DREAM 5: Lightweight Grand Prix Finals – Play By Play

Dream officials have been forced to rethink the line up for this show, due to several of their marquee names being forced off the card. Nick Diaz was pulled from the show by EXC, “Kid” Yamamoto withdrew after sustaining a knee injury, the Mirko Cro Cop versus Jerome LeBanner fight was dropped, and it’s uncertain whether Hideo Tokoro can fight after being involved in a car crash last week. So alot of this card still remains a mystery.

There’s one thing we know for certain though, Dream’s first lightweight champion will be crowned by the end of this show. Shinya Aoki will fight Caol Uno in one semi, while Eddie Alvarez and Tatsuya Kawajiri will face off in the other. The winners will go on to meet in the grand prix final later on in the night.

It’s the usual HDNet commentary team of Bas Rutten and Kenny Rice calling the action. We start off the show with a recap of the tournament so far. This is Followed by the usual introductions of each fighter to the live crowd. Nakamura vs. Ologun is up first.

1. Daisuke Nakamura vs. Andy Ologun

Ok, Nakamura just fought and won last Thursday and he’s fighting again tonight. Ologun throws leg kicks to start out. He tripped Nakamura but Nakamura instantly moved for a leg lock. Ologun shakes it off and they are back standing. Almost immediately Nakamura pulls guard, takes the arm and secures the submission by armbar. Fight went around 1 minute.

Winner: Nakamura (Submission Armbar)

2. Semi Final 1 – Shinya Aoki vs. Caol Uno

The first semi final is up next. Both fighters are hugely popular with the crowd. After a tentative start, Aoki scored the takedown from the clinch. Aoki moved for submission after submission. He attempted an armbar, heel hook and triangle choke. Uno was just trying to defend the attempts. Aoki took his back. Uno attempted to turn into his guard but Aoki sunk in a deep triangle choke as he did. Uno somehow survived but first round was all Aoki.

Second round is more of the same. Aoki got the fight to ground quickly and completely controlled the whole fight. He works more ground and pound in this round. Complete domination by Aoki.
Aoki wins by unanimous decision.

Winner: Aoki (Unanimous decision)

3. Semi Final 2 – Eddie Alvarez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri

Kawajiri tries work leg kicks, while Alverez tries counter with his boxing. Kawajiri lands the first real good strike of the fight, prompting Alverez to try for a takedown but he couldn’t secure it. Kawajiri opens up a cut under the right eye of Alverez with another solid strike. Fight breaks down into a brawl; Alverez gets the better of it, dropping Kawajiri to the mat. Kawajiri recovers well and fights his way back to his feet. They check the cut on Alverez eye. It’s allowed to continue. The two brawl back and forth again. This is absolutely insane, both guys just swinging for the fences. Kawajiri lands some really good Knees in there. Great back and forth action. A huge combination from Alverez sends Kawajiri crashing to the canvas. Eddie thinks he has won but the ref doesn’t step in. Alverez pounces and finishes with ground and pound. I have watched alot of fights this weekend, and this might be the best of the lot, gruelling action.

Winner: Alverez (TKO)

4. Joachim Hansen vs. Kultar Gill

This is the reserve bout for the tournament, in case one of the finalist is unable to continue (a decent possibility considering the damage Alverez sustained in the semi.)

They keep it standing early, where Gill is holding his own. Hansen drops to the ground taking Gill with him. Hansen has a decisive advantage on the ground. He first attempts a triangle choke but then transitions into an armbar for the early submission.

Winner: Hansen (submission Armbar)

5. Joseph Benavidez vs. Junya Kudo

Benavidez won really quick. He slammed Kudo early on and instantly followed up by moving into mount position, and from there secured a guillotine choke from the top. They are really pushing Benavidez as being a future star.

Winner: Joseph Benavidez ( Submission guillotine choke)

6. Motoki Miyazawa vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka

Not a great fight. Hironaka opened a deep cut on Miyazawa and the fight was stopped as a result.

Winner: Hironaka (TKO Cuts)

7. Hideo Tokoro vs. Takeshi Yamazaki

So Tokoro is going to fight.

Another Boring fight. Both guys are predominantly ground fighters and have very little in the way of stand up. Tokoro seems the more comfortable standing, and is having the better of the exchanges. Story of this fight is Yamazaki takes it to the ground but does nothing when he gets there. Tokoro is more active from the bottom, working for the submission attempts. The commentators are burying this fight. After 15 minutes of this, Tokoro gets the unanimous decision.

Winner: Tokoro (unanimous decision)

8. Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Katsuyori Shibata

This is a massive mismatch. Shibata is a Pro wrestler, with a record of 2-4. He’s still very new to MMA. He’s not ready to fight someone like Akiyama. The audience still absolutely hate Akiyama. He’s wearing a gi in this fight. Shibata keeps him at bay in the early going, his strikes are mainly missing but Akiyama is having difficulty closing in on him. A frustrated Akiyama throws a massive high kick but misses. He proceeds to trip Shibata and he quickly locks in a choke using the gi. Shibata goes out quickly and the ref stops it.

Winner: Akiyama (submission Gi choke)

9. Mark Hunt vs. Alistair Overeem

Overeem took this fight on a few days notice. I expect this to be a war. Ok, I was wrong. Another really short fight. Hunt put Overeem on his back, Overeem immediately went for an armbar and got it, forcing the tap. It was over within a minute.

Winner: Overeem (submission)

They bring Eddie Alverez to the ring. He has to forfeit his place in the final due to the severity of his eye injury. He says he begged the doctors to let him fight, but he understands that they have to put safety first. Alverez said that he was glad that it was Joachim Hansen who was taking his place, as he has a lot of respect for him and that he will be back in Dream soon, to challenge the winner.

10. Final – Shinya Aoki vs. Joachim Hansen

This is a rematch of their 2006 encounter in Pride, a fight Aoki won by first round submission.
Hansen comes out swinging right off the bat but is taken down by Aoki. Hansen throws wild up kicks, one catches Aoki below the belt. The fight is temporarily halted; while Aoki is given time to recuperate. They are restarted from standing. Hansen again rushes in and is this time caught in Aoki’s guard. Hansen works some heavy ground and pound, connecting with one punch which visibly rocked Aoki. Realizing he had his opponent in trouble, Hansen started to rain down shots until the referee stopped the fight, awarding him the TKO.

Winner and new Dream lightweight champion:
Joachim Hansen (TKO)

Post fight Hansen said the first person he wanted to defend the title against was Eddie Alverez. Their first match up at Dream 3 was a definite fight of the year candidate, and with Hansen now the champion, it creates an interesting dynamic for the rematch.

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