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DREAM 3 review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on July 21, 2009, 2:50 PM

DREAM 3

05/11/08
Saitama, Japan


-Your hosts are Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten! BAS!~!

-Ron Kruck runs down the Lightweight Grand Prix thus far, explaining that Shinya Aoki’s Quarter-Final match with Katsuhiko Nagata has been moved to DREAM 4 to allow Aoki time to recover from injuries suffered in his two fights with JZ Cavalcante at DREAM 1 and 2. Our other Quarter-Finals are Hansen-Alvarez, Buscape-Kawajiri and Ishida-Uno.

-We get a video package on Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller who’s on the undercard of this show. I love this guy and wish UFC would bring him back, as he could easily become a HUGE star with his odd charisma and MTV show and even though I doubt he’d win the MW title or anything, he’s better than like 75% of the guys they have at 185lbs. They show some highlights of his fight on HDNet with Tim Kennedy, which looks pretty good actually. Well, I haven’t seen a bad fight from Mayhem to be fair.

-Fighter intro follows and Mayhem is wearing a Triumph United t-shirt that I own. Word!

Takeshi Yamazaki vs Shoji Maruyama

Never heard of either of these two before so I’m going purely on what Bas and Kenny tell me here. Maruyama is just announced as “Shoji” and apparently he’s the current Lightweight King of Pancrase, having beaten Artur Oumakhanov. And word, finally HDNet have stopped overdubbing the entrance themes! So much better. Case in point: Yamazaki comes out to some odd lounge music that has Bas singing along. This RULES. Ah, Yamazaki is from the Grabaka gym, same as Misaki, Gono, et al.

First round begins and Shoji clips him with a pair of knees, as Yamazaki looks to get a single leg and take him down. Takedown from Yamazaki into half-guard, and then he gets full mount as Shoji tries a sweep and fails. It looks like he’s setting up for an armbar, and he hammer fists the head for good measure, but Shoji manages to wriggle back to half-guard. Full guard from Shoji as both men flail with ineffective punches. Yamazaki stands to drop some strikes and then goes back into the guard, but the change of position allows Shoji to push off and get to his feet. Yamazaki tries to bring him back down with a single leg but takes a hard bodyshot for his efforts. He switches to a double leg and gets Shoji down, passing quickly into half-guard. Into side mount for Yamazaki and he goes from knee on belly to attempt a full mount, but Shoji shifts himself into guard. Shoji lands some decent shots from his back, as Yamazaki lands with some hammer fists from the top. Shoji attempts to escape to his feet, but gets kept down in half-guard for a moment until he manages to get to his feet in a clinch. Takedown from Shoji now into half-guard and he lands with a knee to the face. Yamazaki reverses him though, and puts him on his back in side mount. Full mount from Yamazaki and he controls Shoji for a moment before Shoji shows some strength and rolls him into guard. Some heavy punches land for Shoji from the top and then he stands, landing an uppercut and a knee. Yamazaki gets to the clinch and they muscle along the ropes, before Yamazaki takes him down again. Into the half-guard and he looks to set up the far-side kimura, but Shoji reverses to his feet and clocks him with a beautiful knee to the ribs. Yamazaki manages to take him down again, pinning Shoji into the corner, and then he gets full mount and goes for the armbar. Shoji fights like a mother to avoid and somehow he doesn’t tap, and JESUS that looked like a bad angle. Somehow he gets out though and then drops some bombs with the same arm! Bell sounds there. Those guys were working HARD in that round.

Second round and Shoji misses with a wild flying knee early. Yamazaki clinches and trips him down, but Shoji reverses on the way and takes top position in half-guard. Shoji attempts the Hughes crucifix, but Yamazaki reverses and takes top position in Shoji’s half-guard. Yamazaki tries to pass, but Shoji goes for an oma plata and they end up in a weird position with Yamazaki almost hanging through the ropes. Ref restarts them standing and Shoji lands with a head kick, but Yamazaki tackles him to the ground in guard. Into half-guard for Yamazaki, but Shoji reverses and winds up on top. Knee from Shoji but Yamazaki works to his feet, taking a pair of heavy punches as he does so. They end up clinched along the ropes before the ref separates them. Ankle pick from Yamazaki puts Shoji on his back again and he looks to pin him down in half-guard. Yamazaki sets up for the kimura again, but Shoji blocks until the fight ends.

