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DREAM 9 review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on August 27, 2009, 1:52 PM

DREAM 9

05/26/09
Yokahama, Japan


-Your hosts are Michael Schiavello, Guy Mezger and Mike Kogan. What, no Bas? Boo! They literally run down the card in super-fast time, talking about the quarter-finals of the Featherweight GP and then the ludicrous Openweight Super Hulk Tournament, and whammo, no fighter intros, itís time for the first match.

Super Hulk Tournament: First Round: Bob Sapp vs Minowaman

Aw man, what can you say about this? From what I know the Super Hulk Tournament was put together to attempt to get DREAMís flagging ratings up, and what else attracts the Japanese fan more than classic freak show stuff like this, a tournament with eight guys of totally different weight classes, featuring the 185lbs champion, a solid 205lbs guy, three absolute giants, a former baseball player and another 185lbs fighter. All thrown together randomly, too. Case in point: Sapp vs. Minowaman, a fight with a weight difference of oh, about 200lbs or so. And itís not even the biggest freak show on the card!

We begin and Sapp charges in, but takes a right hand and then Minowa shoots on a single leg. Sapp blocks and they sort of tumble to the ground with Sapp on top. It looks like heís going for some sort of armlock, and then Minowaman gives his back, but Sapp screws up on a choke and Minowaman ends up on top in the guard. Minowaman goes for an Achilles lock, and thatís enough for the tapout.

Ha. I mean, in 2002 Minowaman probably leaves this fight on a stretcher, but in 2009 Bob Sapp absolutely sucks and belongs nowhere near an MMA ring or cage, and so there you go.

Super Hulk Tournament: First Round: Hong Man Choi vs Jose Canseco

Yeah, you read that right. The giant (7í2Ē, 367lbs) Korean kickboxer Choi taking on disgraced baseball legend and known steroid abuser Jose Canseco, in Joseís first ever MMA bout at age 44. Do I need to say any more? Really? This was perhaps, in a world of freak show bouts, the most bizarre of all time. I mean literally, throughout the weeks leading up to this fight I was joking on AIM constantly with Drqshadow about what the hell might happen if Canseco somehow got seriously hurt or worse, died. The mind boggles. Mezger actually sounds worried about Canseco and quite rightfully so. Hilariously Jose comes out wielding a baseball bat and is cornered by nobody but his wife or girlfriend. Well, if heís allowed to take that bat in with him it might be a fair fight. Key word being might.

And here we go. Canseco actually comes out and lands an overhand right off the bat, but it doesnít seem to affect Choi. He tries to circle off and throws a couple of kicks, but mainly heís trying to hit and run and thereís no way thatís going to work. Choi lands a couple of shots from the outside but theyíre mad slow and somehow Jose seems okay. Canseco keeps on running and trying to throw kicks, but it looks like his knee blows out at one point and then Choi drops him and pounds him until Jose taps out.

Fight went like, 1:20 or so and thatís about a minute longer than I was expecting. Absolutely pointless stuff although it was nice to see Canseco escape without serious injury. Waste of everyoneís time but itís Hong Man Choi vs. Jose Canseco, what do you expect?

Super Hulk Tournament: First Round: Sokoudjou vs Jan Njorte

Compared to the previous two bouts this almost seems normal. I mean sure Njorte outweighs Sokoudjou by like, 130lbs, but that advantage is outweighed by the fact that the South African well, absolutely sucks. As a Sokoudjou fan I was happy with this as it basically guaranteed the guy a win after a rough period of three losses in four fights.

Round One and Sokoudjou lands a nice body kick and clinches, looking to take the larger man down. Njorte uses his sheer size to block the takedown, and very little happens so the ref separates them. Sokoudjou lands a nice leg kick off the restart and another, and a third looks to have Njorte hurt. Sokoudjou shoots again, but Njorte uses the ropes to block, but this time Sokoudjou trips him down and OPENS UP with some BRUTAL GROUND AND POUND. Njorte rolls and the referee comes in to stop it....but Sokoudjou absolutely LOSES THE PLOT and keeps on whacking Njorte, causing a total melee after the bell as Njorteís corner flood the ring to confront him.

