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DREAM.7 Live Results and Commentary

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The Year of the Featherweights begins tonight as DREAM kicks off its Featherweight Grand Prix with DREAM.7 at Saitama Super Arena. The show begins at 3 AM ET (about two hours after UFC 96 ends; don't forget to set your clocks forward an hour at 2 AM local time) and I'll be here to give you full play-by-play and commentary. I sincerely hope you'll stay up and join in the discussion for what should be a fantastic night/morning of small men doing battle.

And if you've got some time to kill before the night's festivities, why not try...

- Tony Loiseleur's notes from the pre-fight press conference
- Japan-MMA's DREAM.7 predictions
- Bloody Elbow's DREAM.7 Preview (Part One & Part Two)
- Nightmare Of Battle's traditional Final Preparations post

Not long until show time now, which means the actual fights should start in 40 minutes or so. Right now it's soothing beach scenes and smooth adult contemporary on SkyPerfect TV. The broadcast should be starting any minute.

We're live! The FWGP and DREAM FW Championship belts are chilling, looking nice and puroresu on a clothed table in the center of the ring. We're shown a short but stirring video tribute to the late Grand Master Helio Gracie, followed by a few words from Yuki Nakai and Kazushi Sakuraba (which I can't understand). Announcer Lenne Hardt (aka Screaming PRIDE Lady) announces that DREAM.7 is dedicated to the memory of Helio and the crowd is asked to observe a minute of silence in honor. It's a moving, classy and very appropriate way to begin the show.

Referee Yuji Shimada is introduced and promptly booed. Everything is back to normal.

DREAM.7 Quick Results
Bibiano Fernandes
def. Takafumi Otsuka via Unanimous Decision
Joe Warren
def. Chase Beebe via TKO (Cut) following Round 1
Abel Cullum
def. Akiyo Nishiura via Unanimous Decision
Mitsuhiro Ishida
def. Daisuke Nakamura via Unanimous Decision
Shinya Aoki
def. David Gardner via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 5:58 of Round 1
Tatsuya Kawajiri
def. Ross Ebanez via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:04 of Round 1
Yoshiro Maeda
def. Micah Miller via Unanimous Decision
Hiroyuki Takaya def. Kim Jong Won via KO (Punches) at 0:40 of Round 2
Masakazu Imanari def. Atsushi Yamamoto via Split Decision

Play-by-play follows in the full entry.


Round 1: Left low kick from Otsuka. Bibiano catches it and wrestles Otsuka to the mat after a brief struggle. Fernandes peppering with ineffective elbows and short punches to Otsuka's shoulder from the top, trying for side control but Otsuka's got the Brazilian's left leg trapped. Now Bibiano steps over and looks for mount but Otsuka traps his right leg. Otsuka is keeping himself out of serious trouble on the mat with the BJJ whiz but in doing so is completely negating any offense. Fernandes' punchs from the top coming more frequently now. Fernandes postures up, stands and begins lunging through Otsuka's guard with big downward shots. Several land, bloodying Otsuka's nose. Bibiano Fernandes is issued a yellow card. The reason why is not immediately clear to me, but it may have been for "stalling" by standing over the downed Otsuka and not allowing him up. Rubbish call. Left head kick from Otsuka grazes. They clinch and stall, Otsuka works out of it with some dirty boxing. Otsuka taunting Fernandes now with some "Wicky Akiyo" type moves. Bibiano takes the bait and lunges with a huge overhand right which whiffs. More taunting from Otsuka; 3 minutes left in the opening frame. Otsuka with some nice 3- and 4-punch combos which cause Bibiano to tie him up. With about one minute left in the round, the doctor is called over to look at Otsuka's bloodied nose. He's approved to continue and the action restarts. Bibiano wth a single leg, great balance from Otsuka though and they remain standing. Some nasty right hands from the clinch by the Brazilian as the round ends.

Round 2: A low kick from Fernandes momentarily chops Otsuka's leg from under him. Otsuka still sticking his arms out by his sides and mocking Fernandes. Fernandes shoots in and the pair scramble, and in an instant Bibiano is on Otsuka's back on the ground. Otsuka stands and walks to the ropes with Fernandes on his back, but he can't throw any shots because his hands are wrapping Bibiano's to prevent a choke attempt. Fernandes hops down, and a bloodied Otsuka screams across the ring at his opponent as they re-engage. Body kick attempt from Otsuka is caught and he's nearly taken down again. Otsuka clinches up against the ropes and again the doctor is called. I'm thinking this referee is not on the up and up. The fight is restarted after almost no break. Otsuka is dropped by a shot and shoots for a single leg, Fernandes spralws and hammers away at his head but Otsuka manages to stand. The Japanese fighter is still in this but clearly frustrated and wobbled as Fernandes plows him to the mat again. The fight ends with Otsuka on his back, his legs bicycling away at a standing Fernandes.

