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The opening montage begins with legendary Japanese professional wrestling icon Antonio Inoki coming to center stage to paint kanji characters for "judgment," setting the tone of tonight's Dynamite. Following Inoki is a long video montage reflecting on the 10-year history of fight sport on New Year's Eve in Japan, as 2010's Dynamite is the 10th anniversary of Inoki's own "Bom-Ba-Ye" bill.
To put it in context for the hometown crowd, the montage follows the memories of a random fan, recounting his memories of each New Year's event, tying them to the passing years of his life. Throughout successive NYE events, our random "Taro" gets married, and has a child. Today, and for the next 10 years, the three of them will continue the New Year's tradition -- going to Saitama Super Arena on NYE.
Andy Ologun vs. Katsukaki Furuki
Furuki pulls Ologun into the clinch to throw knees but comes up slightly short. Furuki puts Ologun into the corner and tries to take him down, but Ologun maintains his balance. Referee Samio Kimura calls for action, but none comes and a break is called. Ologun rails Furuki with a huge right hand, and the former baseball player does the fish dance, swinging his fists in hopes of returning the favor. Ologun misses a bunch of punches, but manages to trip Furuki to the canvas. Regaining his faculties, Furuki sweeps and is caught in a guillotine. Furuki passes to mount and pops his head out, dropping punches to Ologun's ribs. Furuki postures to drop punches and Ologun bucks to get him off. There Furuki stays, mashing Ologun up until the bell.
Furuki closes in with punches, putting Ologun into the corner. Furuki tries to wrangle Ologun to the canvas, but when he finally gets him down, Ologun reverses to get top in half. Ologun drops a few punches while Furuki reaches over to capture Ologun's left arm for the kimura from bottom. Ologun is refusing to tap, instead using his free arm to strike Furuki's ribs. Ologun reverses and puts Furuki on his back in guard. However, Furuki puts Ologun in a triangle. Before he can squeeze though, the bell rings, saving Ologun.
Furuki pushes forward with punches. Ologun pulls Furuki into the clinch and throws knees to Furuki's abdomen. Kimura calls the break. Furuki charges with punches again as his corner calls for him to throw knees when he gets into the inevitable clinch. Kimura breaks them up again, but Furuki's fallen into a comfortable pattern: charge with punches, put Ologun up against the ropes, and then rest. Break. Repeat above pattern. Break. As Furuki presses in on Ologun this time, he eats two grazing high kicks from the Nigerian TV celebrity. Another break is called, and this time, when Furuki charges in, Ologun lands two hard punches which send him into a wild scramble. Ologun lands on top and racks up punches until the bell. A large cut is open at the corner of Furuki's left eye, leaving half his face bloody. Since this fight is not being scores with the 10-point must system and is judged as a whole, Sherdog.com sees the fight for Andy Ologun.
Official decision: judges Yasushi Miyake, Kaoru Todori, and Gen Isono all score the fight Andy Ologun, for your winner by unanimous decision.
Caol Uno vs. Kazuyuki Miyata
In the prefight VTR for Miyata-Uno, Miyata claims, "If I win two more fights, I think I'll be able to get the belt."
Uno, on the other hand comments on the late Ryusuke Moriyama, head of the Wajutsu Keishukai Tokyo Headquarters.
"When I was younger, I didn't understand what Moriyama-san was trying to tell me," said Uno. "But my understanding of his words has grown with age."
Miyata tags Uno with a quick right hand, while Uno returns with a push kick to the gut. Miyata paws with his jab, but the southpaw Uno just comes straight through with a hard left straight. Uno is the one on the hunt now, maneuvering Miyata into the corner. Uno tags Miyata with a one-two and clinches up. Miyata spins Uno into the ropes and then quickly disengages. Uno is racking up some nice clean shots on his retreating opponent. Miyata pulls Uno into the clinch again and lobs a knee up the middle. Uno arcs a knee around into Miyata's thigh several times. They disengage and Uno gets back to hunting Miyata down with his left straight. Miyata absorbs a bunch of low-kicks from Uno as well. Miyata throws a low kick, then a high, both of which Uno defends and counters with punches. Uno surprisingly drops for a single as Miyata limp-legs, trying to box Uno off. The bell rings shortly after.