Fight went basically as I expected but I have no idea what caused that display from Sokoudjou as he comes off like a really laid back guy normally. Iím guessing it was just an adrenaline rush or something as I donít think this was a personal feud, but even so, itís bad form for the African Assassin. Post-fight he at least apologizes for his actions.

Super Hulk Tournament: First Round: Gegard Mousasi vs Mark Hunt

On paper this was the most intriguing fight of the Super Hulk Tournament, as DREAMís 185lbs champion Mousasi moved up to Heavyweight for the first time. Granted, Hunt really hadnít meant all that much in MMA since 2006, but heís still a big guy who knows how to fight and thus this was a challenge for Gegard at least.

First round begins and Mousasi quickly uses a low kick to take Hunt off his feet, and drops down into side mount. Mousasi lands a knee to the body and then it looks like heís working to isolate the far side arm. Straight arm kimura follows ala Matt Hughes on Joe Riggs, and Hunt taps out.

Well, that was an absolute whitewash. I didnít expect it to be quite so quick and easy for Mousasi but Hunt didnít look in any way motivated and Gegard just blew right through him. Great fighter, Mousasi. From a hardcore fanís perspective DREAM wouldíve been better off just doing Mousasi vs. Sokoudjou for a 205lbs title rather than this weird tournament, but then if theyíd done that they wouldnít be a Japanese promotion. So itís Minowaman, Choi, Sokoudjou and Mousasi in the Super Hulk semi-finals.

-They show a video package set to Robbie Williamsís Let Me Entertain You, and now itís time for the fighter introduction. Weird that theyíd have it *after* the first four fights, but whatever.

Tatsuya Kawajiri vs JZ Cavalcante

See, how can you go from freak show nonsense to an absolute barnburner like this? Two guys perennially ranked in the top ten or thereabouts at 155lbs facing off for the first time. To say I was pumped would be an understatement. This was actually JZís first fight for over a year following various injuries, but Iím still a huge fan of his and was taking him to beat Kawajiri somehow.

1st round begins and they exchange some early strikes with JZ looking to use his length to keep Kawajiri on the end of his punches. Nice right hand from JZ and then Kawajiri shoots, but JZ blocks it. Kawajiri keeps trying it but JZ locks up a guillotine and pulls him down, but he canít finish it and Kawajiri ends up kneeling. JZ lands some knees to the head and then pulls guard to try to finish the submission, but Kawajiri pops free and heís into JZís half-guard. Kawajiri works to pass and lands some short blows to the head, but JZ manages to get back to full guard. Kawajiri lands to the head and the body, but JZ is doing a good job from his back defensively, and heís not taking a huge amount of damage. He tries to kick Kawajiri away, but the Crusher keeps top position and avoids an elevator sweep from the butterfly guard too. Into half-guard now for Kawajiri and he works to pass into side mount. JZ right away works back to full guard though. Good job of escaping there. Few nice hammer fists land for Kawajiri but JZ manages to scramble to his feet as the Crusher postures up. Kawajiri gets right back on him though and gets another bodylock takedown to guard. JZ goes for rubber guard, but Kawajiri slips free of it and continues to land with short punches. Referee decides to restart them for inactivity and they exchange some punches with Kawajiri surprisingly seeming to get the better of it. Good right hand lands for the Brazilian to follow a high kick though. JZ shoots on a single leg but Kawajiri hits a nice sprawl to avoid and they wind up clinched along the ropes. They exchange knees along the ropes and Kawajiri lands some really good ones to the midsection, as JZ tries to muscle him down. Referee separates them with 90 seconds remaining and JZ swings some hooks that donít connect. Good counter uppercut from Kawajiri as JZ comes forward. JZ is trying to establish his jab here but heís having little success and Kawajiri clocks him with a pair of stiff left hands. Double leg from Kawajiri and he gets JZ down to guard, and the round ends as JZ goes into crackhead control from rubber guard, but eats some shots from the Crusher. Excellent first round.

