The gargantuan DREAM.9 airs Tuesday morning at 5AM Eastern / 2AM Pacific on HDNet, and as always, BloodyElbow.com will bring you live play-by-play and results (along with the usual semi-coherent ramblings from the Bloody Elbow Night Crew in the comments). We'll see the second DREAM Middleweight Champion crowned, find out who will face the winner of Aoki-Hansen III later this year, and the semi-finalists in both the 2009 Featherweight Grand Prix and Super Hulk Tournament will be decided.
While you're waiting for the show:
-Sherdog has extensive coverage: Breen and the Beatdown guys' DREAM.9/UFC 98 roundtable on Frday, a pre-event presser rundown plus Hiroyuki Takaya training shots by Daniel Herbertson, pics of "JZ" prepping for Kawajiri at ATT in Florida by Dave Mandel, and an exclusive "Mayhem" gallery by Esther Lin of AllElbows.
- Speaking of AllElbows, make sure you watch Kingdom of Mayhem, their excellent (and beautifully-shot) three-part series chronicling Mr. Miller in the lead-up to his title fight with "Jacare." Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, and Part 3 is here.
- And Nightmare of Battle has their usual "Final Preparations" post, collecting up some of the finer pre-show details that other sites have missed - such as Jose Canseco's one-on-one with "Daimajin" Sasaki at Yokohama on Sunday, or Jan Nortje telling reporters that his main advantage in the Super Hulk tourney will be his "cute face."
DREAM Super Hulk Tournament 1st Round Bouts
Round 1: Overhand right from Minowa connects immediately, then shoots a single leg that ends with Sapp laying on him in half guard. Minowa gives up his back and Sapp sinks in his hooks, but Minowa escapes when Sapp looks for the RNC. Minowa posturing up in Sapp's open guard, now straddling Sapp and wrenching his right leg - and Sapp quickly taps to an Achilles lock! The Beast is bounced from the Super Hulk bracket in under two minutes.
Ikuhisa Minowa def. Bob Sapp via Submission (Achilles Lock) R1
02. Hong Man Choi (1-2) vs. Jose Canseco (0-0)
Round 1: Canseco connects with a right hand off the bat. Choi feinting knees as Jose circles around him. Push kick from Canseco, who's turning his back and running as soon as he gets inside on Choi. Now Canseco tries a side kick and turns tail, running away from HMC. As Choi moves forward, Canseco throws a leg kick and is bowled over into the corner, turtling. Choi pounds away as Canseco flails and taps the mat through the ropes. A dive if I've ever seen one, Canseco wanted none of this fight.
Hong Man Choi def. Jose Canseco via Submission (Strikes) R1
Round 1: Nortje whiffs with a goofy leg kick and Sokoudjou gets inside and ties up. Jan forces him into the turnbuckle and Soko twice tries to sweep a leg for a toss, but Nortje stays vertical. After a minute of hugging, they're restarted. Snappy thigh kicks inside and outside from Soko fluster Nortje, who grabs the ropes (as he has several times already) when Soko goes for a takedown. This time he puts Nortje on the mat and begins pummeling with punches and hammerfists from side control until the referee dives in to save the fetal Nortje. Sokoudjou refuses to stop punching even as the ref lays atop Nortje, and now Ray Sefo and Nortje's corner are in the ring mixing it up with Sokoudjou's people. Cooler heads prevail and everything seems to be copacetic as Nortje leaves the ring and Soko is given his medal. He's lucky he wasn't disqualified.
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou def. Jan Nortje via TKO (Punches) R1
Round 1: Mousasi immediately puts Hunt on his back and isolates the K-1 big man's left arm for a keylock. Hunt gets loose but remains in the unsavory position. 30 seconds later, Mousasi goes for the same thing and Hunt has to tap.
Gegard Mousasi def. Mark Hunt via Submission (Kimura) R1
Round 1: Calvan pawing away with his jab early. Kawajiri ties up and JZ jumps guard and cranks away on a guillotine which doesn't look tight enough to finish. Kawajiri works his way back up, and JZ repeats the guard jump. Kawajiri pops his head out of the guillotine and tries to work from the Brazilian's half guard, but gets tied up. JZ regains full guard and they're restarted in center ring. Kawajiri peppering away with punches from guard, moving between full and half guard. Kawajiri is cautioned for striking the back of Calvan's head. JZ back to full guard, using wrist control but can't get out from under Kawajiri. Four minutes left, JZ working the rubber guard, and they're finally stood up. Cavalcante is issued a yellow card, presumably for stalling, aka using wrist control against a Japanese fighter. Kawajiri using his jab now, but JZ soons begin take over the standup again. Kawajiri putting together solid one-two combinations with a minute left.
