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Confuseyus: DREAM 10 Preview & Predictions (Updated)

Posted by representingpuroresu on 07/13/2009

Confuseyus

Confuseyus

After putting on quite the freakshow event last time out, DREAM is back with a not-so-freakshow event next Monday with DREAM 10 from Saitama, Japan. This time they’ll crown their first Welterweight champion but the rest of the card is still a bit uncertain beyond that, but rather lean in terms of number of fights. There’s a good chance this preview will be updated a couple times before the event, so check back now & then for more. In the meantime, here’s what it looks like now. (Updated 7/16)

Usual disclaimer: As always, these picks are strictly for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as the basis for any real-life betting/wagering. A “NC” in a fighter’s record indicates No Contest. All fighter rankings are based on the latest MMAWeekly World MMA Rankings.

DREAM does not use the Unified MMA Rules used by most other promotions. The major differences between DREAM & others: Non-title fights (and even some title fights) are 1 10-minute round and 1 5-minute round. Foot stomps and soccer kicks are allowed, but elbows on the ground are not. They use a ring and not a cage.

The event will air in the US on HDNet, but it’s not yet known if it will be live or on tape delay. (Update: LIVE at 3 AM ET Monday morning. Replay at 10 PM ET Friday)

Welterweight GP Semifinals:
Andre Galvao vs. Jason High
Records: Galvao 3-0, High 7-1
Both guys pulled mild upsets in the quarterfinals to get here. Galvao submitted Yuya Shirai while High pulled the upset of the tournament by submitting John Alessio. Galvao, a Team Nogueira fighter, has won all 3 of his career fights by submission while High has won 4 by tapout with 2 KO/TKOs. Both fighters seem to have solid futures ahead of them, and High already has some name wins under his belt (he’s beaten UFC veteran Kevin Burns), so this should be a good matchup. Galvao’s submission game, however, will probably be a bit too much for High and should lead to a tapout in the second half of the first round.
Prediction: Galvao by 1st round submission/tapout.

Hayato Sakurai vs. Marius Zaromskis
Records: Sakurai 35-8-2, Zaromskis 9-2
Sakurai has been considered the heavy favorite to win the GP all along, and coming to DREAM after a loss to David Baron in May ’08 has helped jumpstart what had been a slowing down career for one of Japan’s top Welterweights. “Mach” has won 3 straight since the loss, most recently destroying Shinya Aoki in their quarterfinal fight at DREAM 8, dismantling the Welterweight/Lightweight superstar in only 27 seconds. Zaromskis, in his first DREAM fight, took a decision over Seichi Ikemoto to get here. It was the first time in his career that Zaromskis went the distance and ended a streak of 4 straight KO/TKO wins. On paper, this basically is a mismatch. Zaromskis is a solid fighter who made a name for himself in Cage Rage but he’s facing one of the best in the best in Sakurai, a true legend of MMA. This tournament is Mach’s to lose. But first he must get by Zaromskis, which he should by decision.
Prediction: Sakurai by unanimous/majority decision.

The winners of Galvao-High and Sakurai-Zaromskis will then meet in the Finals that same night to determine the first DREAM Welterweight Champion. A reserve fight will be held as well in case a winner can’t continue due to damage or injuries. See below for that.

Non-tournament fights:
Katsunori Kikuno vs. Andre Amade
Records: Kikuno 11-1-1, Amade 6-3-1
Kikuno is the DEEP Lightweight Champion.
Kikuno’s title win in DEEP likely earned him this non-title match on the card. He’s very hot coming in, riding a 10-fight unbeaten streak (9 wins, 1 Draw). Amade, who fought only once last year after a busy ’07 (4 fights including 2 in one night for a K-1 HERO’s tournament), has lost his last 2 fights, but they were tough ones-Gesias Cavalcante and Eddie Alvarez. He was on a 7-fight unbeaten streak including wins over Hiroyuki Takaya & UFC veteran Caol Uno. He’s not the submission specialist you might expect a Brazilian fighter to be-4 of his wins are by KO/TKO, 2 decisions. I wouldn’t expect a ground battle or a lot of submission attempts here, this probably wil be stand-and-bang, which will make for an entertaining fight. Edge from me to Kikuno based on experience and Amade coming off a 16-month layoff.
Prediction: Kikuno by 1st round KO/TKO.

Melvin Manhoef vs. Paulo Filho
Records: Manhoef 23-5-1, Filho 16-1
This one will be fun. Manhoef, for those who don’t know, is perhaps the most feared non-Heavyweight striker in all MMA. He splits time between MMA & kickboxing, mainly for K-1, and chances are if you don’t submit him early or, by some strange doing, KO him, he will decapitate you or, if you’re lucky, brutally TKO you. His strikes are that lethal. And usually he’ll do it within 3 minutes. He’s won 6 of his last 7, the only loss being a submission by Gegard Mousasi in the DREAM Middleweight GP. He last fought on the NYE blowout card, annihilating Heavyweight Mark Hunt in just 18 seconds. Filho, meanwhile, has been a well-documented story the last couple years. It all started in December ’07 when it appeared he tapped out in a fight against Chael Sonnen, but it wasn’t apparently seen and he got away with it, then rallied to retain his WEC Middleweight Championship. But due to injuries and personal issues the rematch wouldn’t happen for nearly 11 months…then Filho missed weight badly and the fight was changed to non-title. Sonnen won, the WEC Middleweight division was folded into UFC, and Filho was released by Zuffa. The hope for Filho is this is not only the first step back towards the top, but perhaps UFC…but what a step it is.  He’s a solid submission fighter which gives him a chance against Manhoef, but given his issues outside of fighting and questions about his conditioning, among other things, plus this is Melvin Manhoef, I don’t think it’ll work out. So it’s a question of just how badly he’ll be KO’d and when. I’ll put the over/under at 4 minutes but if Filho can take Manhoef down and stay on top of him, the upset may be on. I don’t think so, though, I’ll go with about a 2-minute KO for “Marvelous”.
Prediction: Manhoef by 1st round KO/TKO.

