The worldwide featherweight rankings were shaken up this weekend as Hatsu Hioki upset Nova Uniao knockout artist Marlon Sandro yesterday at Sengoku: Soul of Fight. Not to be outdone, Hiroyuki Takaya proved that he was the better fighter in a rematch of the DREAM Featherweight Grand Prix final as he edged out Bibiano Fernandes in a narrowly contested affair at K-1's Dynamite!! 2010 New Year's Eve card.
Takaya used exceptional takedown defense, speedy striking, and damaging ground and pound to narrowly edge out the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace. Most of the fight was spent toe-to-toe on the feet as both fighters tried to capitalize with their hands, but neither fighter was able to land a knock down blow. Takaya edged Bibiano in the stand-up portion of the fight on most scoring cards, and Bibiano's successful takedown attempts were countered quickly by Takaya's sprawl or brilliant ground tactics.
The third round was the most definitive as Bibiano made the mistake of pulling guard in the early moments of the round. From there, Takaya pounded away at Bibiano for the rest of the round, defeating Fernandes and obtaining the DREAM Featherweight title. The victory caps off a three-fight win streak that has catapulted Takaya into the spotlight after many fans counted him out of the title picture due to his losses to Fernandes and Omigawa in the past. It should be interesting see who DREAM intends to match Takaya up with next.