DREAM.16 recap: Mousasi claims light heavyweight title; Miller taps Sakuraba
by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Sep 25, 2010 at 7:20 am ET
Tagged as an overwhelming favorite entering his bout with Tatsuya Mizuno, potent striker Gegard Mousasi utilized his equally dangerous grappling game to claim victory and the title of DREAM's first-ever light heavyweight champion.
Mousasi needed a little more than six minutes to complete the deed in the main event of DREAM.16.
Featuring an entertaining 10-bout lineup that aired live in North America on HDNet, DREAM.16 took place Saturday at Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan.
For his part, Mizuno refused to simply hand over the title and did offer Mousasi a few brief moments of concern. An armbar and kimura attempt each showed promise, but Mousasi was able to slip free from both attempts. Mizuno also landed a few solid leg kicks when striking on the feet, but it paled in comparison to the shots landed by "The Dreamcatcher."
Mizuno briefly gained top position in the fight's final sequence, but Mousasi deftly took the back and locked in a deep rear-naked choke that forced the tap.
Mousasi (30-3-1 MMA, 7-0 DREAM), the former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champ, also held DREAM's middleweight title in 2008. Mizuno (8-6 MMA, 1-2 DREAM) sees a three-fight win streak snapped.
Japanese superstar Kazushi Sakuraba always will be considered an MMA legend, but at DREAM.16, "The Gracie Hunter" showed once again why now may be time to hang it up. Facing a hungry Jason "Mayhem" Miller, Sakuraba was completely ineffective and looked every bit of his 41 years.
Unable to secure a takedown, Sakuraba was forced to eat punches from Miller, who worked from his feet and the floor. When Sakuraba tried to scramble away, Miller seized the opportunity to latch in a fight-ending arm-triangle choke.
Sakuraba's (26-14-1 MMA, 3-3 DREAM) tap was his first since the pioneer debuted in 1996, when Kimo Leopoldo also used an arm-triangle choke to submit the former wrestler. Miller (24-7 MMA, 2-1 DREAM) now has earned wins in three of his past four official contests.
While Japanese submission ace Shinya Aoki suffered a damaging loss to Gilbert Melendez in the U.S. this past April, his domination of opponents in Japanese-based matchups continued with a one-sided decision win over Marcus Aurelio. And while Aurelio is perhaps best known for his upset of another Japanese superstar, Takanori Gomi, there would be no magic on this night.
While the flow of the bout did now always remain action-packed, Aoki controlled both the pace and positioning throughout. Aurelio's best moments came in the closing of the first round when Aoki slipped out of a pair of submission attempts, but when "Tobikan Judan" settled back into top position, it appeared he had the result secure.
In the second, Aoki added a nice punching flurry to the mix, and Aurelio's face showed the wear. It was ultimately an easy choice for the three judges, who awarded Aoki a well-deserved win.
Aoki (25-5 MMA, 9-2 DREAM) has now won five of his past six fights. Aurelio (20-9 MMA, 1-1 DREAM) falls to 2-2 in his past four.
Heavyweight judoka Satoshi Ishii has yet to display the skills many felt he was destined to possess when he first ventured into MMA, but the Japanese prospect did show enough knowledge to outlast a 40-pound-lighter Ikuhisa Minowa.
While the contest was hardly a barnburner, Ishii showed a capable defense in fending off "Minowaman's" rolling kneebar attempts while controlling the positioning and offering a few heavy strikes when the opportunity allowed. Minowa tried to lock in a come-from-behind submission in the closing seconds, but Ishii made it to the final bell and took home a unanimous-decision win.
Ishii (2-1 MMA, 1-0 DREAM) now has won back-to-back fights since losing his professional debut. Meanwhile, Minowa (46-31-8 MMA, 5-4 DREAM), who swept last year's open-weight DREAM "Super Hulk" tourney in 2009 despite being the lightest competitor, sees an impressive five-fight win streak snapped.
While the career of Japanese brawler Hiroyuki Takaya often has been by marked by a series of high and low moments, Saturday night was unquestionably a momentum-building moment for "Streetfight Bancho." In fact, opponent Chase Beebe appeared outmatched from the start.
