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DREAM 12 – Cage Of The Rising Sun

DREAM was back once again this past weekend. Just 19 days removed from the Featherweight Grand Prix finals, FEG presented DREAM 12 live in Osaka, Japan. This show was noteworthy because for the first time DREAM opted to use a hexagon shaped cage as opposed to a ring. Gone to was the marathon first round, instead being replaced by the 3 five minute round structure of the unified rules.

Main Event
The headlining bout was something of a mismatch as “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem took on James Thompson. Overeem has been on a tear through the Heavyweight division, and has gone unbeaten in MMA for over 2 years now. He’s probably the best option out there for Fedor’s next opponent. And Thompson, well…he had lost his last 4 straight by knock out, and was taking the fight on short notice. Needless to say, it didn’t last long. Overeem caught a standing Guillotine in under a minute and forced the submission.

Fight of the night
Eddie Alvarez vs. Katsunori Kikuno gets fight of the night honors. This was a champion vs. champion bout as Alverez is the Bellator Lightweight Champion, while Kikuno holds the DEEP Lightweight belt. Alverez survived some heavy pressure early on, and then secured an Arm Triangle in round 2 for the tap. For anyone who may not have seen Kikuno before, this guy is definitely one to watch. I rate Alvarez amongst the top 5 in the world at Lightweight, and Kikuno was able to ask serious questions of him. He has this unorthodox but effective Karate style of striking. He’s excellent at cutting off the cage, and has really good explosive power. This fight blew away anything on UFC 104.

Zaromskis back in action
DREAM Welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis overwhelmed the outmatched Myeon Ho Bae in a matter of seconds. In my opinion, Zaromskis may well be the most exciting fighter to watch in MMA today.This was his third consecutive high kick KO. Is that a record? The video above is this fight in its entirety.

More Sakuraba
Earlier this month, I mentioned that DREAM really need to stop matching Sakuraba up against dangerous young fighters. Less than 3 weeks later, he submits Zelg Galešić. He got the takedown right at the opening bell, and instantly grabbed for a leglock. Galešić was pounding away with one shot after another while Saku just clung to the submission. Several times I expected the referee to step in and award the TKO, but Sakuraba persevered and eventually locked in the submission. This is Sakuraba’s most significant win in some time.

The White Cage
I’m still undecided on the idea of DREAM using a cage. A lot of the time when promotions try hold MMA matches in a ring it turns into a complete debacle. But it worked flawlessly for both Pride and Dream. The smaller surface area facilitates a more fast paced striking style, and there are less lulls in action caused by clinches against the cage. This show was billed as an experiment to test the cage out. Historically, the Japanese audiences have been luke warm to MMA fights in a cage. Ultimately, I’m sure feedback on this show will determine whether or not they decide to continue using it. I would prefer that they stuck to using the ring at least some of the time.

There doesn’t seem to be anything on the schedule for DREAM until the big Dynamite show on New years eve.
Full Results
Keisuke Fujiwara lost to Tomoya Miyashita by unanimous decision
Kuniyoshi Hironaka defeated Won Sik Park by TKO due to injury
Yoshiro Maeda submitted Chase Beebe in the first round.
Tarec Saffiedine lost to Dong Sik Yoon by controversial split decision
Katsuyori Shibata beat Tokimitsu Ishizawa by TKO round 1.
Kazushi Sakuraba submitted Zelg Galesic in Round 1
Marius Zaromskis knocked out Myeon Ho Bae in Round 1
Eddie Alvarez submitted Katsunori Kikuno in Round 2
Alistair Overeem tapped out James Thompson in Round 1

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7 thoughts on “DREAM 12 – Cage Of The Rising Sun

  1. Feedback on this show from the FGB staff…..


    Thumbs Up
    Best Fight: Shibata vs. Ishizawa
    Worst Fight: Saffediene vs. Dong (not too bad though)
    Best moments: Thompson dancing to Overeem’s music/Marius’ high kick of death/SAKU

    Best show of the weekend.
    It ruled. Smoked UFC like a fine cuban cigar.


    thumbs up
    Best: Eddie Alvarez vs. Katsunori Kikuno
    Worst:Kuniyoshi Hironaka vs. Won Sik Park

    This wasn’t even one of DREAM’s stronger offerings, and it was still by far the best show this weekend. If you have not been following this promotion, start doing so immediately. 12 shows in, and not a bad one amongst them.

  2. I absolutely loved the way you recapped this. The bold headlines made this thing very easy to read. Excellent job.

  3. This show displayed for the upteenth time why Michael Schiavallo is the number one announcer in MMA, one CANNOT help but be infatuated with the fighters in the fights he calls. The Sakuraba victory brought, as “Dirty” Dutch Mantell would say, “Sweat to my eyeballs,” what a triumph.

  4. FORETY…
    I couldn’t agree more, Schiavallo was incredible again.
    I think it was around this time last year that I first heard him on a K1 show, and I was just amazed. The guy has a seemingly endless supply of punchlines and enthusiasm. The best commentator in the business.

    Thanks. I always have a lot of fun reviewing these shows. They’re by far my favourite thing in MMA.

    If anyone has a clip of Thompson singing and dancing to Overeem’s music, I encourage you to post it here. Truly epic.

  5. I think that is probably still the plan. He has been doin work the last while.

    He’s in the K1 world grand prix finals next month to. I hope we get him and Badr in a rematch during it. Alistair flattened him quickly at last years Dynamite in k1 rules. I think it could be a great fight

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