DREAM

Cro Cop Victorious; Aoki Injured in No Contest


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?

Continue reading "Cro Cop Victorious; Aoki Injured in No Contest"

Report: DREAM, HDNet Close to TV Deal


Photo courtesy of Fight Entertainment Group.

Fight Entertainment Group, the parent company of DREAM, a new joint venture created along with officials from Dream Stage Entertainment, are reportedly close to a deal with HDNet that would have the network air six of the organization’s events in 2008.

The news comes from Sherdog, who confirmed the talks with Mike Kogan, director of FEG’s U.S. branch.

According to Kogan, the deal would likely go into effect next week with a delayed broadcast of today’s inaugural DREAM event in Japan.

“FEG has been working with HDNet in bringing the Dream 2008 Light and Middleweight GP events to North America,” Kogan said in the report. “While the deal is not officially signed yet, it is very close to being finalized with most of the important elements already agreed upon.”

Recent speculation suggested that HDNet may have been gunning for the rights to televise DREAM events after they aired DSE-promoted Yarennoka! live on New Year’s Day.

Officials from both HDNet and FEG confirmed that talks were ongoing but also stated that nothing had been finalized as of yet.

A Dream Fulfilled


Photo courtesy of Fight Entertainment Group.

A new era of Japanese mixed martial arts started last week when World Victory Road hosted their first-ever event. With the demise of PRIDE behind them, officials from Dream Stage Entertainment have paired up with Fight Entertainment Group, discontinuing the K-1 Hero’s brand and giving birth to DREAM, which will hold it’s first show tomorrow.

The event features a mix of stars and veterans from both former brands. As if it wasn’t feeling like a new version of PRIDE already, the first-round of a lightweight grand prix highlights the card. Shinya Aoki, Gesias Calvancante, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Joachim Hansen, and Mitsuhiro Ishida include the notable names participating in the tourney.

We’re done yet though. Fan favorites Hayato Sakurai and Ikuhisa Minowa will be in action. Oh yeah, Mirko Cro Cop too.

So how about a quick preview? Let’s get started…

Lightweight Grand Prix Opening-Round

Obviously the most-anticipated bout is between Aoki and Calvancante. The winner of the fight will quickly shoot up towards the top of the lightweight rankings. The two were booked to face each other at Yarennoka! but the bout was scrapped after Calvancante re-injured his surgically repaired knee during training.

While Calvancante was recovering, Aoki took on judo expert Bukyung Jung at the event and struggled towards a decision win. Jung will also be part of the tournament, facing a very tough test in Mitsuhiro Ishida.

As far as the fight itself goes, Aoki would be smart to quickly try and take the fight to the ground as his striking skills are far inferior to what Calvancante brings to the table. While Aoki has the ability to submit anyone within seconds, attempting to lock a submission from the bottom might prove to be the wrong decision against Calvancante’s ground and pound attack.

Continue reading "A Dream Fulfilled"

Hunt to Make DREAM Debut in May


Mark Hunt throws a left hand at Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.

Former PRIDE heavyweight contender Mark Hunt, who has not fought since being submitted by Fedor Emelianenko on New Year’s Eve 2006, has revealed that he will be returning to active competition in mixed martial arts this May.

The news comes from Rogue Magazine, who recently sat down for an interview with the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix champion.

According to Hunt, he will be fighting inside the confines of DREAM after taking on Semmy Schilt in a K-1 bout at the organization’s world grand prix in April.

‘My contract with K-1 only has one kickboxing match, the rest of my fights will be under MMA rules,” Hunt said in the interview. K-1 and DREAM are partners so my fights will fall under the new promotion. It’s good, suits me fine. I didn’t really want to fight K-1 since I’ve already won the title but I’m always up for a challenge.”

So are there any potential opponents for Hunt? Interestingly enough, he seemed to beat around the bush when Fedor was put into the equation.

“A fight against Fedor Emelianenko is another fight that will happen in the near future,” Hunt said. “That’s it for the moment though, I can’t say anymore about it.”

After nearly five years as a professional kickboxer, Hunt bursted onto the MMA scene in 2004 and quickly shocked the world with consecutive upsets over Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Cro Cop. Since then the New Zealand native has split his last four fights and has been concentrating on his part-time pro wrestling career during his time off since the demise of PRIDE.

Touch of gloves to MMA Man Japan for the find.

Cro Cop Now Dreaming of Mizuno


Mirko Cro Cop is introduced before his bout against Josh Barnett at PRIDE Final Conflict Absolute 2006. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.

Fight Entertainment Group announced today that Mirko Cro Cop will be officially returning to action this Saturday at DREAM’s inaugural event. His opponent? Not who you thought it was.

