DREAM: Heiwa Dream.1 Results & Recap
by Robert Sargent
After an incredible night of fights, the main event of DREAM's Heiwa Dream.1 ended with an unfortunate No Contest after Shinya Aoki was unable to continue, following an illegal elbow to the neck region from Gesias Calvancante.
Though the main event ended controversially, the remainder of the inaugural DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix was incredible, and marked an excellent beginning for DREAM.
DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix Bouts
Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki vs Gesias "JZ Calvan" Calvancante
Originally scheduled to take place on New Year's Eve at "Yarennoka!" but postponed due to a Calvancante knee injury, fans will once again have to wait to find a definitive winner in this match, as a series of elbow strikes from Calvancante left Aoki unable to continue, and the bout was ruled a No Contest.
The battle of champions - Aoki the reigning Shooto Middleweight (167 pounds) Champion and Calvancante the two-time reigning HERO's Middleweight (154 pounds) Grand Prix Champion - ended just minutes into the first round. Aoki repeatedly went for takedowns, pulling guard when necessary, but he could not get Calvancante down. After the referee stood Aoki back up following a takedown attempt, Calvancante threw a high kick that missed. Aoki went in for another takedown and Calvancante sprawled to defend.
Aoki kept hold of Calvancante's legs, leaving Calvancante with little recourse other than to strike at Aoki's back. He did so with a trio of elbows. The first elbow was completely legal, and hit between Aoki's shoulder blades. The second elbow was much higher, landing near or on the back of the neck. Elbows to the head and neck region of downed fighters are not permitted in DREAM, just as they were not in PRIDE before it. A third elbow, as Aoki crumpled to the canvas, grazed Aoki's neck but had little effect.
The second elbow from Calvancante had evidently hit a nerve, as Aoki lost sensation in his right arm and was unable to continue. As the elbow was apparently an illegal strike, but evidence was not conclusive, the bout was ruled a No Contest. An emotional Aoki addressed the crowd following the match.
At this time, given the circumstances of the decision, it is likely that Aoki and Calvancante will either both advance in the tournament - one space was left vacant for possible Byes, so both fighters could, if necessary, advance - and face each other at Heiwa Dream.3, or an immediate rematch will be scheduled for Olympia Dream.2 (the opening round of the DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix), with the winner advancing to Heiwa Dream.3. Regardless, it seems unlikely that either fighter will continue while the other does not.
Match ruled a No Contest after 3:46 of round one. Aoki is now 14-2-0, 1 NC, while Calvancante is 14-1-1, 1 NC.
Tatsuya "Crusher" Kawajiri vs Kultar "Black Mamba" Gill
Gill was given little chance in this fight, but surprised many with his vastly-improved ground game and ability to scramble back to his feet after Kawajiri takedowns. However, he was unable to mount much of any offence, leaving Kawajiri with a clear-cut decision victory. In this fight, as in all other tournament bouts, the format was the same as the former PRIDE Bushido rules, meaning one 10-minute round and one five-minute round. No Draws are permitted in DREAM tournaments.
Kawajiri scored takedowns throughout the fight, but was made to work for them by Gill's solid balance and sprawl. On the ground, Kawajiri repeatedly passed Gill's guard, but Gill managed to prevent Kawajiri from doing much damage from the top. He also went for submissions from the bottom when possible. Kawajiri was unable to secure a rear naked choke after getting Gill's back, and Gill fought off armbar and arm triangle chokes when Kawajiri took side-control or north-south position. Unfortunately for him, Gill spent more time defending Kawajiri's takedowns and submissions than he did mounting any offence of his own, leaving the judges with an easy decision.
Tatsuya Kawajiri by Unanimous Decision after two rounds. He improves to 21-4-2.
Eddie Alvarez vs Andre "Dida" Amade
Amade opened up the action, drilling Alvarez with one punch that stunned him and another that dropped him, but Alvarez recovered and turned the tables on Amade.
After being dropped by the two hard shots from Amade, Alvarez recovered and went for takedowns, securing top position and controlling the fight. Alvarez moved to side-control and landed strikes with his free arm, then transitioned to mount and rained down a barrage of punches. Amade attempted to escape and defend the punishment, but it was too much and the referee was forced to stop the fight. Alvarez added yet another TKO victory - now 10 by KO/TKO in total - to his record with the win.
Eddie Alvarez by TKO (Punches) at 6:47 of round one. He improves to 13-1-0.
"The Endless Fighter" Mitsuhiro Ishida vs Bu Kyung Jung
Though Jung was defeated in this fight, he has now gone the distance with two top-10 lightweights in his first two professional MMA bouts, which is an accomplishment that very few fighters can claim.
As in his fight with Shinya Aoki at "Yarennoka!" Jung worked for numerous submissions from bottom position, as Ishida scored takedowns throughout the fight and worked from top position. As he usually does, Ishida simply muscled his opponent to the ground, then held him there and peppered him with punches. Jung attempted a series of armbars, all of which Ishida had to fight to get out of, but Ishida controlled nearly the entire fight from top position on the ground. In the end, the judges awarded Ishida with the win, but Jung once again displayed that he is a dangerous opponent for anyone.
