Event producer Keiichi Sasahara holds up a simulation of DREAM.12's white cage at a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo via DREAM Official.
Last week, DREAM posted a slick promo video to its YouTube channel which confirmed, after months of hinting and speculation, that October 25th's DREAM.12 will be contested in a six-sided cage. However, the actual structure wasn't visible in the clip.
At a press conference in Tokyo today, the promotion revealed a mock-up of "the white cage," along with plans to change DREAM's bout structure from one ten-minute and one five-minute round to the more standard three five-minute rounds (for this event only, thankfully). Since a boxing ring has been the norm in Japanese MMA for decades, DREAM is wading into all of this cautiously - for the time being, the cage is only expected to be used for one show per year.
Also announced were two bouts sure to have a direct impact on the DREAM lightweight division.
In a match first hinted at a few weeks back, Bellator's 155-pound champion Eddie Alvarez (18-2) will take on DEEP lightweight ace Katsunori Kikuno (12-1-1). The Kyokushin karate disciple Kikuno will enter the bout on a nine-fight win streak, most recently dispatching of Andre "Dida" Amade in his DREAM debut. Alvarez reeled off three straight wins in Bellator following his New Year's Eve submission loss to Shina Aoki.
One of Japan's hottest lightweight prospects, Korean Won Sik Park (7-1-1), will be put to the test as his faces recently-crowned Cage Force lightweight champ Kuniyoshi Hironaka (15-6). Following a disappointing UFC run at 170 pounds, Hironaka has gone 4-1, including three straight wins since his move to lightweight. Park - or "Parky," as he's been dubbed in Japan - hasn't tasted defeat since his first pro fight in 2006 and has three first round stoppage wins in DEEP this year. You can check out most of his fights on his YouTube channel.
October 6, 2009
Joachim Hansen (19-7-1 / champion) vs. Shinya Aoki (21-4)
2009 Featherweight Grand Prix Semifinals
Bibiano Fernandes (5-2) vs. Joe Warren (2-0)
Hiroyuki Takaya (11-6-1) vs. Hideo Tokoro (22-16-1)
2009 Featherweight Grand Prix Final
Fernandes/Warren vs. Takaya/Tokoro
2009 Featherweight Grand Prix Reserve Bout
Kazuyuki Miyata (7-7) vs. Daiki "DJ.taiki" Hata (11-5-3)
Super Hulk Tournament Semifinals
Hong Man Choi (2-2) vs. Ikuhisa Minowa (42-30-8)
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (6-4) vs. Bob Sapp (10-5-1)
Lightweight: Tatsuya Kawajiri (24-5-2) vs. Melchor Manibusan (2-3)
Lightweight: Daisuke Nakamura (20-10) vs. TBA*
* JZ Cavalcante withdrew with a knee injury.
* * * * * * * * * *
October 25, 2009
Osaka Castle Hall
Paulo Filho (18-1)
Kiyoshi Tamura (33-13-2)
Andrews Nakahara (2-1)
Alistair Overeem (29-11, 1 NC)
Yoshiro Maeda (25-7-2)
Marius Zaromskis (12-3)
Murilo "Ninja" Rua (17-10-1)
Myeon Ho Bae (8-4)