BloodyElbow.com scores the fight for Bibiano Fernandes.

Bibiano Fernandes def. Takafumi Otsuka via Unanimous Decision

Chase Beebe vs. Joe Warren

Round 1: Warren clinches twice early and attempts to throw knees up the middle, but Beebe keeps some distance. They separate and Warren comes charging in with an ugly right hand that completely misses Beebe. Again Warren tries to clinch and this time Beebe flops on top of him and attempts to secure back mount; Warren muscles out. As expected, Warren's stand-up does not look good so far and he seems obsessed with the clinch. Nice right hook from Beebe. Now Beebe putting together combinations as he keeps Warren at range. Warren bullrushes directly into a standing guillotine and is able to escape, but not without eating some knees. The Greco-Roman champ is having a tough time answering Beebe's reach, and Beebe is picking him apart with jabs and leg kicks. Warren ties Beebe up from the side and hits a nice suplex. 3 minutes left in the round. Warren isn't able to mount much offense from outside Beebe's guard and allows Chase to stand. Warren bullrushes again, but this time Beebe bounces off the ropes and Warren uses the momentum to put him flat on his back with a double leg. Warren mounts some slight offense from the mount before Beebe bucks and escapes. One last double leg from Warren punctuates the round.

Joe Warren is announced the winner almost immediately after the round ends. Beebe looks dejected on his stool and appears to have thrown in the towel. Oh wait, nope, it's a massive cut over Beebe's from a Warren knee. The ringside doctor has stopped the fight.

On his way out of the ring, Warren exclaims "Holy shit! That is not like wrestling."

Joe Warren def. Chase Beebe via TKO (Doctor's Stoppage) after Round 1


Round 1: The pink-haired brawler surprisingly begins the match by rushing into the submission fighter's guard, where he's unable to do much after the first full minute. Nishiura stands and Cullum follows, charging "Wicky" into a corner where he works for a takedown. Akiyo defends momentarily but is eventually caught off balance. Cullum takes Nishiura's back, but "Wicky" spins out and into guard. Cullum traps Akiyo's arm and cinches up an armbar, but Nishiura rolls with it and escapes impressively. Soon after, Nishiura is standing in front of Cullum again and the New Mexico native nearly traps the arm once more. Akiyo realizes the danger and allows Cullum to stand, but he's dropped by a quick right hand and Cullum pounces. Akiyo recovers quickly and reverses into Abel's guard once more, where Cullum again isolates his man's right arm. Nishiura escapes again. Cullum working over Nishiura in the corner with knees. Sloppy left head kick attempt from "Wicky" is taken advantage of and now Cullum finds himself in full mount. Akiyo bucks and rolls to his side, but he's eating shots from the very active Cullum. 30 seconds remaining in the round. Bucked off, Cullum's in side control now and still landing flush shots to the face of Nishiura. Cullum attempts a wild flying heel kick / guard pass as the bell rings to signal the end of the round.

Round 2: Feed troubles, missed first minute of round. Cullum in Nishiura's guard in the corner. Abel moves to side control, now full mount as "Wicky" turns to escape and Cullum takes his back sitting. No hooks in, though, and Akiyo postures out and ties up until the ref restarts them in the center of the ring. Cullum moving boldly ahead, throwing big haymakers up at his taller opponent. Akiyo responds with a right hand of his own - from the angle it's not clear if he dropped Cullum or if Cullum tried to pull guard. One minute left. Another right hand stumbles Cullum. He bounces off the ropes and straight into "Wicky" for the takedown. Nishiura is in guard with 20 seconds left in the round. Feed cuts out again and the cards are being read when we return.

BloodyElbow.com scores the fight for Abel Cullum.

Abel Cullum def. Akiyo Nishiura via Unanimous Decision


Round 1: Nakamura in his wrestling boots and trunks, Ishida in his standard shorts with grappling shoes. After a minute of tentative stand-up, Ishida shoots for a double leg against the ropes and inadvertantly runs into an omoplata attempt from Nakamura. Ishida escapes, now to north-south position, kneeing Daisuke in the head. Nakamura stands and is promptly dropped onto his face again, but Ishida's waist-lock takedown leaves him vulnerable to a standing keylock attempt. Ishida attempts to somersault out, but winds up on his knees with Nakamura still controlling his right arm. Ishida breaks free, both men stand, and Ishida slams Nakamura down again immediately with a suplex. Once again Nakamura hangs on to the arm of the "Endless Fighter," and once again Ishida struggles and breaks free. More knees by Ishida to the head of a turtling Nakamura. Nakamura rolls and Ishida is in his closed guard. A cut is visible on the right eyebrow of Nakamura now. The fight is paused momentarily, the doctor checks, approves, and the fighters are restarted with Ishida in half-guard. The scramble and stand with one minute left in the frame. Ishida staying outside Nakamura's range as Nakamura throws up kicks with his boots. Single leg from Ishida and the round appropriately ends with Nakamura on his back trying for an arm.

