DREAM.4 Preview

Jason “Mayhem” Miller submits an alligator while posing for pictures during a pre-fight press conference for DREAM.4. Photo courtesy of FEG.

Japan’s DREAM.4 takes place this Sunday, June 15 and is headlined by the second round of the Middleweight Grand Prix. The event will be broadcast live tomorrow on HDNet at 4am ET.

Middleweight Grand Prix

There are four fights in round two with the winners moving on to DREAM.6 where a champion will be crowned.

Kazushi Sakuraba vs Melvin Manhoef

Another Sakuraba fight, another opponent who could kill him in the ring. At 39, can Sakuraba stand in there and take another savage beating? Manhoef is one of the most intense strikers at 185 and you can guarantee he’ll get his shots in on Saku. But we know Melvin has his limitations on the ground, Sakuaraba’s bread and butter. I think there’s one think we can count on in this fight; it won’t be a decision. Before 15 minutes is up, either Sakuraba will get KO’ed or he’ll submit Manhoef.

Prediction: Melvin Manhoef

Zelg Galesic vs Taiei Kin

The fight is essentially a rematch from a K-1 HERO’s event last year where a Galesic high kick opened up a cut on Kin’s eyelid and the match had to be called 36 seconds in. Since coming to Japan, Galesic has had a fair bit of trouble on the ground getting submitted in his first 2 fights. Sure enough, “Little CroCop” won his opening round fight via Armbar. Kin being a kickboxer will surely be contempt to keep the fight standing. He has good kickboxing experience but has only 5 MMA fight. I’ll take the taller Galesic.

Prediction: Zelg Galesic

Gegard Mousasi vs Dong-Sik Yoon

Mousasi is quietly making a case for Middleweight Top 10 lists. He’s 21-2, won eight in a row, can win via KO or submission and made beating Denis Kang look easy. Gegard is facing Judo specialist Dong-Sik Yoon, who is on a 4-fight winning streak. Yoon has won three of his fights by armbar (Dong-bar), but I can’t see him giving Mousasi too much trouble. Gegard is such a calm fighter and is dangerous in all situations.

Prediction: Gegard Mousasi

Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza vs Jason “Mayhem” Miller

Jacare is one of the best grapplers in the world. Known for his success in Jiu-Jitsu and ADCC tournaments, he’s become more of a name since joining Xtreme Couture. Mayhem is no slouch on the ground himself but it’d be wise if he stayed away from Jacare’s game. The big advantage Miller has is experience and has the skills necessary to defend Jacare’s offense and get the fight standing. Jacare is the “sexy” pick as he’s become quite the intriguing Middleweight prospect in a division that sorely needs a boost, and I’m gonna take that pick, but I hope to see Mayhem succeed in DREAM as his antics should make him a fan favorite in Japan.

Prediction: Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza

Lightweight Grand Prix

Due to injury, one final fight remains in the second round of the Lightweight Grand Prix. Waiting in the semi-finals are Eddie Alvarez, Caol Uno and Tatsuya Kawajiri. The Lightweight Champ will be decided at DREAM.5

Shinya Aoki vs Katsuhiko Nagata

Aoki took advantage of a questionable no contest and decisioned JZ Calvancante in the rematch to advance to the 2nd round. He’s tall, extremely flexible and has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. His opponent, Katsuhiko Nagata, is an Olympic medalist wrestler with only 6 MMA fights to his name. Aoki should have very little trouble with Nagata, barring the injuries he suffered against JZ aren’t a problem.

Prediction: Shinya Aoki

Other Fights

Heavyweight - Alistair Overeem vs Tae-Hyun Lee

Overeem is taking on a 300lbs ssireum (Korean wrestling) record-holder. Lee will have a considerable weight advantage but that shouldn’t stop Overeem from securing a win.

Prediction: Alistair Overeem

Heavyweight - Alavutdin Gadzhiev vs Ralek Gracie

Gadzhiev has the heavy hands, Gracie has the BJJ black belt. The Russian is on a seven-fight win streak, his most recent an impress KO while he was mounted. Gracie, who normally fights at 185 along with Gadzhiev, was originally scheduled to grapple Mirko Cro Cop so I believe he’s coming in heavier, which is why this fight is a heavyweight bout. Gadzhiev, who was training for Alexandre Ferreira before he had VISA troubles, should be ready for submission attempts coming his way.

Prediction: Alavutdin Gadzhiev

Featherweight - Hideo Tokoro vs Darren Uyenoyama

Two guys who are slick on the ground but Tokoro has a fair bit more experience.

Prediction: Hideo Tokoro


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