Shinya Aoki vs. Vitor Ribeiro
Records: Aoki 20-4, 1 NC, Ribeiro 20-2
Aoki is the WAMMA Lightweight Champion and the Shooto Middleweight Champion (even though he’s never defended it since winning it in February ’06).
Aoki is the #1 Lightweight in the World.
This originally was supposed to have been Aoki vs. DREAM Lightweight Champion Joachim Hansen for the title (but apparently not the WAMMA Title) but at DREAM 9 they announced Ribeiro and not Hansen would face Aoki. No reason given why. Either way this is NON-TITLE with regards to the WAMMA Title unless it is and they haven’t told us. As noted above, Aoki was embarrassed badly by Sakurai last time out and, despite a 3-fight win streak before, is a rather un-Aoki-like 3-2 this past year best remembered for the “Hello, Japan!” fight where he beat David Gardner in a match best remembered for comedic in-fight showmanship a la Jason Miller on Gardner’s part. Ribeiro beat Katsuhiko Nagata at DREAM 8 in his first fight since a September ’07 loss to Gesias Cavalcante in just 35 seconds. That was his first loss since December ’04. He’s what you’d expect out of a top Brazilian and one out of the Nova Uniao camp-a submission specialist. 12 tapout wins and 6 decisions punctuate his record. Now this of course is Aoki he’s fighting here so the question is does he have the ways to solve the mystery of the “stretchy pants” beyond keeping it standing? Aoki will want it on the ground and if so, Ribeiro should at least be competitive  but he still has to be careful about playing Aoki’s game. His best bet is to follow Sakurai’s lead and try to brawl on the feet and go for the KO. Probably won’t happen but it’ll still be a good main event with Aoki doing enough to take a decision.
Prediction: Aoki by unanimous/majority decision.

Mirko Cro Cop vs. Siala Siliga is also rumored for this card but there are reports that the fight is off because of a recent illness suffered by Cro Cop and his returning to UFC in September. Therefore I am going to assume for now that, despite it still being listed on some sites, the fight is off. If it happens, prediction is Cro Cop by 1st round KO/TKO.
7/16/09 UPDATE: Off. Cro Cop has re-signed with UFC.

Welterweight GP Reserve Bout: Seichi Ikemoto vs. Tarrec Saffiedine
Records: Ikemoto 18-15-5, Saffiedine 6-0
Ikemoto is the DEEP Welterweight Champion.
This is a very late addition to the card. It’s also a GP reserve bout, meaning if one of the 2 winners of the semifinals can’t continue due to damage or injuries, this one’s winner is a very lucky bastard because they’re going to the finals. Ikemoto actually fought in the WWGP Quarterfinals at DREAM 8 but lost to Zaromskis. It was his first loss since August ’06. Not much is known about Saffiedine except he previously fought mainly in Europe and has 5 of his 6 wins by tapout. Despite the lack of experience compared to Ikemoto that could still work in his favor. 6 of Ikemoto’s 15 losses are by tapout (7 decisions, 2 KO/TKOs) and that’ll be hard for me to overlook. So despite this experience gap I’m going to make an underdog dice roll on Saffiedine to get the submission win at some point in the first round.
Prediction: Saffiedine by 1st round submission/tapout.

Dong Sik Yoon vs. Jesse Taylor
Records: Yoon 4-6, Taylor 11-3
Uh oh, here comes the JT Money! Most remember Taylor being kicked out of UFC for his antics on TUF 7. Then let back in. Then Peruvian Necktied by CB Dollaway at UFN 14. Then kicked out again for shooting off his mouth thinking he was Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. But he’s been no joke since then…5-0 and that includes a TKO against Drew Fickett. Plus 3 submissions and 1 decision win. He’s off to DREAM now to face Yoon, a fighter who is better than his losing record indicates. He lost his first 4 fights, but look at who those losses came to: Kazushi Sakuraba, Makoto Takimoto, Rampage and Murilo Bustamante. Those are almost “booked to lose” fights. Then look at the 4 fights afterwards, he won them all: Melvin Manhoef, Zelg Galesic, Fabio Silva, Shungo Oyama. Those are not pushovers. He lost his last 2 but they were also tough losses-Gegard Mousasi and Andrews Nakahara. So Yoon really has faced nothing but A-level opposition. JT Money is not exactly A-level but it’s still a tough fight, but Taylor not really being familiar with this style of fighting and Yoon having slick submission skills works in Yoon’s favor. Should be a fun fight and I wouldn’t be surprised if Taylor goes David Gardner and pulls a “Hello, Japan!” during the fight. JT’s still vulnerable to the submissions and that I think will be his undoing against Yoon. Should be fun though.
Prediction: Yoon by 1st round submission/tapout.

Because this card will be a 3 AM ET start time and it’s a weekday I won’t be able to do live results, but will try to get quick results up ASAP as they become available.

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