” Kultar Gill.
Be sure to leave comments throughout the morning. Detailed live results are after the jump.
Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem. Photo courtesy of FEG.
Two additional bouts have been added to Monday’s DREAM.5 event in Japan, finalizing a card which will feature the finals of the promotion’s inaugural lightweight grand prix. Those in North America will be able to watch the event live on HDNet tomorrow morning at 2 AM ET. It will air again via tape delay at 10 PM ET as well.
Urijah-Faber trained Joe Benavidez, who was originally slated to take on pound-for-pound phenom Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, will go up against Shooto veteran Junya “Kodo” Kudo. Bendavidez is undefeated in seven professional fights, last submitting Maurice Eazel at a Palace Fighting Championship event in May. Kudo suffered his first career loss in June, dropping an unanimous decision to So Tazawa.
Yamamoto was forced to withdraw from the show after suffering a knee injury during a recent training session. A failed flying knee attempt caused an awkward landing and the sound of a pop inside of Kid’s right leg. An MRI shows that Yamamoto suffered a partial tear of his right anterior cruciate ligament, however it won’t be determined whether surgery is necessary or not until sometime next week.
“It’s unfortunate that Kid got injured and I want to thank my opponent for taking the fight on short notice,” Benavidez at the pre-fight press conference yesterday in Japan. “I am focused on the opponent I have now, and I just want to go in and get the win.”
Joachim Hansen. Photo courtesy of DREAM.
DREAM officials announced yesterday three additional bouts for the promotion’s upcoming fifth show on July 21st in Japan. The most high-profile matchup will see former PRIDE lightweight standout Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen go up against Kultar Gill in a lightweight tournament reserve bout.
Hansen was eliminated from the tourney after losing a hard-fought unanimous decision to Eddie Alvarez in a fight-of-the-year candidate in May. He will now take on Gill, who lost an unanimous decision to Tatsuya Kawajiri at the organization’s inaugural show back in March.
Loser of his last four fights, part-time professional wrestler Katsuyori Shibata will try to pick up his first victory in over a year against highly-ranked middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama, who has seen his stock rise immensely over the past twelve months with a brutal knockout of Denis Kang last October. However it’s also interesting to note that two out of Akiyama’s last three fights have been ruled no-contests.
UFC veteran Kuniyoshi Hironaka will also return to action against undefeated Cage Force product Motoki Miyazawa. Hironaka went 1-3 in his two-year stint with the UFC, his lone win an unanimous decision over Forrest Petz at UFC Fight Night 9 last April. Former PRIDE heavyweight contender Mark Hunt is also being advertised as competing at the event.
The show will feature the finals of DREAM’s first-ever lightweight grand prix. Eddie Alvarez will battle tough wrestler Tatsuya Kawajiri and tournament favorite Shinya Aoki will take on longtime veteran Caol Uno in separate semi-final matches that will see the winners duke it out later in the night. Pound-for-pound phenom Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto will fight for the first time in ‘08 as he takes on undefeated California native Joe Benavidez.
HT: Japan MMA
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?
News and Notes
- Kultar Gill has been forced to pull out of his scheduled bout against Caol Uno in the K-1 Hero’s Middleweight Tournament after suffering a shoulder and neck injury according to The Fight Network. Gill stated that he is unable to live his arm over his shoulder at the moment:
“I finally took off two months from work to train for the first time in my life. I was on a roll and was training super-hard for Caol Uno,” says Gill. “My jiu-jitsu had improved tenfold. Training with Pele has been awesome. I finally have a guy that can strike with me who I don’t knock out. We’ve had some wars. I was looking and feeling so good but now I can’t lift my arm over my shoulder. I can’t even do one push-up. But you know, shit happens.”
- Sam Caplan has heard from a source that contract talks between Fedor and the UFC did not go well on Thursday:
I didn’t hear the show but I’ve read in several places that Tagg Radio reported today that the show heard from a reliable source in Fedor Emelianenko’s camp that he’s been offered a four fight deal worth $2 million per bout that would also allow him to fight in Russia. The reports I am reading suggests that Fedor is close to accepting.
If that story is in fact being reported I can tell you that a reliable source I spoke to from the UFC left me with a completely different impression of Thursday’s meeting. I did not ask the source specifically about Tagg Radio’s report and simply asked about how the meeting on Thursday went. The answer was not good and no indication was given that a deal was even close to being agreed to.
- The CSAC has laid down the law on two more fighters that have tested positive for marijuana.
Ty Montgomery has had his license revoked in the state and has also been fined $2,500. His license revocation is the result of three separate incidents that the CSAC has had to discipline him for - a prior positive test for marijuana in September 2006 and for an altercation with a promotion’s matchmaker in March 2007. Montgomery will be eligible to apply for reinstatement in one year in front of the CSAC.
Mongtomery’s opponent at a recent Galaxy Productions event, Virgil Zwicker has been suspended for three months and fined $500 after testing positive for marijuana as well.
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We have a lot of stuff to report this morning…
News and Notes
- EliteXC has announced a total net loss of $11.9 million between January and June 2007 according to UFC Mania.
- IFL heavyweight Krzysztof Soszynski has announced that he has joined Dan Henderson’s Team Quest in order to continue with his training…
- FEG formally announced three bouts for the upcoming K-1 Hero’s event on September 17th. The semifinals of the 2007 154 lb tournament will roll on when Caol Uno takes on Kultar Gill and Gesias Calvancanti goes up against Vitor Ribeiro. Ikuhisa Minowa and Ralek Gracie will compete in a non-tournament bout.
- Cage Fury Fighting Championship’s October 12th event will feature the return of Ricardo Almeida. Almeida’s opponent will be Dennis Hallman.
- American Top Team has stated that Denis Kang is expected to sign with an organization in the next few weeks and is targeting September as a possible date of return.
- Palace Fighting Championships has announced that Justin Levens will fight Kenny Ento for the vacant PFC World Middleweight Championship on October 18th:
“These are two of the most popular and intense fighters to ever compete in the Valley,” Printup said. “Levens has faced tougher competition, but Ento is an extremely tough match up. He’s tall, rangy, has excellent submissions and underrated stand up. Levens is an absolute animal, who has only lost to top-level fighters.”
- The IFL Finals on September 20th in Hollywood, Florida will now feature two superfights as well as the IFL Championship. Seth Petruzelli and Rolles Gracie Jr. will meet in a light heavyweight bout. Aaron Riley and Ryan Schultz will clash in the night’s other superfight.
- The weigh-ins for UFC 74 will begin at 6 PM EST and will start to be broadcast on ESPNEWS at 7:15 EST. As always, they will also be available to watch online for free on a slew of sites, including UFC.com, Yahoo! Sports, and MSN.
- Tickets for UFC 77: Hostile Territory are slated to go on sale starting on August 22nd…