DREAM

Aoki, Sakurai Confirmed for DREAM GP


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.

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Partial List of Fighters Announced for DREAM Featherweight Grand Prix


Chase Beebe. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

Fighting and Entertainment Group announced at a press conference today in Japan a partial list of fighters that will be competing in DREAM’s inaugural featherweight grand prix, of which the opening round begins at DREAM.7 on March 8.

The fighters officially confirmed for the tournament include: Chase Beebe, Takafumi Otsuka, Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura, Masakazu Imanari, Micah Miller, Kim Jong Won, Hiroyuki Takaya, Hideo Tokoro, Atsushi Yamamoto, Bibiano Fernandes, and Joe Warren.

DREAM officials also announced that the winner of the February 10 bout between Daiki Hata and Shoji Maruyama at DEEP’s upcoming next event will also secure a spot in the grand prix. Also, if he is able to recover from a lingering knee injury in time, pound-for-pound phenom Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto could receive a bye to the second round in the tournament.

Japanese Notebook: DREAM Releases 2009 Schedule


“Kid” Yamamoto. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.

DREAM parent company Fighting and Entertainment Group today revealed the promotion’s schedule for the new year, with DREAM’s first show being held on March 8 at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan and featuring the opening rounds of the organization’s inaugural featherweight and welterweight grand prix tournaments.

In total, DREAM will put on seven total shows in ‘09. Solidified dates for shows include April 5 at Nippon Gaishi Hall and December 31 at the Saitama Super Arena for the annual year-end K-1 Dynamite show. DREAM officials are also planning to hold shows in May, July, September, and October.

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Report: Beebe to Ink Multi-Fight Deal With DREAM


Chase Beebe. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

Former WEC bantamweight champion Chase Beebe has reportedly announced his intention to sign a three-fight contract with Japanese-based DREAM in order to compete in the promotion’s upcoming featherweight grand prix later this year.

According to MMA Weekly, Beebe made the decision to travel overseas after a proposed bout against Jeff Curran at WEC 37 in December fell apart. The Chicago native will take on East Coast prospect Mike Easton for the vacant Ultimate Warrior Challenge bantamweight title on February 21 before heading to Japan.

Beebe last at WEC 34 in June, losing a split decision to Will Ribeiro. Beebe captured the WEC bantamweight title during a five-round war with Eddie Wineland in March 2007 and successfully defended it against Rani Yahya in his next bout, but ended up losing the title to Miguel Torres early last year.

Aoki Clamoring for Fight Against Penn


Shinya Aoki. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.

Even though it may not be possible, at the moment or ever, Japanese grappling wizard Shinya Aoki wants to test himself against the best that MMA’s lightweight division has to offer - UFC lightweight title holder B.J. Penn.

From Sherdog.com:

“Personally, the most decisive fight in the world, the culmination, the pinnacle for me is B.J. Penn,” Aoki said on the eve of arguably his greatest victory. “Please do not misunderstand—I really need this to be clearly expressed in the media: Shinya Aoki will not go to the UFC. I just want to fight B.J. Penn. This is my selfish wish. I know that everyone says they want Penn, but I think I’m the number one Japanese fighter to be saying this.”

After his win over Eddie Alvarez last week, Aoki also got on the microphone and called out UFC President Dana White in the center of the ring, claiming that the best organization in the sport right now has to be DREAM. His comments go along with FEG President Sadaharu Tanigawa’s statement earlier this week saying that he would to purchase the UFC if the promotion were to go under because of the recent struggles of Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta’s Station Casinos empire.

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Tamura Bests Sakuraba; Aoki Submits Alvarez at K-1 Dynamite!! 2008


Shinya Aoki. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.

In a battle of Japanese MMA legends, Kiyoshi Tamura bested Kazushi Sakuraba, grinding out a hard-fought unanimous decision in the main event of K-1’s annual “Dynamite!!” show at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

After a colorful entrance to the ring, Sakuraba went right to work as he quickly took Tamura down and captured his back in the fight’s opening moments. However Tamura was able to swiftly reverse position and landed on top of Sakuraba, where he would spend the majority of the first round. Sakuraba nearly caught Tamura multiple times during the first stanza, including the final seconds, where he locked in an armbar on Tamura but was unable to finish him off before the bell.

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K-1 Dynamite!! 2008 Live Results

We will be going live at 1 AM EST with live results of this morning’s K-1 Dynamite!! 2008 event, which takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Feel free to leave comments throughout the morning. Live results are after the jump.

K-1 Dynamite!! 2008 will be headlined by a Japanese legends match between Kazushi Sakuraba and Kiyoshi Tamura. Additional featured bouts will include Eddie Alvarez taking on Shinya Aoki in a battle of top-ranked lightweights and Mirko Cro Cop making his his return to action against Hong-Man Choi.

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Manhoef Tapped to Replace LeBanner at “Dynamite!! 2008”


Melvin Manhoef. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.

Fighting and Entertainment Group, the parent company of DREAM, has announced that two-time K-1 kickboxing champion Jerome LeBanner will not be able to participate in his bout against Mark Hunt at FieLDS Dynamite!! 2008 tomorrow after being hospitalized with the flu.

Melvin Manhoef has been tapped to replace the Frenchman and will fight for the first time since announcing that he was entering into a temporary retirement following a disappointing first-round submission loss to eventful DREAM middleweight grand prix winner Gegard Mousasi in September.

Prior to his loss to Mousasi, Manhoef had defeated Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba in the tournament’s quarterfinal round. Manhoef, a native of Holland, also owns career victories over Ian Freeman and Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos.

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Minowa vs. Zimmerman Finalizes Jam-Packed Dynamite!! 2008 Card


Ikuhisa Minowa. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.

Fighting and Entertainment Group, the parent company of DREAM, has announced that longtime Japanese MMA veteran Ikuhisa Minowa will take on K-1 kickboxing champion Errol Zimmerman in the opening bout at FieLDS Dynamite!! 2008, which takes place on New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

With the announcement of the matchup, the 19-fight card has been finalized.

Minowa, a veteran of MMA since the glory days of Pancrase in the mid-90’s, will be fighting for the fifth time in 2008 when he takes on Zimmerman. Minowa has gone 2-2 so far this year, most recently falling to fellow Pancrase veteran Masakatsu Funaki via submission at DREAM.6 on September 23.

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Aoki-Alvarez, Hunt-LeBanner Announced for Dynamite!! 2008


Shinya Aoki. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.

Fighting and Entertainment Group today announced two additional bouts that will take place at K-1’s “Dynamite!! 2008” event on New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan: DREAM lightweight grand prix standouts Shinya Aoki and Eddie Alvarez will clash in a long-awaited battle while former K-1 kickboxers Mark Hunt and Jerome LeBanner will fight for the first time under MMA rules.

Aoki and Alvarez were originally slated to meet in the finals of DREAM’s inaugural lightweight grand prix in July, but Alvarez was forced out of the bout by Japanese officials due to an eye injury suffered in his semi-final fight against Tatsuya Kawajiri. Joachim Hansen replaced Alvarez and went onto upset Aoki with a first-round TKO win.

Since then, Alvarez has been on a temporary hiatus so he could get married in his hometown of Philadelphia while Aoki bounced back with a dominating performance against World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Todd Moore at DREAM.6 on September 23.

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