Mitsuhiro Ishida by Unanimous Decision after two rounds. He improves to 16-3-1.
Katsuhiko Nagata vs Artur Oumakhanov
Employing a similar strategy to Mitsuhiro Ishida, Nagata scored a series of takedowns, then peppered Oumakhanov with small punches throughout the fight, unable to do any significant damage but doing enough to take the victory.
From Oumakhanov's guard, Nagata punched away with small shots that did more to annoy Oumakhanov than hurt him. Oumakhanov used skilled head movements to dodge strikes from Nagata, then reversed position, but he was unable to do much of anything to Nagata, either. Later in the fight, Oumakhanov resorted to blocking punches, rather than evading them, and Nagata's series of takedowns and ground control earned him the decision and somewhat of an upset victory.
Katsuhiko Nagata by Unanimous Decision after two rounds. He improves to 4-2-0.
Luis "Buscape" Firmino vs Kazuyuki Miyata
As he typically does, Miyata, a former Olympic wrestler for Japan, dominated the fight with takedowns and ground control. However, Firmino survived and reversed position, then sunk in a choke for the victory.
Miyata opened the fight up with takedowns and judo throws, with Firmino forced to fight from his back. This continued for many minutes, and Miyata seemed to be firmly in control. However, as in his recent fight with Joachim Hansen, Miyata could not keep his opponent down forever, and Firmino reversed position and moved to side-control. From there, he transitioned to Miyata's back, then sunk in a rear naked choke for the win. Miyata has now lost two fights in a row by rear naked choke after dominating most of the fight. He is one of the absolute best wrestlers in all of MMA, but his one-dimensional style leaves him open to submissions and counters.
Luis Firmino by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 7:37 of round one. He improves to 12-3-0.
Joachim "Hellboy" Hansen vs Kotetsu Boku
Hansen looked incredibly impressive in this fight, likely eager to make an immediate impact in the tournament, and dropped Boku multiple times with vicious left hooks and crosses in a fight that stayed standing for much of the duration.
Hansen had also clearly been working diligently on his wrestling, as he showcased a number of Greco-Roman takedowns in the fight when he wasn't using Boku's face as a punching bag. Boku was not a sitting duck, though, as he threw his share of punches back at Hansen, but it was Hansen's power and control on the ground that handily won him the fight. In the later stages, Hansen worked for a rear naked choke, then an armbar and an arm triangle choke, but Boku managed to survive. A striking exchange near the end of the fight saw Boku land a number of crisp punches, but Hansen landed much harder strikes and dazed Boku repeatedly. In what was one of his most impressive performances to date, Hansen took a clear-cut decision.
Joachim Hansen by Unanimous Decision after two rounds. He improves to 17-6-1.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović vs Tatsuya Mizuno
After departing the UFC for the time being, Filipović returned to Japan with a bang, as he made incredibly short work of his vastly overmatched opponent, scoring a TKO victory in the opening minute.
Filipović circled Mizuno in the opening seconds, gauging distances, then unleashed a kick and a few small punches, followed by a left that put Mizuno against the ropes. From there, Filipović dropped Mizuno with a right-left combo. He gets a much-needed win, but the victory itself does little for his career, as Mizuno was completely overmatched and outclassed.
Mirko Filipović by TKO (Punches) at 0:56 of round one. He improves to 23-6-2.
Hayato "Mach" Sakurai vs Hidetaka Monma
Sakurai, apparently returning to the welterweight (168 pounds in DREAM) level for good, left nothing to the judges in this bout, as he dispatched Monma by TKO early in the first round.
Early on, Sakurai landed a vicious counterpunch as Monma came in looking to clinch, and Monma went crashing to the canvas. From there, it was really only a matter of time, as Sakurai unleashed a flurry of strikes from the top, eventually hurting Monma and forcing a stoppage from the referee. Sadly, most of the best welterweights in the world compete in North America, so world-class competition for Sakurai is few and far between in Japan.
Hayato Sakurai by TKO (Punches) at 4:12 of round one. He improves to 32-7-2.
Ikuhisa "The Punk" Minowa vs Bum Chan Kang
In the bizarre fight of the night, Minowa, as he has done repeatedly in recent years, took on a gigantic opponent who outweighed him by over 100 pounds, and made short work of Kang, who took the fight on just one day's notice.
Minowa scored an early takedown on his much larger opponent, then worked for a Kimura. When that was unsuccessful, he quickly transitioned into a kneebar, which forced the mammoth Kang to submit.
Ikuhisa Minowa by Submission (Kneebar) at 1:25 of round one. He improves to 39-27-8.
Though the main event ended in disappointing fashion, DREAM's first event was otherwise a great success and marked a return to former glory for mixed martial arts in Japan. If events continue at this calibre, it may not be long before current stars in North America make the trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.