Into the 2nd and JZ pushes forward, but he takes a BIG right hand from Kawajiri coming in. Double leg attempt from the Crusher and he gets JZ down, escaping a guillotine right away. JZís nose looks bloody now as Kawajiri looks to escape the half-guard. Referee begins to ask JZ if he wants to give up, is he on crack or something? The Brazilian gives his back and then scoots out the back door to his feet, but Kawajiri stays firmly on him and they clinch against the ropes. Kawajiri works to trip him down, but the referee breaks them up. They circle off and exchange some punches and jabs, and Kawajiri lands a beautiful right hand and follows with a stiff combo. JZ is looking tired now and Kawajiri shoots and gets a double leg to half-guard. He tries to mount and gets to it, but theyíre badly stuck in the ropes here. JZ is being absolutely neutered here. Kawajiri continues to chip away at him with short punches, and finally the ref moves them to the center of the ring. JZ scrambles to get a butterfly guard back in, and escapes the mount, but Kawajiri remains in control in half-guard. It looks like he might be prepping some sort of front choke, but youíre not going to catch JZ with something like that and instead he uses it to pass to side mount. With seconds remaining he opens up a little with punches, and the fight ends there.

Very good fight but Kawajiri has to take the decision, and sure enough itís a 3-0 decision for the Crusher. That was perhaps the best performance from Kawajiri since his PRIDE days, as he shut down one of the best fighters in the world, not only outwrestling him and controlling him on the ground, but also lighting him up standing too. I suspect JZ was suffering from a bit of ring rust and he definitely slowed down a lot in the 2nd round, but he didnít disgrace himself against a world-class talent like Kawajiri and for him to step in against the Crusher for his comeback fight says a lot in itself. Not a FOTYC or anything but it was still very good.

Post-fight Kawajiri gets on the mic and challenges Masato for his next fight in K1, as well as asking for a title shot against Joachim Hansen on NYE.

Featherweight Grand Prix: Quarter-Finals: Hideo Tokoro vs Abel Cullum

So Tokoro had been eliminated by DJ Taiki at the previous DREAM show, but I guess he got injured somehow and so they reinstated Tokoro to take his place. Fine with me as the Taiki-Tokoro fight had been a close one anyway and I like Tokoro. Cullumís grappling game had looked fantastic in his opening round match against Wicky Akio and on paper this one promised fireworks. Schiavello screws up during the entrances and tells us Tokoroís coming off a win over Taiki when thatís not actually the case. Neither Mezger nor Kogan bothers to correct him, either.

First round gets started and both men look willing to strike, with Cullum landing a right hand over the top to counter a low kick. Good low kick from Tokoro but Cullum shoots on a double leg and gets him down to the ground. Tokoro reverses right away and gets back to his feet. Good left high kick from Tokoro but Cullum swings right back and he is swinging bombs. The pace here is insanely high. BIG KNEE to the midsection folds Cullum and he looks to grab a leg as Tokoro pounds away, and then slides his way right into a triangle choke! Cullum looks caught as Tokoro tightens it up, but somehow the cowboy holds on! Tokoro grabs his leg to pull him to the ground, still holding onto the triangle, and I have no idea how Cullum is still in this. Tokoro tries to lock up some sort of arm submission as well, but finally Cullum manages to wrench his head free and he drops some knees from the side position with Tokoro turtled up! Cullum looks to pound away but now Tokoro reverses and heís got the back and then the full mount! Tokoro tries to step into a mounted triangle but Cullum slips free and now Tokoro tries to leap onto his back again. Switch from Cullum lets him get on top in half-guard, and after another scramble Cullumís on top in full guard. Nice punches to the head and body from Cullum.

Tokoro scrambles to his feet, and now theyíre going TOE TO TOE! This is AWESOME. Both men are landing some heavy shots here and then Cullum drops for a takedown and puts Tokoro on his back in guard. Punches to the head and body from Cullum, but Tokoro goes from a triangle to an oma plata attempt. Cullum rolls and Tokoro ends up in top position now, in Abelís guard. Cullum tries a kneebar and it looks locked up, but Tokoro wonít tap and Cullum looks for a toehold instead. Tokoro answers by cracking his head with the free leg, and he escapes and now looks to take the back! Cullum tries the kneebar again though but Tokoro slips free into side mount. Scramble again now and Cullumís looking for a single leg. He switches to a double leg but Tokoro grabs the ropes to block, but the referee pulls him off and Cullum lifts him for a BIG SLAM! Into half-guard for Cullum and he lands a few punches as Tokoro looks to roll out. Cullum almost gets his back, but Tokoro escapes that and heís got full mount. Good lord. Cullum scrambles free though and Tokoro tries a diving knee into his guard, and another scramble follows with Cullum in half-guard pounding away. Round ends with Cullum landing punches on top.

