Aoki Bests JZ, Middleweights Advance
TOKYO, April 29 -- Although the second installment of Dream was
intended to highlight the opening round of the middleweight grand
prix, perhaps the most anticipated match of the card Tuesday was in
fact part of the lightweight tournament: Gesias Calvancante
(Pictures) versus Shinya Aoki (Pictures).
Calvancante, a two-time Hero's grand prix champion, squared off
against Aoki, the current Shooto middleweight champion, in the
first fight of the night. The bout was a rematch of their
first-round lightweight meeting last March. That fight had been
ruled a no contest after Calvancante landed some borderline illegal
elbows to Aoki's shoulder blades and neck, rendering the Japanese
fighter unable to continue.
For the 15-minute duration of their fight Tuesday, Aoki used his
jiu-jitsu to basically negate Calvancante's traditionally
aggressive fight style. The Japanese grappler tied his opponent up
on the ground, often using his renowned rubber guard to go for arm
Calvancante's best chance at ending the fight came on the ground
about halfway through the first, when he used his free leg to stomp
Aoki off a leg submission attempt. From there the Brazilian
scurried to his turtled opponent's back and connected with hard
punches to Aoki's face. For a moment it looked as if Aoki was
fading and the referee was just seconds from stepping in, but the
"Tobikan Judan" dug deep and managed to get to his feet.
For the last half of the first round, Aoki essentially piggybacked
his standing opponent in the corner and constantly looked to sink
in a rear-naked choke. Although he came close a few times,
Calvancante defended the onslaught until he eventually escaped to
The second round saw Aoki on his back, where he used his legs to
prevent his opponent from connecting with diving punches. When
Calvancante eventually entered his guard, Aoki again used his
flexibility to go for armbars.
Aoki's strongest rally came in the last minute of the match, when
he performed an absolutely awe-inspiring omoplata-to-armbar
attempt. Calvancante looked to be in real trouble and had to think
fast to get out of the technique and hear the final bell.
Unfortunately for Calvancante, he had fought Aoki's fight and never
got his own game going. The judges unanimously awarded Aoki the
"My game plan was to work submissions and concentrate on
grappling," Aoki said after his victory. "I think I'm the strongest
fighter in the world when it comes to grappling techniques and I
was happy to show that tonight."
When asked about his loss, Calvancante stated: "He did better than
me. He controlled the fight."
With the win, in just two short weeks Aoki will face off against
fellow countryman and Olympic wrestler Katsuhiko Nagata (Pictures) in the second round of the
The main event of Dream's second card featured a mismatched bout
between MMA legend Kazushi
Sakuraba (Pictures) and Kyokushin karate practitioner
Despite the enormous discrepancy in experience -- this was
Nakahara's first MMA bout -- the Brazilian fighter did show a
relatively good penchant for getting back to his feet after
takedowns in the opening minutes of the bout. He even managed to
get a wow from the crowd as he connected with a blisteringly fast,
albeit grazing, high kick to Sakuraba's head.
After what looked almost like toying with his opponent, though,
Sakuraba finally got serious. The Japanese legend scored a takedown
and passed to side control. Nakahara eventually turtled to get away
from the punches that Sakuraba was throwing, exposing his back.
From there Sakuraba made no mistake, locking on a neck crank from
behind and forcing the outmatched Brazilian to tap at the 8:29 mark
of the first.
Denis Kang (Pictures) looked to be in the driver's seat
early against Gegard
Mousasi (Pictures) in one of the card's most
anticipated contests. After scoring a takedown, Kang applied a
strong kimura attempt from the side, but Mousasi weathered the
storm and escaped.
As Mousasi was on his back, Kang grabbed the Armenian's right leg
in what appeared to be an attempt to pass his guard. On the way
through, Kang threw a hammerfist strike with his right hand, which
caused him to fall into a textbook triangle.
Sensing that he had an advantage, Mousasi tightened up the
technique and forced Kang to tap at 3:10 of the first frame.
In a battle of old-school MMA veterans, UWF pro wrestling alumni
(Pictures) and Masakatsu Funaki (Pictures) squared off to settle some old
grudges. The 39-year-old Funaki came out brawling, but it wasn't
long before he took a hard hook.
With the Pancrase veteran stunned on his feet, Tamura scored the
takedown and followed up with ground punches for which Funaki had
no defense. Funaki was out on the ground, and the referee came
racing in after 57 seconds to stop the fight and give Tamura the
2005 Mundial world champion and ADCC 88-kilogram champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza
(Pictures) made short work of Ian Murphy in the American
collegiate wrestler's MMA debut.
Jacare was all over his opponent from start to finish. The
Brazilian started things off with an impressive flying knee that
just barely missed connecting with Murphy's face, followed by an
armbar attempt as he hit the ground.
Once on the mat, Jacare maintained ground control, going for
another armbar attempt and then transitioning to his opponent's
back. After some more punches from behind, the Brazilian sank in a
rear-naked choke for the tapout at the 2:37 mark of the first
Croatian fighter Zelg
Galesic (Pictures) also made short work of Magomed
Sultanakhmadov in their first-round matchup.
After hitting the ground, Galesic briefly had the mount. Before he
could unleash any damage, Sultanakhmadov got the reversal. Then,
almost the very second Galesic's back touched the mat, the Croatian
threw up his legs and locked on an armbar. Sultanakhmadov tried to
stand out of the technique, but Galesic held on for the tapout 1:20
into the first.
Korean judoka turned MMA fighter Dong Sik Yoon (Pictures) got all the takedowns and
maintained ground control in his bout against Shungo Oyama (Pictures). He mounted Oyama in both the
first and seconds rounds, and Oyama couldn't get any offense going
while spending most of his time defending. The bout went the
distance, and Yoon took the unanimous victory.
Taiei Kin (Pictures) displayed a decent sprawl in his
bout against Ikuhisa
Minowa (Pictures), avoiding many takedown attempts
and peppering Minowa's legs with hard low kicks.
Minowa seemed more willing to stand and trade with his Kyokushin
karate-trained opponent in the second, but the welts on his left
thigh were beginning to show. By the last minute of the fight,
Minowa looked totally gassed, but he kept swinging until the final
bell. The judges awarded Kin a unanimous decision.
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