Round 2: Ishida shoots for a leg and Nakamura jumps for the flying armbar! Ishida's ready for it and shucks him off. Ishida moves to full mount momentarily but winds up back in half guard with - yep! - Nakamura looking for a kimura. Ishida is working, mounting offense and punching when he's able, but Nakamura is locking him up and neutralizing well. Nakamura looks exhausted as he attempts to stand with Ishida wrapped around his back. Nakamura tries for a desperation toehold(?) as the fight ends.

BloodyElbow.com scores the fight for Mitsuhiro Ishida

Mitsuhiro Ishida def. Daisuka Nakamura via Unanimous Decision


Round 1: Aoki shoots a single leg, Gardner sprawls and Aoki pulls guard. Gardner pounding away with shot furiously as Aoki flips over him and takes his back. Aoki is secured, body triangle locked in, but Gardner is controlling his right wrist. Now Aoki gets both arms free and begins elbowing and punching the shoulders and head of Gardner. Actually these elbows look a lot like the ones that "JZ" laid on Aoki to turn their first match into a No Contest, except from the back mount. Hm. Gardner sits up, Aoki keeping his distance while sitting behind him so as not to eat shots over the shoulder. Aoki punching the sides of Gardner's head, loosens him up a bit and goes for a rear naked choke. Gardner chins down and defends, Aoki turns it to a neck crank but Gardner survives and Aoki releases. Gardner flips over to Aoki's guard, then stands and literally runs away, leaving Aoki looking incredulous on the mat. Dodging punches from Gardner, Aoki scrambles and secures back mount again. This time he sinks in a DEEP rear naked choke, flattens his opponent out, and Gardner is forced to tap.

Shinya Aoki def. David Gardner via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 5:58 of Round 1

Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Ross Ebanez

Round 1:Ross Ebanez is issued a yellow card prior to the fight, presumably for missing weight. After some cursory trading, Kawajiri double legs Ebanez into the corner of the ring. "Crusher" in half guard, tying up the arms of the Hawaiian, steps over to full mount. Kawajiri is flattening and smothering, with Ebanez now controling Kawajiri's arms from the bottom as Kawajiri attempts to shoulder shrug away. Ebanez rolls and the Japanese fighter takes back mount with a body triangle. Kawajiri looking for the rear naked choke. Ebanez defending ably, punching his hips up for leverage. Kawajiri's right arm snakes under Ebanez' chin as his left softens him up with a shot. The right slips under, Kawajiri falls back and Ebanez taps.

Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Ross Ebanez via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:03 of Round 1

I don't speak Japanese but I definitely heard Kawajiri say "JZ Calvan" as he addressed the crowd after the fight.

Yoshiro Maeda vs. Micah Miller

Round 1: Miller jabbing, feinting, throwing some leg kicks and body shots in the opening two minutes. Maeda trying to duck inside and work out Miller's crazy height advantage. The size diference between the two is highlighted by the lanky Miller wearing black tights. Maeda with a takedown, dives into Miller's guard and straight into the ropes. They're restarted. Miller trying to work the rubber guard, winds up getting passed on his right side. Maeda stuck in half guard with Miller's right leg underneath. Now Maeda postures up and Miller closes guard, hanging off of the underside of the Japanese fighter. Miller still trying to pull rubber guard, transitions to a loose triangle which Maeda postures up from and begins to knee Miller in the ass, much to the crowd's delight. Miller has both of Maeda's arms trapped now in his guard, but not tight enough to force a tap. Maeda trying to muscle out backwards as Miller punches away to the top of his head. The referee restarts them with about 3 minutes left. Miller charges and jumps guard working on a possible omoplata. He's really got a hold of Maeda's arm. But Maeda scrambles out, now raining shots down through Miller's guard. Miller grabs a leg, working for a heel hook. Maeda escapes, Miller follows and moves to side control, landing a couple knees before the bell rings.

I missed it somehow, but both Maeda and Miller received a yellow card for stalling during the first round.