If they keep this pace up this could be the Fight of the Year, seriously! NO idea how Iíd score that round either. Thank God DREAM donít have the ten point must system!

Into the 2nd and Cullum catches a kick and gets a single leg, and they go into a wild scramble with Tokoro rolling for an armbar. Cullum escapes and reverses into what looks like a kimura, but Tokoro escapes that and takes full mount. He looks for an armbar but canít get it, and instead he goes to side mount. Cullum looks to roll free but he gives his back, and Tokoro almost gets a bulldog choke but canít quite lock it up. Cullum tries to stand and escape, but Tokoro then locks up a rear naked choke without the hooks in properly, just sort of locking his legs around the side, and Cullum taps out there!

Incredible fight. Cullum looked tired coming into the 2nd and it looked like that was what cost him, but man, who wouldnít be tired after an opening round like that? Hell, I was tired just watching it. Absolutely awesome stuff. Easy contender for Fight of the Year and Iíd have it just behind Condit-Kampmann and Sanchez-Guida in my overall list at the minute. I think Tokoro just made up for his re-entry into the tournament with that win, too. Wow.

-We get a segment about the Grand Prix with Ron Kruck, and man does Joe Warren come off like an arrogant guy, saying heís the baddest man on the planet and you just canít train for a guy like him because heís a born warrior. Strong words! They then show us some highlights from the 2008 GPs and the highlights for me are still Unoís rear naked choke of Ishida, and Mousasiís upkick knockout over Jacare.

-Did I ever mention I hate the intermission on these Japanese shows? Weíre stuck with a shitty segment now with Mach Sakurai and Shinya Aoki in the ring cutting promos. They do announce that Aoki is fighting Shaolin Ribeiro while Melvin Manhoef is taking on Paulo Filho at DREAM 10 though. Two awesome fights on paper.

Featherweight Grand Prix: Quarter-Finals: Yoshiro Maeda vs Hiroyuki Takaya

Battle of the WEC veterans here. Despite Maeda having more success in the US promotion than his opponent, he usually fights at 135lbs while Takayaís a pretty solid 145lbs, so on the size difference alone I was picking the ĎStreetfight Banchoí. Or ĎEvil Fistí if you go by his WEC nickname. Both are cool.

We begin and Maeda opens with a low kick. He catches one from Takaya and lands a right hand, then trips Takaya down and lands a punch over the top into half-guard. Takaya looks to tie Maeda up from the position to prevent any damage, but as they scramble up Maeda clips him with a knee. They circle and swing some shots with neither landing anything major, but Maeda is countering nicely and landing some good stuff. Takaya comes back with a right that hurts Maeda though and Maedaís right eye is swelling, evidently Takaya is the harder puncher. Maeda looks for the takedown again and clinches against the ropes, then secures a single leg and gets Takaya down. Maeda passes into half-guard, as Mezger on commentary riffs on the Japanese judging, still bitter from some of his PRIDE fights I guess. Maeda drops a couple of shots over the top, but Takayaís still looking to tie him up for a stand-up. Takaya ends up seated in the corner of the ring and takes a pair of VICIOUS KNEES, but then he manages to pop up and somehow looks okay. Big left hook from Takaya glances off the side of Maedaís head. Big leg kick from Takaya too. Both men continue to swing punches and now Takayaís cut over his right eye. Takedown from Maeda and Takaya ends up seated next to the ropes before going onto his back and Maeda has him mounted. Referee calls a break to get Takayaís eye checked, and they decide to let it continue. They restart with Maeda still in full mount, but Takaya does a good job of working back to half-guard. Takaya looks to kick him away and so Maeda stands over him and drops some punches down, then goes back into the guard. Scramble almost lets Takaya back to his feet, but Maeda keeps him down in half-guard. Referee decides to stand them up with about a minute to go and they go back to striking, and this time Takaya pops him with a BIG RIGHT HAND that sends Maeda down! Takaya pounces and pounds with hammer fists and ITíS OVER!