Really good opening match. I think Yamazaki has to take the decision as he came closest to finishing with the armbar in the first, and he controlled the majority of the fight, but it was close. And sure enough, Yamazaki takes the decision. That was a really good fight though, I’d definitely be interested in seeing both guys fight again.

Middleweight Grand Prix: First Round: Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller vs Katsuyori Shibata

Despite DREAM 2 pushing a Melvin Manhoef-Ralek Gracie fight as the final match of the opening round, this ended up being the match to decide the final Quarter-Finalist for the Middleweight Grand Prix. Mayhem was at this point considered by most to be a top-ten level Middleweight, mainly on the strength of his win over Robbie Lawler, and he was expected to easily defeat pro-wrestler Shibata in this one. DREAM seems like the perfect fit for Mayhem too, judging on his bizarre, grandiose entrance, as he comes out dancing to the ring wearing a bandana and a HUGE gold chain. He’s also wearing, of all things, ZEBRA-PATTERN tights under his board shorts. Whoa.

We’re underway and Mayhem does some posing early before landing a low kick. He walks in with his hands by his waist and Shibata swings some punches, but doesn’t land and Mayhem gets a clinch and lands some knees. Mayhem lifts him up for a takedown and escapes a guillotine, dropping some punches down into the guard. Shibata tries some upkicks but Miller quickly passes into half-guard. Full mount for Mayhem and he sits up and gives the peace sign to the camera! Mayhem lands some punches and then busts out the double Mongolian chop, and really it looks like he could finish Shibata now. He moves up for an armbar, and continues to land some hammer fists. Shibata looks to step over to avoid the armbar and manages it, but Mayhem quickly reverses him back to the mount. Few more punches from Mayhem but Shibata slips into half-guard. Mayhem elbows the thighs and gets into full mount again, and from there he lands some big punches directly to the face. From there Mayhem slips out to the side and locks up the Hughes crucifix, landing with a knee to the head. Unanswered punches to the head follow but the ref surprisingly doesn’t step in. Shibata tries to escape, but he looks completely trapped under Mayhem and Miller continues to land punches from the crucifix position. Mayhem lets go of the crucifix now and lands some more punches and knees to the body for good measure. Full mount again from Mayhem and he sits up with a flurry of punches for the stoppage.

Well, if you’re going to squash a badly overmatched opponent you may as well make it entertaining, and Mayhem did that here, mugging for the camera, going through loads of positions before finally putting Shibata away with the punches. Shibata literally had nothing for Mayhem and really that was to be expected. Entertaining one-sided match and now Mayhem moves into the Quarter-Finals at DREAM 4.

Middleweight Grand Prix: Reserve Bout: Melvin Manhoef vs Dae Won Kim

So this is the ‘Reserve Bout’ for the Middleweight Grand Prix then, with Korean Kim (last seen losing to Akihiro Gono at PRIDE Bushido 10) facing off with the murderous Dutch striker Manhoef. Suffice to say Ralek Gracie would’ve been a more interesting opponent for Manhoef simply based on his name alone! I was expecting the usual Manhoef massacre out of this. Melvin’s entrance is perhaps the most intimidating in all of MMA, with the trainer ranting and raving at him and the dog collar and everything.

First round and both men circle tentatively before Kim charges into the clinch. He desperately tries to get Manhoef down, but Melvin instead reverses and gets Kim down momentarily and lands a right hand. Kim pops right up and goes for the takedown again, but Melvin blocks and the ref breaks them. They call time to fiddle with Melvin’s glove, and then restart and exchange some punches, and surprisingly enough Kim fights fire with fire and seems to have Manhoef stunned! Kim clinches again and trips Melvin down, getting side mount, but the Dutchman manages to get to half-guard. Kim works to pass and lands some short punches, but Melvin rolls to reverse and gets to his feet. Melvin gets the takedown now and passes into side mount himself, and from there he lands with a BRUTAL KNEE and follows with hammer fists for the stoppage.

