Shinya Aoki catches Gesias Calvancante in an armbar. Photo courtesy of FEG.
A little more than a month after fans were left with a disappointing ending to a March matchup between Gesias Calvancante and Shinya Aoki, it was Aoki that finally came away the victor in one of the most-anticipated lightweights contests in recent memory earlier this morning in DREAM’s second-ever show.
The first fight between the two was ruled a no-contest after Calvancante struck Aoki with illegal elbows to the back of Aoki’s neck. Calvancante was warned and Aoki given time to recover, but after a few moments the esteemed grappler wasn’t able to continue. The two were also originally set to face off at Yarennoka! on New Year’s Eve but Calvancante was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering a knee injury during training.
Aoki quickly pulled guard at the start of the fight and negated any sort of offense his opponent tried to mount. However after stomping his way out of a heel hook attempt, Calvancante pounced on top of Aoki and began raining down an array of strikes, prompting the referee to give an even closer look at the action. Aoki was able to recover and eventually get back to his feet where he ended up taking Calvancante’s back and controlling him for the remainder of the round.
The second round saw Aoki pull Calvancante to the canvas once again and then quickly catch him in an armbar that nearly ended the fight. Calvancante was able to flip out of the hold and even scored with some ground and pound before Aoki went for another couple of armbars. Aoki transitioned into an inverted omoplata during the final minute of the fight, solidifying his win on the judge’s scorecards.
Aoki’s next opponent in just two weeks will now be former Japanese Olympic wrestler Katsuhiko Nagata according to DREAM officials.
Frank Trigg grapples with Renato Verissimo. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Update 3:30 PM ET: Frank Trigg revealed through his TAGG Radio show today and The Underground Forum that he has not signed with DREAM and not will be fighting Ronaldo Souza, who happens to be a training partner of his at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.
DREAM parent company Fight Entertainment Group has announced four more bouts for the first round of the organization’s upcoming middleweight grand prix, which will currently take place on April 29th at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Former UFC welterweight title contender Frank Trigg will take on renowned grappler Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in a first round bout. Addtional matchups include Zelg Galesic vs. Magomed Sultanakhmadov, Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Taiei Kin, and Dong Sik Yoon vs. Shungo Oyama.
Also, current EliteXC lightweight Nick Diaz has apparently verbally accepted a bout against Marcelo Garcia according to manager Cesar Gracie.
Nick Diaz has verbally accepted to fight Marcelo Garcia at the next Dream show. (April 29th) Although Garcia inititially accepted the fight, there has been talk that the match will now be scrubbed. According to Dream promoters, Marcelo has now decided that he does not want the fight and it is unclear if Dream will be able to find an opponent in time for Nick to participate. Stay tuned.
The card for the event now looks like this:
DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix
Denis Kang vs. Gegard Mousasi
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Andrews Nakahara
Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Masakatsu Funaki
Frank Trigg vs. Ronaldo Souza
Zelg Galesic vs. Magomed Sultanakhmadov
Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Taiei Kin
Dong Sik Yoon vs. Shungo Oyama
DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix
Shinya Aoki vs. Gesias Calvancante
News and Notes
- Be sure to check back later tonight when we go live at 8 PM EST with our live blog for UFC 77: Hostile Territory.
- If you haven’t already, make sure you cast your vote on our latest Rock the Vote: Sylvia or Vera?
- MMA Weekly has former UFC Welterweight Champion Carlos Newton facing Dong Sik Yoon at K-1 Hero’s 11 on October 28th while my notes have him taking on Shungo Oyama. I’ll try and figure that one out.
- Marco Antico of MMA Weekly is also reporting the following matchups for TKO 31 in December:
Jesse Bongfeldt vs T.J. Grant for the TKO Welterweight Title
Chris Clements vs Stephane Dube
Mark Hominick is currently in talks to face Justin Tavernini
Steve Bosse is set to headline the card in the main event
- Ken Shamrock is holding open tryouts for anyone interested in being a member of the IFL’s Nevada Lions or joining his Lion’s Den gym. Tryouts will be held at The Stadium Sport and Fitness Club in Reno, Nevada. They will consist of several drills and sparring in the various MMA disciplines. For further information, contact Lance Foreman at 530-252-8071 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pancrase has announced that it will adjust it’s weight divisions to fall in line with those currently designated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
- FEG apparently does not see World Victory Road, Japan’s newest MMA organization, as a potential enemy:
“As for the Japanese MMA market, fans have been dwindling since the loss of PRIDE. No part of me sees this new organization as an enemy, and I would like to find places in which we can cooperate,” said FEG Representative Director Sadaharu Tanigawa.
- Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz has been cast in the new celebrity version of “The Apprentice” on NBC. Ortiz’s fellow cast mates potentially include Omarosa, John Cena, Lennox Lewis, Stephen Baldwin, Gene Simmons, Carol Alt, Vinny Pastore, and Marilu Henner according to TMZ.
- The Fight Network is reporting that representatives from HDNet Fights have confirmed that the promotion is planning to hold it’s second event on December 15th at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Roughly 10,631 ticket holders entered the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan to witness the finale of the Hero’s 2006: 187 lb tournament. All of the fighters showed and people got their moneys worth when in the end Japanese fighter Yoshihrio Akiyama was crowned the tournament champion.
The semi-finals of the tournament started with a battle between Yishihiro Akiyama and Kestutis Smirnovas. Even though Smirnovas lost his quarterfinal fight against Kazushi Sakuraba he was still granted a spot as Sakuraba was unable to fight due to medical conditions. Akiyama earned his way to the semi-finals by defeating Taiei Kin by armbar.
Akiyama looked great from the start attacking Smirnovas with vicious leg kicks that left their mark. Smirnovas’s body began to show that damage during the middle of the round as a nice welt formed on the left thigh of Smirnovas.
Akiyama worked hard to avoid Smirnovas’s combinations and then late in the first he was able to connect with a leg kick that momentarily dropped Smirnovas. He then quickly charged in and nailed Smirnovas with a head kick followed by a combination which secured him a spot in the finals.
Next on the slate was a battle between Melvin Manhoef and Shungo Oyama. Oyama’s semi-final birth came after he earned a decision victory over Rodrigo Gracie. Manhoef earned his way to the semis by beating Crosley Gracie.
This fight proved to be a quick one alot like the earlier semi-final bout. Both fighters entered the ring hungry and ready to engage. After a short feeling out process Oyama attempted a few wild strikes which were unsuccessful. The much bigger Manhoef then decided to attack as he rushed forward with a combination of kicks and punches which eventually sent Oyama down and out.
With the win Melvin Manhoef earned his was to the finals of the 187 lb tournament with a battle against Akiyama bubbling for later in the fight.
The finals of the 187 lb tournament followed the path of many of the earlier fights. It was quick and exciting. One thing to take note of was Akiyama decided to wear his gi against Manhoef unlike his earlier fight against Smirnovas.
Both fighters felt each other out early and then Manhoef charged in with wild combinations that looked to hurt Akiyama. The scene was all too familiar but Akiyama was able to withstand the barrage and take Manhoef to the canvas.
When they returned to their feet Akiyama kept the fight in the clinch until Manhoef decided to go for a slam which ended up being the beginning of the end. Manhoef took the fight to the canvas but he put his opponent in a prime position which allowed Akiyama to secure an armbar. Manhoef was forced to tap at 1:58 of the first round crowning Yoshihiro Akiyama the Hero’s 187 lbs tournament champion.