I took a nap around 10:00 pm Friday night, and woke up around 2:00 am to get my Japanese MMA fix. DREAM.16 started off with a video that had to be conceived during a long night of Sake shots and a marathon of "The Seven Samurai" and" Crush Groove". TK pounded on the drums, Aoki flipped us off whilst looking like the 3rd (Japanese) Diaz Brother, and Saku......well, Saku was Saku. Michael "The Voice" Schiavello and Frank "FML" Trigg (our MC's for the night) donned Lucha Libre masks and even performed a mock fight.
Yusuke Kawaguchi vs. James Thompson
This was like watching two drunk dudes fight over beer nuts. Thompson still doesn't accept THE FACT that his chin is about as strong as a warm glass of water. Yamaguchi rocked him more than a few times, but this time Thompson had a GAME PLAN (Shocking, I know). His game plan of Thai Clinching and throwing weak knees wasn't enough to impress the Japanese Judges though. Yamaguchi won a split decision, to which Thompson commented by saying that he'd been raped by the judges....
My thoughts: Thompson needs to learn to protect his chin, and they both need to improve on their cardio.
Mitsuhiro "The Endless Warrior" Ishida vs. Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura
Not even going to sugar coat it. Ishida gave Wicky the Lentz treatment. Endless takedowns (most were stuffed to Wicky's credit) and inflicting no damage WHATSOEVER in dominant positions. This may have been a one sided fight (as far as controlling the pace), but Wicky unleashed bursts of violence on Ishida's face every single chance that he got. Long story short, Ishida won a split decision by controlling the fight but Wicky destroyed his face.
My thoughts: Ishida needs to look for the finish. Having dominant position and not doing anything with it is like having a winning scratch off ticket and not cashing it in.
Kazuyuki "Little Hercules" Miyata vs. Takeshi "Lion" Inoue
At this point my Caffiene buzz was wearing off. Schiavello's almost schoolgirl-like admiration of Miyata's physique was a bit creepy... But that was nearly forgotten after Inoue had us sit through a weird Japanese-English Rap/Spoken Word/Hypeman act that lasted like 23 minutes (nly to have him walk out to Eminem's "I'm not afraid"). Miyata looked absurdly diesel as usual [pause] and Inoue rocked shorts with fur on them.....Yea, kid was rocking fur on his trunks. By anyway, this match was similar to Ishida/Wicky in that the wrestler dictated the pace of the match. Miyata landed 2 consecutive German Suplexes on Inoue in spectacular gifworthy fashion, and Inoue had a weird stance that looked like a 4 year old that really had to pee. Miyata won a unanimous decision, since Inoue had nothing for him.
My thoughts: Inoue needs to improve on his Takedown Defense.
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Cole Escovedo
I'm not going to act like I know what was going on while they rolled around on the ground for two minutes. All I know is that Omigawa capitalized on Escovedo leaving his arms in places that they don't belong. That Straight Armbarwas pretty grizzly. After the fight, Omigawa addressed the crowd saying that he is "The Center of the Featherweight Universe". I don't agree, but he's certainly providing a good argument.
My thoughts: Time to come to the WEC Mr. Omigawa
Hiroyuki "Streetfight Bancho" Takaya vs. Chase Beebe
FEG brought Beebe in to lose against Takaya and he did just that. Not just lose but get KTFO'd. There's nothing to really say about this fight other than Takaya threw a crap load of punches at Beebe's head until he hit the mark. Once Beebe hit the ground, Takaya proceeded to drop 4 depth charges on his jaw to put him out. And not just out but OUT. Beebe complained about the stoppage......but that was after he woke up. Let that marinate. He had to wake up to make a complaint.
My thoughts: Chase Beebe needs to take a loooooonnnnngggg break from MMA and reassess his career. Remember when he was ranked Top 10? What happened to that boy?
Ikuhisa "Minowman" Minowa vs. Satoshi Ishii
Ishii walked out to Antonio "The Chin of God" Inoki's Puroresu Theme, which is pretty damn gangster if you ask me. Minowa walked out to his usual techno and Michael Schiavello had his usual Minowaman-mangasm. Ishii's striking and footwork are still terrible, but he made up for it with Man Strength Judo. Minowa tried to pull off a Heel Hook but Ishii had an "I see what you did there" moment and rolled out of it pretty easily. Ishii spent the rest of the match throwing Minowa around and taking his back to earn a Unanimous Decision. Was it exciting? Not really, but It showed that Ishii is actually taking this serious.
My thoughts: Ishii needs to become a little more aggressive with his grappling and work on his striking. Also, Michael Schiavello needs to work on being impartial. Trying to make an excuse for Minowa losing during the live telecast is not a good look, son.
Shinya "The Baka Survivor" Aoki vs. Marcus "Maximus" Aurelio
Ummmm. There was lots of grappling and Aoki out blackbelted a BJJ Black Belt. He showed off some decent Ground and Pound too.
My thoughts: Aurelio needs to work on his Mixed Martial Arts game as a whole. Being really good at one thing and not even decent at anything else won't get you anywhere these days. Just ask "The Baka Survivor".
Kazushi "The Gracie Hunter" Sakuraba vs. Jason "Mayhem" Miller
*sigh* DREAM reanimated Sakuraba yet again to get some ratings. After the entrances the actual fight wasn't even close. Mayhem played Wack-A-Mole with Sakuraba's head for a little while before throwing a peace sign at the cameras. He then mercifully ended the match with an Arm Triangle Choke.
Thoughts: Sakuraba needs to retire. Like 2 year ago, when Manhoef drove his head into the canvas. Mayhem needs to finish up his contract with Strikeforce and head to the bigger big show.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Tatsuya Mizuno
I dozed off after the Sakuraba memorial match. So, I didn't watch this one. Still haven't seen it. But from what I've read it went exactly how I thought it would. Mousasi showed up looking uninterested, beat an opponent of a lesser skill level, and collected a Paycheck.
Thoughts: Mousasi needs a steady flow of quality opponents.
All in all the show was decent, but it was lacking something. Maybe it's the lack of credible competition. Maybe I've grown to expect more Freak Show fights. Or maybe I'm falling out of love with Japanese MMA. I'll give this card a 3/5.
Deo Wade is one of the owners and operators of Unintelligent Defense, a new MMA blog providing drunken analysis of the fight game.