Wow, Melvin has some sick power in his strikes. Surprisingly Kim took the fight to him here, but once he got hit cleanly it was OVER. I know he didn’t win standing here, but Manhoef is perhaps the best one-dimensional fighter in MMA as standing or even striking on the ground he’s absolutely dynamite. Mad exciting fight for the time it lasted.

Daisuke Nakamura vs Bu Kyung Jung

Man, last time I saw Nakamura he was having his arm broken at the hands of Shaolin Ribeiro at Cage Rage. He’d since reeled off eight wins on the bounce though. Jung was coming back from the loss to Ishida at DREAM 1 and was still looking for his first MMA win. Entrance themes are absolutely hilarious for this one. What, did all the guys on this card watch re-runs of early 90’s game shows or something? Cause that’s what this music sounds like. And Nakamura is wearing PANCRASE BOOTS. WORD.

We begin and Nakamura lands with some strikes from the outside as Bas is like, WHY would you want to wear the Pancrase boots? Cause they fucking OWN Bas, that’s why! Takedown from Jung and he tries to hop onto the back and lock in the choke in one movement, but he slides off and then goes right into an armbar. Nakamura manages to defend initially, and then escapes a second attempt to go into Jung’s guard. This is better than the last Jung fight already. Nakamura takes a couple of upkicks but then settles into the guard, and then drops back for a leglock attempt. We end up with a duelling leglock spot, but then they pop free and come back to standing. Jung tags him with a combo, but then gets dropped by a counter and Nakamura ends up on top landing punches. Into half-guard for Nakamura and he elbows at the body. It looks like he’s going for a kimura and then rolls through into an armbar, but Jung pulls out and then tries to take the back! He ends up too high though and slips off, allowing Nakamura top position. Leglock attempt from Nakamura but Jung escapes and they stand. Into the clinch and Jung shifts around to a rear waistlock, but Nakamura pulls him down into a kimura only for Jung to escape to his feet. This fight is ill. They exchange some punches and Nakamura has his hands way low, jabbing out with his left, but Jung lands a combo. Nakamura tries a flying armbar but misses badly and now Jung takes his back with one hook in. Nakamura reverses and gets top position in the guard again, working his way into half-guard.

Jung looks for a sweep and works into full guard, but Nakamura stacks up and lands a couple of hammer fists. They fight for position on the ground and then Nakamura works the body with punches, before standing and taking a couple of upkicks before dropping back into the guard. Into half-guard for Nakamura and the action’s finally slowed down a little. Sweep attempt from Jung is avoided but he gets a guard in. Nakamura rolls for a leglock again but can’t get it and they come back to their feet. Clinch and Jung hits a beautiful trip takedown, but Nakamura reverses right away and goes for a heel hook. Jung clubs at him with the free leg and escapes, and now Nakamura gets on top and works to pass the guard, but almost puts himself in a reverse triangle. Instead he goes for a leglock again but the time runs out before he can finish it. Awesome round.

We’re going into the 2nd, and Nakamura opens with a jab and a snapping leg kick. Jung goes for a clinch and then gets a rear waistlock, looking for a suplex, but Nakamura hooks up a kimura Sakuraba style and then flips to his back and transitions to an armbar! Whoa. Jung manages to escape though and gets to his feet. Nakamura pops back up and they throw out some jabs before Nakamura COLD-COCKS him with a right hand, dropping Jung to the canvas! Couple of hammer-fists later and it’s OVER.

Fantastic, fantastic fight. Neither guy might be close to the top ten in the world or anything but that was a WAR, man, a completely great fight where I was expecting a waste of time. I love it when that happens. God bless Pancrase boots!

Welterweight Title Eliminator: Nick Diaz vs Katsuya Inoue

DREAM are pushing this as a Welterweight Title eliminator, although who the winner gets to fight for the belt they don’t say. Nice to see Diaz back at his proper weight, though. This was his first fight following the disastrous loss at the hands of KJ Noons. Pancrase veteran Inoue has a so-so record, his biggest fight being a loss to Yoshiyuki Yoshida in the Cage Force tournament that Yoshida went on to win. Pre-fight Bas starts singing Heal The World. Well, that was a bit random.