Both men trade low kicks. Uno charges in and hits a hard one-two on Miyata, who defensively ducks down for a double. Uno defends, but Miyata goes right to his back and gets the German suplex. Uno hops back to his feet, but Miyata is still on his back. Uno turns into Miyata, and Miyata disengages back to the middle of the ring. Miyata is scoring with low kicks. Miyata shoots again, gets Uno's back, and again goes for the German suplex. Uno sits up and works at breaking Uno's grip about his middle. When Miyata disengages, he fires off a big kick to Uno's head and connects a little too high. Miyata fires another high kick and then shoots again to take Uno's back. Uno turns into Miyata and they stall out. Referee Kenichi Serizawa breaks them up and cleans blood from the bridge of Uno's nose. When they resume, it's Uno that shoots, but Miyata deftly reverses him and takes top in guard. Uno shrimps to put distance between them as Miyata drops a few punches, but Uno gets to his feet. Back in the center Uno chases Miyata down with punches. To defend, Miyata pulls Uno into the clinch right as the bell rings. It's a riveting second round for Miyata, who is basically splitting rounds with Uno at this point.
Miyata starts off with two low kicks. Uno tries to flurry, but Miyata ducks down for the double. Uno gives it to him, but Miyata has other plans, once again taking Uno's back for another German suplex. Uno tries to turn into Miyata, but Miyata persistently remains in control, dropping a few punches from side until Uno is finally able to scramble to his feet. Miyata shoots again after landing a right straight and puts Uno down on his posterior. Uno fights to his feet and they separate. Uno tags Miyata with some punches, and then gives up another takedown. Miyata goes straight to Uno's back, but Uno sits down to stop the suplex. It's the final minute, and a frustrated Uno looks for the Sakuraba-style kimura from the back clinch. He doesn't get it, but it does break them up. In the following scramble, Uno lands more punches, but Miyata knows where his strengths lie and thus continues the takedown fest right until the bell. Sherdog.com scores the bout for Kazuyuki Miyata.
Judges Masanori Ohashi, Hikaru Adachi, and Yasushi Miyake all score the bout for Kazuyuki Miyata, your winner by unanimous decision.
Hideo Tokoro vs. Kazuhisa Watanabe
Watanabe charges right at Tokoro, but like any good matador, Tokoro moves out of the way. Tokoro gets the takedown and Watanabe reverses him. Referee Samio Kimura breaks them up shortly after. Tokoro shoots again and puts Watanabe on his back and locks up side control. Tokoro targets Watanabe's right arm but instead of going for the armbar, he locks up a leg scissors choke on Watanabe. Kimura jumps around, screaming, "Give up?! Give up?!" But Watanbe gets it out. Tokoro changes tacks to go for the armbar again, at which point Watanabe tries to slam Tokoro on his face. Tokoro transitions to Watanabe's back. Watanabe flops backward in attempt to slam Tokoro again. Tokoro sinks his right arm under Watanabe's chin, but the K-1 fighter keeps a tight grip on his opponent's left arm to keep him from finishing the choke. Tokoro briefly moves from back, to side, to mount, and then gets reversed to his back. Watanabe steps back and taunts Tokoro from the ropes, rolling his eyes and sticking out his tongue, prompting the standup. Watanabe charges Tokoro again and Tokoro ducks under for the takedown right at the bell.
Tokoro gets the takedown and passes to side. He mashes with hammer fists while passing to mount. Tokoro locks up the armbar, but Watanabe hangs on until he can pull his arm out. He makes a bit of a fool of himself afterward in trying to jump onto Tokoro, but a Tokoro upkick sends him sprawling, unhurt, off to the side. The audience laughs uproariously at the scene. Tokoro takes Watanabe's back, but again, can't get the choke. Watanabe somehow worms his way out again and prompts Tokoro to stand. Watanabe chooses the oddest moment to gyrate his hips while taunting Tokoro, who just takes him back down. From side, Tokoro again goes for the armbar. Watanabe gives up his back instead and Tokoro tries for the choke when Wantabe tries to headbutt Tokoro with the back of his head. Again, Watanabe is able to hang on and not get choked out. The bell rings a few moments later. It's becoming clear that despite having very little MMA experience, Watanabe is at least able to survive against an experience mixed martial artist. Either that, or Tokoro is sandbagging for the benefit of a better show.
Tokoro ducks under a swiping hook from Watanabe and shoots. Watanabe gives up an arm, but as Tokoro goes for the armbar, Watanabe picks him up and throws him out of the ring. Kimura breaks them up and warns Watanabe for this. Upon resuming, Tokoro puts Watanabe down with a single and gives the armbar another try. Watanabe shells up and turns, giving up his back instead. Watanabe reverses into Tokoro's guard and throws a few short punches before Tokoro reverses him and gets top in side. Tokoro tries once more to get the armbar, and this time, he gets it real straight for the tap at 2:50 of round three.