Talk about fireworks for the ending! I actually had Maeda well ahead in that round but it was clear from early in the fight that Takaya packed more dynamite in his punches, and when he landed clean, bam, that was that. Fight was a lot of fun although it wasnít anywhere near as good as Tokoro-Cullum. So weíve got two Japanese fighters in the semis now, Tokoro and Takaya.

Featherweight Grand Prix: Quarter-Finals: Bibiano Fernandes vs Masakazu Imanari

Ha, one guess who I was rooting for here. I think anyone who reads these reviews knows I cannot stand Imanari. The last BJJ black belt he fought (Jean Silva) got his knee shredded up though after making the mistake of playing footsie with the Japanese leglock expert, and I was hoping Bibiano wouldnít make the same error here.

Opening round begins and they circle momentarily before Fernandes catches a kick and gets a takedown. Imanari pops up quickly though and weíre back to circling. Takedown from Bibiano into half-guard and he opens up with some punches before Imanari rolls for a leg. Bibiano gets outta there seriously quick and weíre back to standing. Both men look tentative and then Fernandes gets a takedown to guard, landing a right hand to keep Imanari down as he tries to explode to his feet. Bibiano stands over him and kicks at the legs, and then the ref calls Imanari to his feet. Low kick from Imanari but Fernandes catches it and lands a right hand that causes Imanari to drop to his back. He comes up right away though and eats a leg kick from the Brazilian. They exchange some kicks and then Bibiano catches another one and tosses Imanari down, where he lands with some kicks to the legs. Referee stands Imanari back up and he goes for a kick before dropping to his back again. Fernandes looks frustrated now and kicks the legs again. Ref brings Imanari back up again and he takes a leg kick. Imanari is doing nothing here just like in his opening round fight. This guy SUCKS. Referee outright calls time now and warns the fighters about not engaging. They restart and surprisingly enough Imanariís STILL doing jack shit. Can we not just DQ this guy and throw him out of the tourney? He drops to his back again and like before Bibiano kicks the legs before the ref calls Imanari up and issues him an official warning for inactivity. More SHITTY CIRCLING follows before Imanari tries a flying knee and then falls to his back. Bibiano ends up on top this time in side mount and he lands with some nice knees to the side of the head. You know, I would pay good money to see Jose Aldo or Miguel Torres fight this guy because Imanari would DIE. More knees to the body from Bibiano and the round closes out with the Brazilian in side mount.

2nd round and Fernandes catches a low kick and sweeps Imanari to the ground, but he gets right back up. Imanari outright SITS DOWN in the ring now and then drops to butt-scoot before standing. I am so bored that I might make a list of fighters who donít suck as much as Imanari, but then Iíd end up filling the WHOLE FUCKING REVIEW. Imanariís now in a shitty sidewards stance which is making it easier for Bibiano to land with leg kicks. Eventually Imanari drops to his back again and scoots around like a crab, before Bibiano decides to go into the guard for a moment before standing out. Imanari looks for one of his deadly leglocks and he almost has it, but thankfully Bibiano escapes and stands. Imanari clinches and forces him backwards, and then drops to his back AGAIN where he takes more kicks to the legs. Even the REF is pissed now and for some reason he warns Fernandes, which DISGUSTS Mezger on commentary, quite rightfully so, saying if Bibiano deserves a warning then Imanari should be thrown out of the ring. I would like to see that. Takedown to half-guard from Bibiano but they come up quickly, and now Imanariís reduced to baseball sliding at the legs. Maybe he took tips from Jose Canseco backstage? And we get more of the same nonsense to end the fight.

If Bibiano Fernandes loses this fight then I am done with DREAM. Imanari is possibly the most frustrating, shitty fighter to watch in all of MMA, and this is a sport that has guys like Antonio McKee in it. Thankfully Fernandes takes the decision. Now hopefully thatís the last we ever see of Imanari in DREAM and I never have to review another one of his shitty fights.