We begin and Diaz stalks forward and lands a head kick and some combos. He’s also taunting Inoue already, wasting no time. They clinch against the ropes and Diaz lands some knees inside before breaking off. They exchange punches and Inoue lands with a left, causing Diaz to taunt him again, as he firmly gets the better of the exchange. Inoue throws out a low kick but Diaz catches it and counters with a body punch and a left hook. Diaz clinches again momentarily and then they break off and he lands another combo. Into the clinch again and they exchange, and again Diaz looks to get the better of it. Inoue is landing too, but he doesn’t seem to be able to hurt Nick. Diaz continues to land up and down, punches to the head and body, and now Inoue is bloodied up. Takedown from Diaz to the half-guard and Diaz continues to land with punches. Inoue manages to get to his feet and the ref breaks them up to check over Inoue’s face, looks like his nose is busted up. They clean him up and he’s ready to go again, and quickly they exchange punches into the clinch. Diaz gets a leg trip and we end up with a weird position as Inoue grabs the ropes with his hands while Diaz holds his legs like a wheelbarrow. Ref calls time and warns Diaz for attempting a soccer kick, and then they restart and they trade off with punches again. Inoue comes back with some heavy counters but Diaz is outlanding him for the most part and he’s landing to the body as well. They break off from a clinch and now Inoue gets aggressive, winging punches at Diaz who blocks and taunts him before firing back with a combo. Suddenly Inoue looks in trouble as Diaz closes in and lands punches from close range. Inoue backs out but he’s SLIDING ALL OVER THE RING LIKE A DRUNK ON ICE!~! Diaz begins to land some really clean punches and I have no idea how Inoue’s standing, clearly out on his feet, and sure enough his corner do the right thing and throw in the towel.

Really fun fight with an awesome ending; I haven’t seen someone slide around the ring like that since Goodridge against Vovchanchyn back in the day. Diaz probably took more punches than he needed to here, but they didn’t seem to have any ill effect and he was outlanding Inoue anyway, and the trading definitely made for an exciting little fight. Good stuff.

-Intermission time, so Kenny and Bas run down the results so far and then take a look at the remaining fighters in the Middleweight Grand Prix.

-We get a long video package about the saga of Aoki and JZ, probably to fill time during the intermission.

-Aoki himself and his opponent Katsuhiko Nagata head out to the ring to talk to the crowd about their upcoming fight, Nagata saying he’ll be facing his best opponent yet, but he’ll win, while Aoki tells the crowd about his birthday, and that he’s thinking of this as his tournament and he’s going to win.

Lightweight Grand Prix: Quarter-Finals: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs Luiz Buscape

No clue why they would match these two up in the Quarters as they already fought once in PRIDE and well, the fight wasn’t all that great. I would’ve gone with Ishida-Buscape and Uno-Kawajiri myself, but ah well. Based on that first fight, and what both men had done since (for Buscape, that’d be practically nothing) I couldn’t see a different outcome and figured Kawajiri would win again.

First round begins and both men look tentative before Buscape lands with a couple of combos. Buscape shoots for a takedown but Kawajiri blocks it, and breaks off. Front kick attempt from the Brazilian but he slips and Kawajiri gets into top position momentarily before Buscape pops up and gets a single leg, putting Kawajiri on his back. Kawajiri works to his knees and they exchange some punches from there before they stand. Buscape tries to get him back down, but Kawajiri’s having none of that, even when Buscape drags him down with a single leg. Buscape manages to get a rear waistlock but he can’t pull Kawajiri down, so he twists over to attempt a heel hook. Kawajiri pulls free though and gets on top in the guard, landing some punches to a loud cheer from the crowd. Buscape tries to use a butterfly guard to push him away, but Kawajiri remains on top and lands some more punches. Couple of the punches land flush and Buscape manages to turn into a front facelock, but he eats some knees to the head as they get to their feet. Buscape muscles him into the corner of the ring but the ref breaks them up. They exchange punches and Kawajiri drops him with a combo, then gets into top position on the ground. Buscape locks up a closed guard, but Kawajiri postures up to deliver some ground-and-pound. Kawajiri passes to half-guard, but Buscape gets a nice sweep and looks to put him on his back. Kawajiri gets to his feet with Buscape holding the rear waistlock again, then drops for a single leg but still can’t get Kawajiri off his feet. Finally he manages to pull the base from underneath the former Shooto champ, but right away Kawajiri works to get back to his feet. Buscape lands a good knee as they stand, and Kawajiri continues to defend the takedown until the round ends.