After defending an early takedown attempt, Takaya delivered a crushing hook that saw Beebe drop to the canvas. Takaya pounced and delivered a few more heavy shots before Beebe's legs went limp and the bout was mercifully stopped fewer than two minutes into the round.
Takaya (14-8-1 MMA, 4-1 DREAM now has won two-straight fights while Beebe (14-7 MMA, 0-3 DREAM) sees his own two-fight win streak snapped.
After fighting an astounding seven times in 2009, Michihiro Omigawa continued his stunning run through the featherweight division in impressive fashion with his third win of 2010.
Omigawa earned an early takedown of opponent Cole Escovedo and threatened to attack from top position. But when Escovedo refused to fall prey to a choke, Omigawa pinned his opponent's arms tight to the body and forced a grimacing "Apache Kid" to tap just two-and-a-half minutes into the fight.
Escovedo (16-6 MMA, 1-1 DREAM) was left clutching his elbow in obvious pain as Omigawa (12-8-1 MMA, 2-0 DREAM) improved to 9-1 in his past 10 fights.
You'd be hard-pressed to find any fighter in more need of a victory than Joachim Hansen prior to his matchup with 50-fight veteran Hideo Tokoro. Fortunately for the Norwegian "Hellboy," he finally returned to the win column.
Hansen got off to an unpromising start after receiving a yellow card for two early low blows. To his credit, Tokoro fought through the pain, but he would get little to show for his courage.
Hansen reversed a takedown attempt and took mount over Tokoro. Once there, Hansen scrambled into a topside triangle-choke position and then rolled over to finish the maneuver, forcing the tap from Tokoro at the 2:48 mark of the opening frame.
With the win, Hansen (20-10-1 MMA, 4-4 DREAM) snaps a three-fight losing streak and tastes victory for the first time since July 2008. Tokoro (26-23-1 MMA, 3-5 DREAM) falls to just 1-3 in his past four fights.
Wrestling stylist Kazuyuki Miyata relied on his strengths to upset the slightly favored "Lion" Takeshi Inoue via unanimous decision.
After a cautious start, Miyata simply out-grappled Inoue for the 15-minute affair while also flashing a capable striking attack. The domination was punctuated by two massive suplexes that saw Inoue dumped on his head in a pair of crowd-pleasing aerial slams.
Inoue disrupted his opponent's attacks with a pair of illegal shots to the cup, but Miyata survived the blows and cruised to a clear unanimous-decision win.
Japanese fighters Mitsuhiro Ishida and Akiyo "Wicky Akiyo" Nishiura engaged in a tightly contested matchup that was heavy on wrestling throughout.
Ishida worked frequent takedowns almost exclusively in favor of striking for the 15-minute affair, though Nishiura was able to regain his feet quickly each time. In the second frame, Ishida was able to gain mount, but it was Nishiura who drew first blood with a successful sprawl in the final moments that led to a barrage of hammerfists to his opponent's face.
It wasn't enough to sway the judges, who awarded Ishida a split-decision win.
Ishida (20-6-1 MMA, 4-1 DREAM) now has earned two-straight wins while Nishiura (11-6-1 MMA, 1-2 DREAM) falls to 1-2 in his past three contests.
In the card's first contest, massive British heavyweight James Thompson came up just short in his bid to snap a two-fight losing streak. While he secured mount two times in the final frame against the 37-pound lighter Yusuke Kawaguchi, the dominant positioning wasn't enough to erase the deficit "The Colossus" accrued in the opening round.
A last-minute replacement for Minowa, who was moved to the matchup with Ishii, Kawaguchi beat his opponent to the punch early and often in the opening 10 minutes and was awarded a split-decision win for his efforts.
Kawaguchi (12-2 MMA, 1-0 DREAM) rebounds from a decision loss to Mariusz Pudzianowski in May and now has won four of his past five matches. Meanwhile, Thompson (15-14 MMA, 0-2 WEC) has tasted victory just once in his past nine fights and is just 3-12 since 2005.