Leading Japanese promotion DREAM staged its annual New Year’s Eve event tonight at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. DREAM.18: “Special NYE 2012” was headlined by a featherweight bout between veteran Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri and former UFC competitor Michihiro Omigawa.
Also on the card, DREAM Featherweight Champion Hiroyuki “Streetfight Bancho” Takaya battled Georgi “Insane” Karakhanyan in a non-title bout. DREAM Lightweight Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki faced Antonio “Mandingo” McKee. MMARising.com has live play-by-play for the event.
Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri vs Michihiro Omigawa
Referee for this bout is Moritaka Oshiro. Kawajiri scored an early takedown and Omigawa quickly countered with a leglock attempt. Kawajiri escaped and punched from the top in half-guard. He continued to land punches and hammerfists for the next three minutes as Omigawa tried to block and defend from the bottom. Omigawa landed punches of his own, but he was unable to set up any submissions and Kawajiri remained active from the top all the way until the end of the round. 10-9 Kawajiri.
Kawajiri kicked from a distance and threw wild punches that missed their mark in round two. He took Omigawa down and resumed working from the top. Omigawa kept Kawajiri’s leg trapped in lockdown and prevented him from passing to side control. Kawajiri eventually managed to free his leg and moved to mount. He attempted an arm-triangle choke and passed to the side, but time expired soon after. 10-9 Kawajiri.
Kawajiri took Omigawa down early in round three and moved to half-guard. He methodically worked to pass to side control and finally got there, then moved back to mount and once again tried to secure an arm-triangle choke. He nearly got it, but Omigawa held on and defended. He got back to half-guard and tried to sweep just before the end of the fight, but Kawajiri remained on top. 10-9 Kawajiri.
Winner: Tatsuya Kawajiri by Unanimous Decision after three rounds. He improves to 32-7-2.
Georgi “Insane” Karakhanyan vs Hiroyuki “Streetfight Bancho” Takaya
Referee for this bout is Yuji Shimada. Karakhanyan dropped Takaya with a right hand early in the fight, but Takaya quickly recovered on the ground and held Karakhanyan in guard. Karakhanyan postured up with punches and landed a knee as Takaya stood. Karakhanyan countered punches from Takaya with a leg kick and a combination. Takaya put together a nice flurry of his own. The fighters clinched and traded knees. Both fighters landed leg kicks after a break and Karakhanyan scored with a right hand. He landed a big uppercut, but Takaya reversed a takedown at the bell. 10-9 Karakhanyan.
Karakhanyan countered punches from Takaya with leg kicks in round two and clinched in the corner. The fighters were separated and Karakhanyan quickly clinched again. Another break was called and Takaya landed a combination. After a brief clinch, Karakhanyan rushed in with a jumping switch knee, but fell to the mat after Takaya cracked him with a counter right. Takaya punched from Karakhanyan’s guard and avoided an armbar attempt late in the round. 10-9 Takaya.
Karakhanyan landed an uppercut in round three and Takaya countered with a left hook. Karakhanyan flurried and threw a front kick to the face. He took Takaya down and briefly made it to mount, but Takaya recovered half-guard. Karakhanyan passed to side control and tried to throw knees, but Takaya defended well and got back to half-guard again. Takaya battled back to his feet, only to be taken down again. Takaya stood and landed a quick combination. 10-9 Karakhanyan.
Winner: Georgi Karakhanyan by Split Decision after three rounds. He improves to 20-3-1.
Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki vs Antonio “Mandingo” McKee
Referee for this bout is Kenichi Serizawa. Aoki clinched and got McKee down to a knee in the opening seconds of the fight, but McKee stood in the corner. Aoki dragged him back down and transitioned to half-guard. McKee tried to stand and Aoki landed knees to the head. McKee got up and slammed Aoki down to the mat. He landed short punches and held Aoki down. The fighters were stood up and they clinched in the corner. McKee attempted a guillotine choke and Aoki took him down. Close round. 10-9 Aoki.
Aoki countered a side kick from McKee with a right hook in round two. It landed to McKee’s left eye and appeared to possibly break his orbital bone. McKee immediately turned his head through the ropes and tapped out.
Winner: Shinya Aoki by Submission (Punch) at 0:24 of round two. He improves to 32-6-0, 1 NC.
Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes vs Yoshiro Maeda
Referee for this bout is Yuji Shimada. An exchange of kicks opened the fight and Fernandes took Maeda down. He quickly took Maeda’s back and nearly secured a rear-naked choke. Maeda turned into the choke and Fernandes switched to a triangle. Maeda tried to slam free, but he could not and was soon rendered unconscious.