Final round begins and Buscape throws a combo before charging in for a takedown, but Kawajiri defends and gets top position. He begins to land some punches from the top as well as some knees to the head, as Buscape works to secure a guard to defend. Few good punches land but Buscape reverses to his feet and clinches up, looking to take Kawajiri down. Big trip takedown from Kawajiri puts him on his back again though, and he gets into half-guard. More ground-and-pound follows as Buscape tries to kick him away. Buscape gets to his feet, but Kawajiri grabs him in a front headlock before they separate. They exchange some ineffective punches and then Buscape drops to his back, so Kawajiri gets on top for some more punches, before Buscape tries a reversal. Buscape takes his back as Kawajiri tries to stand, getting both hooks in for good measure, and he looks for the rear naked choke. He can’t get it though and Kawajiri ends up rolling into his guard to land some punches before the bell sounds.

Judges score it unanimously for Kawajiri, no surprise there. Fight was pretty much just like their first one, not the best fight ever but not horrible either, as Kawajiri was able to avoid the takedown for the most part, stay on top of Buscape and work his ground-and-pound game. Certainly better than Kawajiri’s last performance as he at least opened up with his ground-and-pound here. This was the worst fight on the card thus far but on a card this good that’s not saying much, and it wasn’t boring by any means.

Lightweight Grand Prix: Quarter-Finals: Eddie Alvarez vs Joachim Hansen

On paper this was easily the fight of the night, two guys who always bring the action and aren’t afraid to throw down with anyone. Hansen was the more proven of the two, having wins over the likes of Takanori Gomi and JZ Cavalcante, but Alvarez had looked great against Andre Dida in his DREAM debut and had really only lost to a guy much larger than him in Nick Thompson. Eddie also held the advantage in the wrestling department meaning he’d likely be able to dictate where the fight went. This was anyone’s fight and I was anticipating it more than anything else on this card.

We get started and Hansen stalks forward as Alvarez stays on his back foot. First strike goes to Alvarez, landing with a low kick. They trade punches and suddenly Eddie drops him with a short right! Alvarez pounces into the guard, but Hansen ties him up, giving himself time to recover, and manages to work a butterfly guard in. Hansen looks for the rubber guard but can’t quite get it right, and Alvarez manages to posture up a little, although he doesn’t deliver any damage. Armbar attempt from Hansen but Eddie pulls out and then stands up to a big crowd pop. Nice right uppercut lands for Alvarez and then he opens up with a combo that stuns Hansen, forcing the Norwegian to pull guard. Alvarez stands up quickly though and forces Hansen to join him, and Hansen obliges by landing a right hand. They trade off with strikes and it’s a pretty even trade, into a clinch where Hansen throws a knee that Alvarez catches and uses to slam him down. Alvarez stands up out of the guard though and Hansen’s forced to come back up to join him. They swing punches at one another and once again Alvarez connects harder, dropping Hansen for a split second before he pops right back up. Hansen fires right back into the clinch, but Alvarez trips him down again and lands in half-guard. Hansen quickly gets back to full guard and Eddie stands again, and it looks like both men have bloody noses now. Ref calls time to clean them off and we restart.