Round 2: A cracking right hand from Kawajiri but JZ seems unfazed. Crusher ducks inside and puts Calvan on his back once again. Back on their feet, and Kawajiri is working JZ over with his boxing. Both guys looking tired with two minutes left, but Calvan is fading fast now. Kawajiri puts JZ on his back with two minutes left and lays in side control, trying to move to half guard. 30 seconds left and JZ is stifling any top offense from Kawajiri but would need a miracle sub to pull this one out.
BloodyElbow.com scores the bout for Tatsuya Kawajiri
Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante via Unanimous Decision
DREAM Featherweight (64kg/138 lbs) Grand Prix 2nd Round Bouts
Round 1: Tokoro throwing leg and body kicks, using his range to tag Cullum. A knee to the midsection crumples Cullum and Tokoro follows him to the ground. Hideo slaps on a fast triangle but Cullum has some room and lifts Tokoro to loosen it. Tokoro holding on to the submission but Cullum is defending well, clearly not in immediate danger of being choked out. Now Tokoro looks for an armbar but is reversed and catches some hard punches and knees from Cullum as he turtles. Now Tokoro sweeps and tries to backmount Cullum, but is slammed onto his back. Cullum in Tokoro's full guard, Tokoro doing a good job of wrist control and scrambles back to his feet with 5:30 remaining. Cullum landing some winging shots now but missing just as many. Abel ties up and Tokoro shoots a knee up the middle, which prompts Cullum to place him on his back again. Cullum latches onto one of Tokoro's legs, which allows Tokoro to sweep. Cullum grabs a leg again and leans back for a kneebar, then switches to a heel hook, but Tokoro defends! 2:30 left and Tokoro isn't clear yet. Now Tokoro sprawls as Cullum gets to his feet and shoots forward. Cullum picks Tokoro up and walks him over to the American corner, then slams him relatively gently. Cullum finds himself on his side, and soon Tokoro is in full mount, however briefly. Tokoro stands and runs for a low flying knee toward a still-laying Cullum as the round ends. Great, great round of action.
Round 2: Tokoro quickly in mount and looking for an armbar. Switches to a crucifix, but Cullum escapes and gives up his back in exchange. Cullum is cut and looking beat 90 seconds into the round, his corner shouting for his to sweep. Almost from nowhere, Tokoro applies a standing rear naked choke. Game over. An emotional Tokoro addresses the crowd after the match and nearly breaks down into tears as he explains how close he was to retiring before receiving the offer to rejoin the FWGP. Excellent win for Tokoro, who'd been on a real slide of late.
Hideo Tokoro def. Abel Cullum via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) R2
During the intermission, a promo video for DREAM.10 is shown, and Shinya Aoki, Hayato "Mach" Sakurai and DEEP Lightweight Champion Katsunori Kikuno address the crowd.
The following bouts are announced for DREAM.10:
Shinya Aoki vs. Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro
Melvin Manhoef vs. Paulo Filho
Katsunori Kikuno vs. Andre "Dida" Amade (unconfirmed)
Round 1: Takaya throws a high kick, caught by Maeda who puts the Bancho on his back and punches down while standing. Maeda in half guard a minute into the round. Takaya scrambles and breaks free, barely dodging a knee on his way up. Left straight connects for Maeda, Takaya responds with a right high kick, partially blocked. Takaya keeping his hands low and allowing Maeda to find his chin, but the shots don't seem to faze him and he's sending his own right hands back that are swelling Maeda's eye already. Maeda sweeps the leg of Takaya, who tries to armpit the middle rope but is knocked loose by the ref. Maeda cannot pass the half guard of Takaya and throws elbows to the back of Takaya's thighs in frustration. Maeda still struggling to pass, allows Takaya to stand and drills his head into the ringpost with a knee, but Takaya stands right up! Four minutes left. Takaya has a small cut above the eye now as both men exchange solid blows on the feet. Maeda puts Takaya on his back, and the referee calls a break for the doctors to check on Takaya. They're restarted and Maeda gets to mount but is bucked back to half guard. The referee issues Takaya a yellow card for stalling with about 30 seconds remaining. An overhand right collapses Maeda and Takaya pounds him out with hammerfists. The shots that ended the bout were less than devastating, but Maeda doesn't protest the stoppage and both men bow before one another.