FEG officials revealed that Cro Cop would be facing Pancrase veteran Tatsuya Mizuno and not Yoshihiro Nakao, the Japanese heavyweight infamously known for kissing Heath Herring during a pre-fight staredown, and whom Cro Cop mentioned he would be fighting last week in his blog.

“A little over an hour ago I was contacted by DREAM officials,” Cro Cop said in the blog post. “They informed me that my opponent on March 15 will be Yoshihiro Nakao from Japan. It was very important for me to fight as soon as possible and I’m happy that DREAM was able to find the opponent for me.”

The move comes a few days after various sites connected to the Japanese mixed martial arts scene reported that the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) had made threats against Nakao if he chose to fight the former PRIDE heavyweight title contender.

The fight will be Cro Cop’s first since going 1-2 in an unsuccessful stint with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Croatian is currently on a hiatus from competing in the promotion. UFC President Dana White has stated that he believes Cro Cop will be returning before the end of the year.

Mizuno dropped two out of his three bouts in 2007. He was stopped with strikes by both Thiago and Assuerio Silva in consecutive fights but managed to rebound with a win over Masayuki Kono in November.

Five More Bouts Added to DREAM


Photo courtesy of Fight Entertainment Group.

Fight Entertainment Group has announced five more bouts for the upcoming inaugural event of the newly-formed DREAM promotion, which will take place on March 15th at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

Three of the fights have been announced as being part of the promotion’s lightweight grand prix: Mitsuhiro Ishida will take on Yarennoka! upstart Bu Kyung Jung, Katsuhiko Nagata goes up against Artur Oumakhanov, and Eddie Alvarez will face off against Andre Dida in a previously reported bout.

The new additions give the tournament a total of seven opening-round bouts, a number that DREAM producer Keiichi Sasahara confirmed as being final for the time being. Sasahara also announced that Caol Uno and Vitor Riberio, who were both advertised as competing in the tournament, will be unavailable due to injury.

Hayato Sakurai will look to extend his current four-fight winning streak against Hidetaka Monma in a non-tournament bout. The fight will take place at a catch-weight of 168 lbs. Also announced as being part of the card was Ikuhisa “The Punk” Minowa, who will take on an opponent yet to be determined.

Although Mirko Cro Cop announced yesterday via his official blog that he would be facing Yoshihiro Nakao in his first fight for DREAM, officials did not make any formal announcement other than Cro Cop’s participation at the event will still take place.

The promotion, which will also be run by officials involved with Yarennoka! and promoted by the Tokyo Broadcasting System, will now serve as the official successor for the PRIDE and K-1 Hero’s brands. K-1 announced plans for the discontinuation of Hero’s events earlier this year.

The complete card for the event thus far can be viewed through our rumors section.

Melendez Returns at “Shamrock vs Le”


Gilbert Melendez throws a right hand at Tatsuya Kawajiri. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.

Gilbert Melendez will return to action against Chute Boxe coach Cristiano Marcello at the Strikeforce and EliteXC co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le”, which take place on March 29th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.

The event features a highly anticipated clash between former UFC middleweight champion Frank Shamrock and undefeated Sanshou kickboxer Cung Le.

The news comes from MMA Weekly, who confirmed the fight with both fighters.

Melendez was originally scheduled to defend his Strikeforce lightweight title against Josh Thompson and then Bodog star Jorge Masvidal but both were forced to pull out because of injury. Marcello will fight for the first time since submitting Hector Munoz in September 2007.

Melendez, a Cesar Gracie product, was originally advertised as competing in the first round of DREAM’s lightweight grand prix later this month but revealed that he has not signed a contract with the promotion and is strictly with Strikeforce as of right now.

“This month, on March 29, I will be doing the EliteXC/Strikeforce show on Showtime,” Melendez said in the report. “I’ve got a commitment with Strikeforce, and I look forward to fighting in the States and getting some respect out here. I think it’s a great opportunity to fight in the Dream tournament. I love fighting in Japan, but right now I have a commitment with Strikeforce. I’m looking to just put my focus on Strikeforce; I’ve got a contract there and want to fulfill it.”

Cro Cop Gets Nakao in DREAM Debut


Mirko Cro Cop is introduced before his bout against Josh Barnett at PRIDE Final Conflict Absolute 2006. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.

It seems that Mirko Cro Cop will be returning to action on March 15th after all…

Cro Cop made the announcement on his official blog earlier today, also stating that he would be facing Yoshihiro Nakao in his first fight for DREAM, you know that guy who kissed Heath Herring?

“A little over an hour ago I was contacted by DREAM officials,” Cro Cop said in the blog post. “They informed me that my opponent on March 15 will be Yoshihiro Nakao from Japan. It was very important for me to fight as soon as possible and I’m happy that DREAM was able to find the opponent for me.”