They circle and Hansen scores off a couple of low kicks, and then they exchange into a clinch and then Alvarez breaks with a right and scores with a combo. Back to the clinch and Eddie drags him to the ground, just avoiding a reversal attempt that would’ve given Hansen his back. Hansen works a butterfly guard and Eddie stands again, landing a nice bodyshot as Hansen stands too. They TRADE OFF with punches and it’s a shootout but this time Hansen lands harder, and so Alvarez slams him down! This fight rules. Eddie ends up in half-guard and Hansen ties him up, but Eddie manages to work free and lands a couple of decent shots. Eddie stands again and Hansen continues to come forward, landing with a left hand that causes Alvarez to go to the clinch. Hansen trips him down but Alvarez pops up instantly. Punching exchange follows with both men landing. Hilariously you can hear Hansen’s cornermen shouting him instructions and though I’m sure they’re Scandinavian, they sound just like rough English guys from a Guy Ritchie flick. Clinch is broken and Hansen scores with a low kick and a combination. Hansen grabs a plum clinch, but Alvarez trips him down and the round ends there.

Round Two and they clinch up early, with Hansen tripping Alvarez down, but Eddie works to his feet right away and then looks to take Hansen down. He gets him down but Hansen goes for a guillotine, but Eddie pops his head free pretty easily. Into Hansen’s guard, where Hellboy uses a butterfly guard to elevate Alvarez into the air and almost catches him with an armbar! Alvarez avoids, but ends up on his back and Hansen mounts him momentarily before Alvarez gets half-guard back. Hansen goes for the armbar off to the side now as Eddie looks to reverse, but Alvarez works his arm free and winds up back in Hansen’s guard. Back to their feet now and both men score with big combinations. Eddie clinches and looks for a single leg, then gives it up and opens up with punches again. Back to the clinch and Eddie spins to a rear waistlock, but Hansen secures a kimura and rolls to the ground. Alvarez escapes it and comes back to his feet, driving Hansen into the ropes looking for a takedown. He gets Hansen down, but again Hellboy goes for the kimura. Hansen transitions into an armbar attempt and it looks locked in, but somehow Alvarez slips free and stands! One minute left and now Hansen grabs a plum clinch and lands a knee, but he can’t get Eddie down and he drops to his back momentarily before being brought back up by the ref. Hansen swings into a clinch again but Alvarez breaks and lands a combo, then looks for a takedown. Final few seconds and Alvarez lands with a high kick and a pair of clean right hands as Hansen fires right back! Whew.

First round went to Alvarez for sure as he had pretty much all the takedowns and got the better of the stand-up. Second round was Hansen’s as he had a few close submission attempts and didn’t get especially hurt by the striking of Alvarez. But....it’s scored over the full fight so I’m honestly not sure how I’d score it, I think I’d go with Alvarez though. Judges have it a unanimous decision for Alvarez. I felt sure that’d be a split there but I guess they were more impressed with Alvarez’s striking and wrestling than Hansen’s submission attempts. Unbelievable fight though, this had it all, great striking, great grappling, total FOTYC level stuff throughout.

Post-fight Hansen calls Alvarez the toughest man he’s ever fought, and then says it’s always nice to fight in front of a Japanese audience, it’s nice to win in front of a Japanese audience, but it’s also nice to lose in front of a Japanese audience. That man is pure class. Alvarez then says he feels that they’re both winners in a fight like that, which goes down well with the crowd. See, this sort of stuff is the reason why this is the best sport in the world. Huge credit to both men and they’re fantastic ambassadors for MMA.

Lightweight Grand Prix: Quarter-Finals: Caol Uno vs Mitsuhiro Ishida

Uno had been given a bye into the Quarters as Vitor Ribeiro and Gilbert Melendez were not able to fight in the opening round, but he’d been given a tough draw as Ishida, outside of one loss to Gomi in 2006, had looked unstoppable, winning decisions over everyone put in front of him. Uno is a good fighter, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t see past another smothering decision for Ishida here and I only hoped that they’d match Ishida with a guy like Aoki in the next round in order to avoid another smothering win. Crowd are SUPER HOT for this and they’re behind Uno, despite Ishida bringing the AWESOMENESS with his emo entrance. WELCOME TO THE BLACK PARADE, BITCHES.