The victorious Tokoro takes his post-fight mic moment to appraise the crowd of his friend, Tomoya Miyashita, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. He asks for everyone to cheer him on.
Hiroshi Izumi vs. Ikuhisa Minowa
Izumi goes over a few old themes in his portion of the VTR, basically saying, "I didn't want to be a fisherman. My dad was mad with my decision to not be one."
As for Minowa, he basically explains how he really wants to do the "1-2-3-Da!!!" cheer that Antonio Inoki made famous alongside the pro-wrestling legend.
Minowa throws a few non-committal right hands. Izumi feints and keeps Minowa on the defensive. They trade punches, but both men either glance or graze. Minowa lands an overhand right, but it hits the top of Izumi's crown. Minowa charges with windmills, but Izumi sidesteps and takes Minowa's back in the clinch. Izumi grabs Minowa's right leg from behind and breaks him down until he gets top in side mount. Izumi passes to mount, and Minowa turns, giving up his back. Minowa gets to his feet and tries to take refuge in a corner as Izumi punches at his head from behind. This continues until the bell 30 seconds later.
Minowa pushes in with punches, which Izumi blocks before changing levels to get the double. Izumi moves to side mount, where he mashes Minowa with short punches to the head and body, coupled with a few knees the ribs. Minowa gives up his back in order to get to his feet and go to a corner, but Izumi just chucks him back to the floor to continue the ground-and-pound assault. Again, Minowa gets to his feet and retreats to a corner with Izumi attached in the clinch, and again, Izumi trips him to the mat. Referee Kenichi Serizawa repositions them in the center, with Izumi on top in Minowa's guard. In the final minute, Izumi postures to drop punches. Minowa scrambles to escape, but gives up his back again. Izumi, on the other hand, seems content to mash on the pro-wrestler from whatever angle he can, and does so until the bell rings.
Izumi gets the takedown and immediately locks up side mount. Izumi mashes with short punches until Minowa gives up his back again. At that point, Izumi starts throwing harder, looping punches to the sides of Minowa's head. Minowa's face is clearly pained, but he's gutting through it. Izumi increases the pace of his punches as Serizawa watches closely. Minowa flops to his side and Izumi begins dropping hammers and punches. It takes a long time, but Serizawa finally takes mercy on Minowaman, jumping in for the save at 2:50.
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Tatsuya Mizuno
Mizuno circles on the outside, pawing with his southpaw jab. Kharitonov walks him down, but doesn't commit to throwing anything just yet. Mizuno lobs a few low kicks. Kharitonov swipes with some big punches and throws a low kick of his own. Kharitonov connects with a big right straight and right uppercut that put Mizuno on rollerskates. Kharitonov closes in for the kill then, finishing Mizuno with a massive right knee to the face. Kharitonov lands two more punches to the supine Mizuno before referee Yuji Shimada jumps in for the stop at 1:25.
K-1 Rules Bout
Gegard Mousasi vs. Kyotaro
The VTR promo poses this bout as an opportunity for Kyotaro to "get revenge" on the MMA world for prior losses in K-1, examples being Alistair Overeem's recent run and his one victory over Badr Hari, and Mousasi over Musashi.
Kyotaro dances on the outside as Mousasi sends push kicks and right straights the Japanese fighter's way. They begin trading low-kicks, and Mousasi instinctively tries for a trip takedown. Referee Nobuaki Kakuda warns him for this. Kyotaro lands a few hooks, and Mousasi lands a right straight before the bell. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-10.
Kyotaro covers up and lands some hard low kicks as Mousasi tries to slug it out. Mousasi keeps up with the punches, but Kyotaro blocks them well and continues to mash Mousasi up with low kicks. Mousasi sparks his prey with a big left hook and sends him to the canvas. Kyotaro gets back up for the count, but he's clearly rocked. Kyotaro tries to clinch up, but Mousasi lands a bevy of punches on him. Kakuda has to break them twice, but Kyotaro is hanging in there, slowly coming to his wits. Kyotaro survives to the bell.
Sherdog.com scores the round 10-8, as do all the ringside judges. The current scores are 20-18 across the board.