Featherweight Grand Prix: Quarter-Finals: Joe Warren vs Kid Yamamoto

No surprise that the returning hero Kid would be given the most inexperienced guy in the line-up in world-class Greco wrestler Warren, then, although I wouldíve preferred to see him beat the shit out of Imanari. Kid was coming off an eighteen month layoff, however, and on paper Warren was one of the few guys with a wrestling advantage over him, so there was some intrigue around the fight at least. Looong video package on the trials and tribulations of Kid (heís been out 512 days apparently) pre-fight to get over the magnitude of his return. Kid enters to the Darth Vader theme leading into some rap track and he gets a HUGE pop, easily the biggest star on this card. Bit of a weird staredown as it looks like Kidís going for a hug, but Warren shoves him right away. This is going to rule.

Weíre underway and they exchange body kicks at the same time before Kid uses a push kick. Brief slip from Kid and then Warren clinches. Kid looks for some knees but Warren comes back with some nice dirty boxing, landing uppercuts, and now Kid looks for the takedown. He lands a brutal knee to the body in the exchange and then theyíre back to the clinch. Kid should not be clinching like this with such a good Greco guy and sure enough Warren trips him to guard. Kid looks to tie Joe up as he lands a knee to the tailbone and then tries to break the grip for some ground-and-pound. Mini-slam from Warren as Kid really ties him up, and then Warren lands with some short punches to the body. Yamamoto tries to push off with a butterfly guard, but Warren stays on him and remains in top position in the guard. Another mini-slam from Warren but the referee decides to restart them standing. Kidís cut on the bridge of the nose and he also gets an official warning for stalling. They get back underway and exchange some kicks before Kid clips him HARD with a right hand to the temple. Man, Warren is a tough guy as he just took that and heís right back into the fight. Warren wades back into the clinch but Kid opens up with some knees to the body and then lands a nasty body kick as they break off. Counter right hook looks to have Warren stunned for a second but heís okay. Warren closes the distance again and forces him into the corner in a clinch, but Kid again works knees to the body and then breaks. Kidís leg kicks are taking their toll on Warren now. He shoots for a takedown but eats a right hand, but manages to clinch. Kid breaks and lands another right as Warren comes in. Warrenís chin is solid as granite. Takedown attempt from Warren but Kid blocks it. Clinch from Warren and this time he lands some knees and a right hand. Right hand from Warren into a clinch and they muscle for position before Warren breaks with an uppercut. Nice body kick from Kid. Takedown attempt from Warren and Kid grabs a plum clinch, but Warren quickly lands an uppercut and they trade inside before breaking. Brutal body kick lands for Yamamoto but Warren grabs him and takes him down to guard. Kid tries to tie him up again, but takes some chopping punches to the head and body. Round ends on the ground. Well, that was interesting.

Round Two and Kid opens with another leg kick. Warren tries to lunge into the clinch with a right hand, but Kid separates. They clinch up into the corner of the ring and exchange knees to break. Spinning backfist misses for Kid. BIG LEFT HOOK lands for Kid as Warren comes forward, but the American just eats it right up and gets into the clinch! This guy is as tough as nails. Single leg attempt from Warren after he eats another body kick, but he canít take Kid off his feet and Yamamoto lands another knee to the gut. Uppercut by Kid but Warren is an ANIMAL and he manages to get Kid to the ground in guard. This time Kid rolls for an armbar from the bottom, but Warren avoids it and retains top position, grinding away with his forearm into the face of the Japanese superstar. Referee brings them to their feet and Warren lunges in with an uppercut, but eats a HUGE RIGHT HAND that still doesnít faze him. Good lord is his chin good. Warren lunges into the clinch again and goes for the takedown, but Kid manages to stuff it. Good leg kick from Kid. Warren comes lunging in again and forces him into the ropes, and thereís less than a minute left now. Knees to the body from Warren and he gets a takedown to half-guard. Warren chops at the body and lands some hammer fists, and right on the bell he passes to side mount, but as he hammer fists Kid tries an armbar! He canít get it though and thatís all she wrote.