First round and they circle and throw out some feints with little action really. Low kick finally lands from Ishida. Uno answers with a pair of his own, and then stays on the outside, moving around Ishida. Low kick lands to the groin of Uno and the ref calls time to let him recover. They restart and continue to exchange low kicks, then go into a punching trade and Uno catches him, dropping him for a split-second! Ishida snaps back up and shoots for a double leg, then tries a belly-to-belly throw as Uno defends. Uno somehow manages to stay standing, but Ishida keeps driving forward, desperately trying to take Uno off his feet. Ref calls a time out and Ishida’s face is a mess, blood everywhere, looks like his nose got busted up badly. They let him carry on and they trade some strikes before Ishida catches a kick and goes for the takedown. Uno shows some sick defense to block, and then sprawls out to avoid another attempt. They clinch up and exchange some odd low kicks from inside the clinch, but the ref calls the break. They restart and Uno is the aggressor now, pushing forward and winging punches. Combo from Uno lands and Ishida shoots again, but once more Uno blocks it and they end up clinched. We go into a mad trade in the corner when they break momentarily, and then Ishida grabs a plum clinch and tries to land some knees. Referee breaks them up again and then they trade off again, with Uno landing with a combo that stuns Ishida. Ishida shoots again and this time he manages to get Uno down in the guard. Ishida works into half-guard as Uno looks to turn for a kimura, but Ishida tries the Matt Hughes spinning armbar, but can’t catch Uno with it and they come back to their feet. They exchange and once again Uno catches him and drops him to a knee, but Ishida comes back with a takedown and puts Uno on his back in half-guard again. Ishida looks for the mount, but Uno does a good job of blocking it, but then Ishida gets into side control. Mount from Ishida and then he takes Uno’s back with both hooks in, looking for the rear naked choke, but Uno defends and tries to roll into him. Ishida manages to retain the position, but on the bell Uno manages to reverse into his guard.

Into the 2nd and they circle and throw some feeler strikes, with Uno narrowly missing a kick as Ishida goes for an early shot. Uno tries a low kick but Ishida catches it and then spins to take the back, but he screws up trying to get his hooks in and Uno spins him over and mounts! Ishida tries to buck out, but gives his back and UNO SPINS RIGHT INTO THE REAR NAKED CHOKE AND ISHIDA TAPS!~! WOW.

Finish was unbelievable as Ishida made one little mistake, and Uno completely capitalized on it and closed the fight out. Leading up to the finish I had Uno ahead too, as he neutralized Ishida’s takedowns in the first round and outstruck him on the feet, bloodying Ishida up badly. Tremendous performance from Uno coming off what was quite a long layoff, and it was a big upset too as most people expected Ishida to roll right through him. Really good fight too as Ishida’s lay-and-pray game was nowhere to be seen, and he threw down with Uno even though it didn’t turn out so well for him in the end. Very good main event with a dramatic ending to boot.

-The other semi-finalists, well, Alvarez and Kawajiri as the fourth is yet to be decided, join Uno in the ring to celebrate as the show ends.

Final Thoughts....

After two poor efforts, this was a fantastic show from DREAM. Top-to-bottom, it’s one of the best recent MMA shows I can remember in fact. Obviously the FOTYC between Hansen and Alvarez is the best thing on the card, but Uno-Ishida was great too, as was Nakamura-Jung, and Manhoef-Kim and Diaz-Inoue were really exciting as far as the shorter fights go. Mayhem-Shibata was a total squash, but it was an entertaining one, and although Kawajiri-Buscape was a little slow it certainly didn’t suck. Alvarez-Hansen would be worth a recommendation alone, but on a show like this it’s just the icing on the cake. Two thumbs up for a tremendous show overall.

Best Fight: Alvarez-Hansen
Worst Fight: Kawajiri-Buscape

Overall Rating: ****1/2

Coming Soon....

UFC: 94-100, Fight Nights 17-18, and TUF VIII Finale.
Pride: 31.
DREAM: 4-10.
King of the Cage: Various shows

Until next time,

Scott Newman:
NewmanMMA@gmail.com






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