Mousasi parries some low kicks and ducks under Kyotaro's hooks. Kyotaro continues the low kicks, and does manage to land some. Kyotaro swarms with punches, but Mousasi covers up and counters with a short hard hook. Both men look pretty tired now, so both of their exchanges end in clinches which Kakuda has to break up. Kyotaro continues to swarm with punches in this final round, but Mousasi shells up and counters well. The bell rings, and the fighters give each other a half-hearted embrace. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-10.
Official scorecards are 30-28, 29-28, 29-28, all for Gegard Mousasi, winner by unanimous decision.
Dream Special Rules Bout
Shinya Aoki vs. Yuichiro Nagashima
The VTR promo makes particular note of Aoki attempting to invade America, and failing. However, he may be able to invade Tokyo's animation and comic capital -- and Nagashima's favorite geeky neighborhood -- Akihabara, just fine. The video shows Aoki rolling into Akihabara on his yellow motorcycle, where he mimes otaku-isms such as posing for the camera with a peace-sign over his eyes.
He says with a wry smile, "A lot of people expect me to lose this fight, but a lot of people also expect Nagashima to lose too."
Nagashima is quoted trying to bait Aoki, saying, "Aoki should try trading with me in the second [MMA] round as well."
They touch gloves to begin the kickboxing round of the contest. Aoki sucks Nagashima into the clinch and referee Yuji Shimada breaks them up. Aoki clinches again and works some knees to the body like a Thai boxer only to get broken up again. Aoki drops for a double by instinct and the fans boo. Aoki tries for a drop kick, and a flying middle kick, both times falling to the mat afterward. Shimada has to stand Aoki up both times, but it's clear what his strategy is -- waste as much time as he can by forcing Shimada to jump in to stand him up. Aoki tries for more drop kicks, rolling heel kicks, the whole gamut. Shimada gives Aoki a warning for these tactics. Aoki uses the ropes to jump up and throw kicks which Shimada warns him for as well. Thankfully for Aoki, it's only a three-minute round, so this specific tactic has paid off. The bell rings and Aoki is no worse for wear.
To begin the MMA round, Aoki dives for the double-leg takedown and Nagashima launches right into a crushing flying knee. Nagashima drops a number of hammerfists on Aoki, but he's completely out cold, so the blows are academic. The official time is four seconds.
In his post-fight address to the fans, Nagashima turns to Masato who is sitting ringside doing commentary for the Japanese PPV, "K-1 is strong, isn't it?" The implication here being that despite MMA fighters' well-roundedness, it would be a mistake for MMA fighters to look down on the otherwise one-dimensional K-1 fighters. It's a pretty dangerous one dimension.
Dream Interim Heavyweight Championship
Alistair Overeem vs. Todd Duffee
Alistair Overeem wants a third belt, bringing him to Dynamite this evening as he's got a chance to lock up the Dream (interim) heavyweight title. The VTR also makes mention of how the strongest man in 6,000,000,000 -- a nod to Pride's heavyweight grand prix of yore -- Fedor Emelianenko, lost earlier this year to Fabricio Werdum by triangle. As such, they posit Overeem as the strongest man in 7,000,000,000.
Their explanation of Duffee is interesting in that "he's a man with the fastest knockout in the UFC, and was somehow released by them."
Duffee charges with big punches and Overeem ducks under them. Duffee tries to flurry in close, but Overeem moves his head just a tad to get out of the way. Then, Overeem laces Duffee with a big knee to the belly, followed by a crushing right and left hook. Duffee sits on his rear and falls asleep, slumping right out of the ring. Referee Moritaka Oshiro calls the bout immediately thereafter.
Your winner and new Dream interim heavyweight champion by way of knockout a mere 19 seconds into round one, Alistair Overeem.
On the microphone, Overeem plays to the crowd.
"Genki desu ka? ('How are you doing?') Thank you for coming to see my fight. This year, I won three world titles. Strikeforce, then K-1, and now Dream, and I promise you all that I'm going to keep giving you great fights! Arigato gozaimasu!"
Satoshi Ishii vs. Jerome Le Banner
The VTR for Ishii-Le Banner is fairly standard. It recounts Ishii's history -- debuting against Hidehiko Yoshida and otherwise severely underperforming as a heavyweight mixed martial artist. He's got wins over middleweights, and doesn't say things that are particularly funny, despite his efforts at being the class clown. One of the unfunny things he says is, "Next year, I want to take Alistair Overeem's K-1 title."
