The ONE FC and DREAM partnership will kick off on March 31 in Singapore. ONE FC: War of the Lions is the perfect opportunity for DREAM to field their fantastic first group of fighters who all have unique styles that they will bring with them into the cage. Here’s a breakdown of who the elite warriors who make up the DREAM Team.
Masakazu "Ashikan Judan" Imanari
Style breakdown: Imanari has the most fitting nickname in MMA, Ashikan Judan translates to "Master of Leglocks" and relentlessly attacking his opponents legs is his modus operandi every time he fights. Imanari doesn't need to rely on single or double leg takedowns to set up his submissions either. No, nothing so commonplace dreary. Instead, Imanari loves to use a potpourri of dives, rolls, drop downs, lunges and anything else he can think of to grasp that leg. Leglocks are not Imanari's only submission attack either, he is one of the best fighters in the world at chaining his submissions and transitions with incredibly smooth flow as he can go from a leg to taking the back to an armbar to omoplata in a flash. His stand up skill is much more limited but he has strong kicks that he uses to control distance well, along with a good chin and the threat of some kind of crazy submission at any time often see's opponents very timid to engage him in striking.
Key victories: Christian M'Pumbu, Bernard Ackah, Katsuyori Shibata, Ryuta Noji
Style breakdown: The style of current DEEP (sister org of DREAM) light heavyweight champion, Yoshiyuki Nakanishi can best be described by two words; Massive and powerful. Don't let Nakanishi's unassuming look or small size for a light heavyweight fool you as he brings titanic power in every aspect of his game. Nakanishi often likes to bulldoze his opponents from the second the opening bell rings with with wild, yet lighting fast and accurate strikes that very few can prevail against. But if they do, it's no problem because Nakanishi has the same power in his takedowns and extremely dangerous ground and pound that he sets up with good ground positional skills.
Style breakdown: Another DEEP champion, Shirai lords over the Welterweight division with his astounding Judo skill. If Shirai gets his mitts on his opponent, chances are very high that they will be rag-dolled to the ground by one of his multifarious trips, throws and slams. One on the ground his opponents enter a world of danger because Shirai possesses a complete toolbox of submissions that he has no reservation attempting at any time along with solid ground and pound to help set them up. In the striking department, Shirai has well rounded striking and isn't adversed to slugging it out.
Tatsuya "Crusher" Kawajiri
Style breakdown: If Imanari has the most fitting nickname in MMA, Kawajiri must have the second because the Crusher has been crushing his opponents for over a decade now. Kawajiri has the ability to win anywhere the fight goes, on the feet he has nice boxing skill and a ton of power to back it up. In the clinch he is almost impossible to push around, his dirty boxing packs almost as much wallop as his lead hook and he has some of the most beautiful trips in the sport. On the ground is where Crusher really shines though. Crusher uses vice grip like top control to bring the ground and pound with a relentless fury, any strike from any position, if Crusher can hit his opponent, hit they shall be and if the opponent offers a submission, Crusher has no problem taking it, with his favorite being the good old arm-triangle.