Hiroyuki Takaya def. Yoshiro Maeda via TKO (Punches) R1
Round 1: Imanari looking for the leglock early, but Bibiano lands some shots to his face and scrambles away. Imanari tries jumping guard but is thwarted and punched by Fernandes twice in a row. The judge warns both fighters for inactivity, no yellow cards... yet. Imanari butt scooting, Bibiano kicking at his legs and threatening to dive in. Imanari is issued a yellow card for stalling. Imanari tries a flying knee/kick, but Fernandes avoids and stacks him up on the ground, landing a couple solid shots. Bibiano in side control, Imanari rolling his eyes. Knees to the head of Imanari from side control now with 30 seconds left in the frame.
Round 2: Bibiano catches a kick and sweeps the leg of Imanari, who pops back up. Imanari, hands down, walking away from the Brazilian, now sits with his hands around his knees and eats a leg kick before standing back up. Imanari continues to try and pull guard but Fernandes is having none of it. Bibiano chopping away with leg kicks as Imanari refuses to engage and clowns around. Finally, Fernandes follows Imanari to the ground, controlling his feet as he crouches in Imanari's guard. Imanari latches on a heel hook! But Fernandes slips out. With 60 seconds left, Fernandes is issued a yellow card for no apparent reason. Imanari actually trying to throw hands now, but Bibiano is beating him to the punch. Barring any judging antics, "The Flash" should be on his way to the FWGP semifinals.
BloodyElbow.com scores the bout for Bibiano Fernandes
Bibiano Fernandes def. Masakazu Imanari via Unanimous Decision
Round 1: The fighters clinch and Warren lands a few solid knees and punches up the middle. Kid responds in kind before Warren drags him down to the mat, and the American goes into Kid's closed guard. Warren smothers Yamamoto with his glove as Kid continues to tie up and neutralize any g'n'p. The referee halts the action to check on a cut on the face of Kid, brought on by a Warren elbow. Kid is issued a yellow card. The fight is restarted on the feet and Kid begins pawing away with his jab, catches Warren with a solid right around the temple. Warren tries to come inside and clinch but Kid makes him pay with a right. Warren continues to rush in with no regard for the power of Kid, and continues to eat punches. Warren grabs Kid in the Thai plum and hits a couple solid high knees. 2 1/2 minutes remaining. Kid with a nice kick to the midsection, followed by a leg kick, which he's been punishing Warren with on and off all round. Warren puts Kid on his back with 90 seconds left. Warren's ribcage is marked up, his mouth hanging open a bit now. More smothering and hammerfists to the face of Kid as the round closes out.
Round 2: Body kicks from Kid to open up, then a hard knee to the liver as Warren attempts to clinch. Big left, then a big right by Kid - Warren just won't go down! Either Kid has completely lost his KO power during his layoff or Joe Warren has an obscenely tough chin. I'm leaning toward the latter. Warren puts Kid on his back in the corner, but again isn't landing any significant offense from guard, only peppering hammerfists. Kid working a high guard, throws his legs up momentarily but aborts an armbar attempt. Two minutes left and Kid decks Warren with a hard right that makes the Greco-Roman champ grin. Both men looking worse for wear as they tie up against the ropes, and Warren wrestles Kid down with 30 left. Warren pounding away until the final bell, and Kid nearly extends an armbar with seconds left, but it's too late and they're too slippery.
BloodyElbow.com scores the bout for Joe Warren
Joe Warren def. Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto via Split Decision
.... Holy shit!
Round 1: Jacare shoots and locks up the waist of Miller early, but is unable to complete the takedown. Miller is cut near the right eye just a minute in from an exchange at the very beginning of the bout. Miller trying to work the jab, throwing combos which don't connect, but catches a leg and takes Jacare to the mat. Mayhem lands an illegal soccer kick which opens a gash along the hairline of the Brazilian. It's tense for a moment as the doctors examine the cuts on both fighters. Miller is issued a yellow card for the illegal soccer kick. The fight is restarted after about two minutes and Jacare immediately puts Mayhem on his back. Miller works back to his feet but the blood is pouring out of the cut on Jacare now. Jacare is eager to continue fighting, but the ref forces him into the corner to have it cleaned up again. Jacare is protesting, and the ref signals that it's only a timeout to reassure him. Several referees and officials are conferring inside the ring now and it doesn't look like this fight will continue. Both men are frustrated, eager to continue as the officials try to reach a consensus. Jacare shouts angrily as the referee speaks to the crowd. The kick has been ruled accidental, and the bout will go in the books as a no contest. Miller is in tears in his corner and I can't blame him. A disappointing end to a fantastic night of action.
The bout is ruled a no contest.