Promoted from the FanPosts by Kid Nate.
DREAM 8's Welterweight Grand Prix was the focus of my first in-depth preview of this event, but now we'll focus on some of the exciting non-tournament bouts taking place on Sunday:
Sergei Kharitonov (16-3) is a PRIDE veteran who displays some outstanding technical boxing coupled with a base in Russian Sambo. His most recent victory came at DREAM 6 against Jimmy Ambriz in September. He'll be looking to finally get into regular battle as he takes on former UFC fighter Jeff Monson.
Monson (28-8) is coming off what many consider to be a generous win over Roy Nelson at Roy Jones Jr.'s March Badness MMA/Boxing card. Although a very close fight to call, some fans believe Nelson did enough damage over the course of the fight to warrant a victory. Monson was given the nod instead. Monson's background primarily is in submission wrestling which is supplemented by his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He'll obviously be looking to avoid the standup, and take this to the ground.
This is an interesting matchup for both fighters, but Kharitonov has the edge in my opinion. While Monson should be able to get him down, Kharitonov still has a venerable Sambo base to pull off escapes, and his technical boxing will be on an entirely different level than Monson. I think Kharitonov will squeak out the win here.
Note by Kid Nate: Since this preview was written, Dong Sik Yoon had to drop out due to injury and has been replaced by Riki Fukuda.
EliteXC, Cage Rage, PRIDE veteran Murilo "Ninja" Rua (16-9-1) will try to use his jiu-jitsu background to stop Dong "Dongbar Baby!" Sik Yoon from imposing his judoka background to come out on top in this matchup. Rua is coming off a loss to Benji Radach at EliteXC: Heat back in October while Dong Sik Yoon is coming off a loss to Andrews Nakahara at DREAM 6 back in September.
Rua will have the standup advantage, but Yoon is a slick judoka who can be pretty effective against the ropes and in the clinch. The only major disadvantage Yoon will have is that Rua is very well-rounded. Not only does he have solid standup skills, but he's also versed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu on the floor. It makes me wonder if Yoon will be able to submit Rua. I don't believe he has any way to win this bout in either the standup or ground department, but Rua may have problems finishing Yoon. Rua via decision.
Mark this matchup as Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro's "Welcome Back" fight. Ribeiro was one of the top ranked Lightweight in the world before going on hiatus after his defeat at the hands of Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante at the K-1 HERO's tournament Final back in September of 2007. Word on the street is that Ribeiro left the world of MMA to focus on building his jiu-jitsu school back in Brazil, but it looks like he's back to begin trying to seal some top standing in the Lightweight division once again.
Katsuhiko Nagata (4-4-1) will be in for a very tough fight in this one. Not only has he shown that he's susceptible to the submission, but he'll be going against "Shaolin" Ribeiro, a multiple CBJJ champion and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. It's likely that this is a setup match for Ribeiro to get back into his groove, so don't expect too much from Nagata. In my experience, Ribeiro is very methodical in his submission setup, so if Nagata can recognize those initial attempts, it's possible he could win a decision if he can put some leather to Ribeiro, but it's highly unlikely.
If you don't like Minowaman, shame on you! Who else would take on anybody, anywhere, anytime, and try to make it exciting. Who else would say... how can I make this Butterbean fight more enjoyable.... DROPKICK! He's the epitome of entertainment in the Japanese MMA scene, but he'll now be focusing on putting a win on his record with a matchup against Katsuyori Shibata (2-6-1).
Where is the appeal in this matchup? Minowa is a former pro wrestler while Shibata is also a former pro wrestler, although both fighters still actively participate in the pro wrestling scene in Japan. This is likely where the appeal for this fight stems from.
Shibata is susceptible to everything. Minowa has a huge edge on the floor, and Minowa is also good enough to avoid the big shot or get knocked out by someone like Shibata. Look for Minowa to pop the armbar and get the party started with the crowd!
This seems like a build-up fight for Nakahara as Shungo Oyama doesn't present any significant problems against the Brazilian Karate champion. There are some dangers though. Nakahara isn't a Brazilian black belt by any means, in fact, he's only managed to make a blue belt in jiu-jitsu. His base skillset relies on his Karate background.
Oyama has been heavily susceptible to the knockout, but he's also a guy who can pull off heel hooks and ankle locks on the floor... something Nakahara may not be ready for. If Oyama can manage to get Nakahara to the floor, it could spell trouble. I'm leaning toward Nakahara in this one, but Oyama may be a solid bettor's pick.
Check out Part 1 of my preview here.
Images courtesy of BloodyElbow.com user, Baudelaire