Incredibly close fight to call. I mean, Warren was more aggressive and he never stopped coming forward, but he was caught on the counter a LOT and some of the shots he took wouldíve felled heavyweights, let alone a featherweight. Judges have it a split decision for...... Joe Warren! UNBELIEVABLE. Never thought the Japanese judges would go that way, thatís for sure! I guess Yamamoto was suffering from a little ring rust, but Christ, to beat him in your second pro fight is quite the accomplishment. Warren talked a lot of shit prior to this but he sure as hell backed it up. Great fight. And thus the favourite for the tournament is OUT and our semi-finalists are Warren, Fernandes, Tokoro and Takaya.

DREAM Middleweight Title: Jason ĎMayhemí Miller vs Ronaldo ĎJacareí Souza

DREAMís Middleweight crown was vacated by Gegard Mousasi when the Armenian couldnít make 185lbs any longer, and so they put it up for grabs here, with the guy who Mousasi beat for the belt in the first place (Jacare) taking on a more than able contender in Mayhem, who had lost a close decision to Jacare in the Middleweight tournament. As a big fan of Mayhemís I was actually taking him to avenge the loss and claim the belt in this one. As always Mayhem gets a CRAZY entrance complete with silver jacket, choreographed dancing and Japanese schoolgirls. MAYHEM!~!

National anthems pre-fight as this is a title bout. Iíve said it before but this gives the title matches an extra dimension and itís something I wish the UFC would adopt from Japan. Gegard Mousasi then enters the ring (sporting a mad cool Affliction t-shirt) and hands the title belt over to a DREAM official ready for it to go to the new champion. Another cool touch there.

And we begin. Mayhem looks like he wants to jab, and he throws out a right hand that lands too. Low kick from Jacare to answer and then he shoots on a double and gets Miller down. Mayhem gets to his feet quickly with the help of the ropes, and then they clinch and Miller looks to secure a plum clinch. Jacare muscles him into the corner and then they separate. Combo from Jacare and thereís a trickle of blood coming from above Millerís right eye. They exchange some jabs, and then Mayhem catches a kick and trips Jacare down, landing with a kick to the head as he hits the ground. Referee suddenly calls time for the kick as it was apparently illegal, but Jacare is busted WIDE open on the head.

Kogan immediately says this could end on a No-Contest if the doctor rules a cut stoppage, as the kick was illegal but looked to be inadvertent as opposed to a blatant foul. Mayhem gets a yellow card as an official warning anyway, and the doctors are still checking Jacare over. Replay shows the kick did look intentional, but it was more that he threw it as Jacare was on the way down and not a blatant soccer kick to a downed opponent. Oddly enough you can see fans pouring out of the stands like ants now as if they already know whatís coming. Looks like theyíre letting it continue, though.

They restart and Mayhem swings a right hand, but Jacare tackles him from a bodylock into side mount. Miller scoots back to full butterfly guard but Jacareís head is bleeding bad again and the blood is all over Mayhemís chest. They come back to their feet off a scramble and now the ref calls time, angering both men who want to continue. Doctors take another look at the Brazilian and this time the ref gets on the mic and explains that the fight is over, while the other officials hold Jacare back as heís so angry. Officially itís a No Contest. Urgh. Post-fight is hilarious though as the doctors wrap Jacareís head in a towel making him look like some kind of Taliban insurgent or something.

-Announcers discuss the nightís action, as most of the fighters (the winners mainly but Kid Yamamoto is there too) enter the ring and pose for the cameras.

Final Thoughts....

Well, the Super Hulk Tournament was a waste of time for everyone involved, but at least the fights all ran short and didnít suck. The title fight ended in an anticlimax, but it was too short to really ruin the show which leaves us with Fernandes-Imanari as the lone stinker. Everything else is REALLY good, with Tokoro-Cullum being a genuine FOTYC and stuff like Kawajiri-JZ and Warren-Yamamoto being tremendous fun too. Take away the Imanari fight and give Mayhem-Jacare a proper ending and youíve got a genuine classic show, but as it is DREAM 9 is worth a strong thumbs up anyway.

Best Fight: Tokoro-Cullum
Worst Fight: Fernandes-Imanari

Overall Rating: ****

Coming Soon....

UFC: 95-101, Fight Night 18.
DREAM: 10.
King of the Cage: Various shows

Until next time,

Scott Newman:
NewmanMMA@gmail.com




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