Winner: Bibiano Fernandes by Technical Submission (Triangle Choke) at 1:46 of round one. He improves to 13-3-0.
Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef vs Denis “Super Korean” Kang
Referee for this bout is Kenichi Serizawa. Big punches were exchanged right away and Kang clinched against the ropes. Manhoef threw a vicious knee to the body and Kang dropped like a rock to the mat. The fight was immediately stopped.
Winner: Melvin Manhoef by KO (Knee To The Body) at 0:50 of round one. He improves to 27-9-1, 1 NC.
Hayato “Mach” Sakurai vs “The New York Bad Ass” Phil Baroni
Referee for this bout is Moritaka Oshiro. The fighters clinched in the opening minute and traded knees to the legs and body. After a lull in the action, the fighters were separated, but they clinched again soon after. Baroni secured a takedown and landed short strikes from the top, but Sakurai appeared to be more effective with counterpunches from his back. Sakurai continued to outland Baroni on the ground, but Baroni managed to posture up to land some better shots. He stood up and Sakurai landed a knee that set off an exchange of punches. Close round. 10-9 Sakurai.
After an early clinch in round two, Sakurai used a hip toss to take Baroni down and he briefly struck from mount until Baroni got back to guard. Sakurai passed to side control, but Baroni scrambled up to his feet. Sakurai landed a leg kick and Baroni answered with punches. Baroni took Sakurai down and punched from Sakurai’s butterfly guard. Sakurai spun into a heel hook attempt, but Baroni punched free and he remained on top until the bell. Another close round. 10-9 Baroni.
Sakurai landed uppercuts and knees in the final round and he continued to get the better of the standup exchanges. Baroni hurt him with a counter hook, however, and Sakurai shot in for a takedown. Baroni sprawled and the fighters stood. Sakurai jabbed and clinched. He threw knees and a bloodied Baroni collapsed forward. Sakurai struck from back control, but Baroni swept into Sakurai’s guard. Little transpired and the fighters were stood up. Sakurai backed Baroni up with punches and followed with knees. The fight ended with an exchange of punches. 10-9 Sakurai.
Winner: Hayato Sakurai by Unanimous Decision after three rounds. He improves to 37-12-2.
Marloes “Rumina” Coenen vs Fiona Muxlow
Referee for this bout is Kenichi Serizawa. Coenen kept her distance early on and countered Muxlow’s leg kicks with right hands and body kicks. Coenen secured a Thai clinch and scored with knees to the head and body. She dragged Muxlow to the mat with a front headlock and peppered her with knees. Coenen postured up with hammerfists, but Muxlow spun into top position.
From her back, Coenen punched to the body and framed up a triangle choke. She switched to an armbar, but Muxlow held on. Coenen transitioned to a triangle armbar and Muxlow stood up to try to escape. Coenen released the triangle and went back to an armbar and Muxlow was forced to submit.
Winner: Marloes Coenen by Submission (Armbar) at 3:29 of round one. She improves to 21-5-0.
“Ill” Will Brooks vs Satoru Kitaoka
Referee for this bout is Yuji Shimada. Brooks landed punches early on and avoided Kitaoka’s takedown attempt, but Kitaoka latched onto a leg and dragged Brooks to the mat with a heel hook. Brooks escaped and battled back to his feet. Brooks scored with jabs and a knee. He followed with a hard right hand and a German suplex. Kitaoka stood and Brooks rushed in with a knee.
Kitaoka pulled guard briefly, but Brooks got back to his feet and landed a jumping knee. Kitaoka pulled Brooks to the ground, but Brooks landed punches from the top and worked back to a standing position. He dropped Kitaoka with a counter hook soon after. Kitaoka attempted another heel hook from the bottom, but he could not get it before the bell. 10-9 Brooks.
Brooks once again landed punches from the top after Kitaoka tried to pull guard in round two. The fighters stood and Brooks flurried on the feet. Kitaoka dragged Brooks down with a heel hook attempt and switched to an inverted heel hook. Brooks used heel strikes with his free leg to try to escape the submission. He bloodied Kitaoka’s nose and postured up with punches. Kitaoka gave up his back and Brooks blasted him with more punches until the fight was stopped.
Winner: Will Brooks by TKO (Punches) at 3:46 of round two. He improves to 8-0-0.