The fight will be Cro Cop’s first since going 1-2 in an unsuccessful stint with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Croatian is currently on a hiatus from competing in the promotion. UFC President Dana White has stated that he believes Cro Cop will be returning before the end of the year.

Since being dropped pre-fight by Herring in the infamous kissing incident, Nakao has gone 2-1. He hasn’t fought since submitting Edson Draggo with a neck crank at PRIDE 34 last April.

Touch of gloves to Bloody Elbow for the find.

CKA: Mar 4, 2008

If you have some free time on your hands, be sure to check out one of the more exciting fights from the IFL’s first show of 2008 this past weekend, Matt Horwich going up against Ryan McGivern for the IFL middleweight belt.

As always major props go out to the IFL for actually going out of there way to make their fights available for everyone to see.

“Iron Ring” Debuts March 18th on BET

Remember that mixed martial arts project BET was discussing a while back? Well it finally premieres tonight.

From a press release we received:

BET introduces Iron Ring, a half hour weekly series that showcases mixed martial arts, the fastest growing new sports format in entertainment. With $100,000 in prize money up for grabs, these skilled competitors go toe-to-toe using the combined fighting techniques of jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling in teams owned and managed by Ludacris, Nelly, Floyd Mayweather, T.I., Lil Jon and Dipset.

CSAC Suspends Four

The California State Athletic Commission announced the suspension of four different fighters yesterday.

Three fighters who were slated to compete on World Cagefighting Organization’s disastrous San Diego show have all been suspended after testing positive for the steroid Nandrolone, the same steroid reportedly found in Sean Sherk’s system. Carlos Fuentes, Kyacey Uscola, and Gustavo Machado have all been suspended for a year and fined $2,500.

Fabio Costa, who last competed at Fist Series’ WinterFist 2008 last month, tested positive for marijuana. He’s been suspended until May and fined $500.

Jae Suk Lim Wins SpiritMC Middleweight Title

Jae Suk Lim regained his SpiritMC middleweight title with a decisive win over top prospect Yoon Young Kim Sunday night. After the event, Lim announced that he will now be headed to Hawaii to compete under the ICON Sport banner.

Complete results below courtesy of MMA Weekly:

Jae Suk Lim def. Yoon Young Kim - TKO (Strikes)
A Sol Kwan def. Takaaki Aoki - Unanimous Decision
Jae Young Kim def. Soichi Nishida - TKO (Strikes)
Jung Hwan Cha vs. Dong Hyun Kim - Draw
Hans Olson def. Chang Seob Lee - Unanimous Decision
San An def. Dong Yoon Shin - KO (Punch)
Ye Won Nam def. Seung Hwan Kim - Submission (Triangle)
Dae Gun Kim def. Ok Myoung Kim - Submission (Heel Hook)

Kang Still Without Opponent for DREAM Debut

Denis Kang, who is currently training in Montreal, Quebec, Canada along with Georges St. Pierre and Jackson’s Submission Fighting, has informed The Fight Network that he still without an opponent for his first fight inside the confines of DREAM in April:

“I’m just going to go to Montreal, do my thing and get ready for whoever I’m going to face,” Kang said. “I think the Japanese MMA promotions like to keep their fans in suspense, whereas with the UFC, they really saturate the market with advertising well ahead of their events. DREAM has not even finalized the March 15 card. They’ve only announced like five of the fights.”

Touch of gloves to TKO Xtreme for the find.

Radio Schedule

12-1 PM EST - TAGG Radio
3-5 PM EST - The Beatdown
3-4 PM EST - The Fight Network Radio
8-9 PM EST - The Lights Out Show
9-10 PM EST - MMAWeekly’s Sound Off
11 PM EST - Knockout Radio

Report: Alvarez-Dida Set for DREAM Grand Prix


Eddie Alvarez has his hand raised after winning a unanimous decision over Matt Lee in July 2007. Photo by David Singer.

It looks like a reported April bout between Philadelphia Fight Factory product Eddie Alvarez and Mike Aina will not be coming to fruition after all.

Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that Alvarez has signed on to fight Andre Dida in the first round of DREAM’s upcoming lightweight grand prix on March 15th.

“The fight is 100%,” Alvarez told Sam Caplan in the report. “I just got a call from my manager, Monte Cox and everything is underway. Everything is approved and I’ll be heading over to Japan on March 10tj to fight in the lightweight Grand Prix. Monte talked it over with EliteXC and they were happy to work with DREAM. I’m sure they want to do business with them in the future so I’m sure they are more than happy to lend me over and let me do the fight.”

Alvarez inked a three-fight deal with EliteXC last month. The contract with also allow to compete in select M-1 Global events as well.

The former Bodog Fight welterweight champion is coming off of an impressive knockout of Ross Ebanez in the most recent edition of the ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series on Showtime.

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