Round 2: Maeda wrestles Miller against the ropes after catching a low kick. Maeda with a quick takedown and Miller pulls guard again near the corner; they're immediately restarted in the center by the ref. They work back to the feet. Now it's Miller pushing Maeda on the ropes, bringing knees up and over the clinch. Maeda picking Miller up and plowing him to the ground, just controlling position as Miller sits in the corner and punches away at Maeda's back and head. With 20 seconds left, Miller grabs Maeda's left arm and attempts to eek out a last ditch armbar, but they're tight in the corner and Miller just receives another knee to his ass for the trouble.

BloodyElbow.com scores the fight for Yoshiro Maeda.

Yoshiro Maeda def. Micah Miller via Unanimous Decision

Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Kim Jong Won

Round 1: Both men tentative in the opening 90 seconds. Takaya hits a nice right low kick. Won trying to work his right jab but it's very pitty pat and the left doesn't follow. Teep kick from Won to keep the "Bancho" at distance. Right jab-left hook from Won connects. More leg kicks from Takaya. Won appears to have been hit with a glancing low blow; the ref halts the action but Won recovers almost immediately. Won gaining confidence now, throwing body punches, more front kicks. Another sharp leg kick from Takaya, followed by a right body kick that's caught by Won, who drags him across the ring and to the floor. The "Streetfight Bancho's" back is to the ropes in a sitting position, now agains the ringpost as he postures up, but Won drops him back down. Won controlling position in the corner, not throwing any shots but with a waistlock, looking to flatten Takaya out. It's not happening, and now Won is holding up the action. A few knees from Won, some more waiting and the ref restarts them. Night right straight from Takaya, right in the mush. Takaya is tagging won and, to the judoka's credit, he's barely flinched. Won wrestles him down with a single leg, but Takaya bounces back up and leans on the ropes. Restart. Another nice right straight connects for Takaya, followed by more leg kicks. Won looks to be slowing now as the leg kicks accumulate, and Takaya backs him into the corner as the round expires, stringing together five or six rapid punches to the head and body of Won.

Round 2: After throwing a few more leg kicks to open the round, Takaya crumples Won with another vicious right straight followed by a left uppercut. Some extra shots connect with Won on the mat as the ref scrambles to call a halt to the bout.

Hiroyuki Takaya def. Kim Jong Won via KO (Punches) at 0:40 of Round 2

Masakazu Imanari vs. Atsushi Yamamoto

Round 1:Yamamoto bounces around a completely motionless Imanari. Imanari now getting into it (if you want to call it that) with the unorthodox southpaw stance. He throws a lazy kick and slips, but Yamamoto threw a punch at the exact same moment. Yamamoto dives to the floor after the "Ashikan Judan," who immediately grabs at the Krazy Bee fighter's leg. Stream problems - why now?! Five minutes left in the round when we return and they're restarted from near the ropes with Yamamoto in Imanari's rubber guard. Imanari neutralizing any potential offense by tying Yamamoto up completely. Now Imanari with heels to the back of the head of Atsushi. With his head in a guillotine, Atsushi Yamamoto is stood up and given a yellow card. They restart, Imanari jogging around with hands at his side. Now sticks an arm straight out in Yamamoto's face. Now a funky "Wicky" type dance. Finally Imanari with some high kicks. Yamamoto looks to move in but Imanari dances away and eats a slapping low kick on the meat of the calf. Yamamoto attacks and Imanari gladly pulls guard, isolating KID's pupil's left arm in an omoplata attempt before spinning into side control. Imanari sits up, grabs Yamoto's left arm and lays back to stretch out the armbar, but Atsushi rolls and winds up on top. Imanari releases the arm for full guard. Yamamoto keeping busy from open guard with punches as Imanari tries to push out or angle for an arm.

Round 2: Imanari flops to guard, but Yamamoto won't follow. Yamamoto charges and this time Imanari gets it to the floor, where he's scooted around the ring by Atsushi, who looks for any chance to strike without having his wrists controlled. Imanari is really holding on now, not actively looking for a submission. Imanari is issued a yellow card for stalling. More goofy dancing and jogging from Imanari, who is content to issue no offense on the feet and frustrate Yamamoto, who slaps away with leg kicks and the occasional cluster of punches which don't connect. Imanari shoots, Yamamoto sprawls and Imanari uses the sprawl to pull rubber guard. Yamamoto postures and Imanari grabs at an arm, but Yamamoto flees with the quickness. Imanari pulls him down yet again. Omoplata attempt from Imanari as the fight ends and Yamamoto bounces to his corner, quite confident in the win. I wouldn't be so sure.

BloodyElbow.com scores the fight for Masakazu Imanari

Masakazu Imanari def. Atsushi Yamamoto via Split Decision