Le Banner basically claims he'll smash Ishii.
As Ishii will be fighting another heavyweight for once, the hope is that he can turn things around here.
Le Banner walks Ishii into the corner. Ishii drops for the double, takes the Frenchman down and stays in close, passing to side control. Le Banner recovers to half guard, but Ishii throws a few hammerfists and passes again to side. Ishii's corner encourages him to take Le Banner's back and he does. Le Banner gets to his feet, but Ishii wrenches him back down and starts mashing with punches. Le Banner gets to his feet and stalls the fight out, prompting a break by referee Yuji Shimada. Ishii charges in for the takedown again, but is rebuffed. Le Banner lands a knee to Ishii's belly and head from the clinch. Ishii tries to trip Le Banner to the mat, but is foiled by the ropes -- Le Banner bounces off of them and uses the momentum to reverse and get top in mount on Ishii. Ishii gives up his back to escape through the back door where he recaptures Le Banner's back. They disengage when Le Banner turns into Ishii decides to bang it out with Le Banner in the final 30 seconds and gets marked up for it. The round ends with Ishii diving for the takedown.
Ishii swings with a big hook in order to close the distance for the clinch. No takedown comes, so Shimada breaks them up. They clinch again and Ishii looks for a trip while Le Banner throws a few tired punches at Ishii's head in the clinch. Ishii gets the gassed Frenchman to the mat with a trip and passes to half guard to drop hammers. He's barely connecting as Le Banner is blocking well, but that doesn't stop Shimada from asking if Le Banner "gives up." Shimada repositions the two men at the center. Ishii moves back into Le Banner's guard to pull out a leg for a heel hook attempt. Le Banner pulls his leg out and reverses his way into Ishii's guard. Shimada breaks them up. Ishii gets the takedown and goes for the Achilles hold on Le Banner's right leg this time. Le Banner takes the moment to catch a breath or two. Le Banner sits up, frees his leg and then starts mashing Ishii up with his huge fists from guard. The audience chant "Hey! Hey! Hey!" with every punch until the bell.
Both men are extremely gassed. Ishii dances around the outside, throwing sloppy punches and low kicks. His takedown attempts turn into brisk walks into the clinch. From there, he can at least trip Le Banner to the mat. After a moment's rest in Le Banner's guard, he passes to side. Ishii flails hammerfists at Le Banner's head, then locks up a kimura. His first attempt doesn't work, nor does his second. The crowd goes, "Awww!" at this failure. Ishii tries for a third time in between elbowing Le Banner's thigh. He gives that up in the final minute to try and punch Le Banner out from mount and back mount. Sherdog.com scores the bout for Satoshi Ishii.
Judges Gen Isono, Masanori Ohashi, and Yasushi Miyake unanimously give the bout to Satoshi Ishii. The crowd bursts into a round of audible boos at the decision. It seems Ishii really has outstayed his welcome in kakutogi.
Dream Welterweight Championship
Marius Zaromskis vs. Kazushi Sakuraba
The video package for the Dream welterweight championship bout between Zaromskis and Sakuraba asks the question, "Is Sakuraba finished?"
"Finished?" he says. "I don't think I'm finished."
The video notes that this is the first time Sakuraba has cut weight to fight, citing also that he's had a history fighting far outside of weight, ranging from heavyweight against guys like Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic to welterweight today against Zaromskis. It also notes how his first "middleweight belt" in Pride was a toy belt, but how this evening, Saku has a chance at a real belt.
For his entrance, Sakuraba again reenacts and parodies a scene from the popular 90' anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion, which itself is now making a comeback in Japan thanks to the release of theatrical remakes and a successful series of slot machines.
Zaromskis flies at Sakuraba with a kick, but "The IQ Wrestler" brushes him away. Sakuraba indulges Zaromskis on the feet for a bit, connecting with push kicks and hooks. However, Zaromskis' sharp punches connect on Sakuraba as well. One punch seems to open up Sakuraba's legendarily cauliflowered right ear. Referee Moritaka Oshiro calls a brief break to get him cleaned up. When they resume at the center, Sakuraba takes the center and continues to work his punches. Sakuraba's guard is very tight and high, his hands aren't connecting, while Zaromskis' are. Oshiro steps in to have Sakuraba's ear cleaned up again, but this time, Sakuraba is cupping his hand over it. The crowd lets out a collective groan of disappointment as the ringside physician tells Oshiro that Sakuraba cannot continue.
Though we can't see the ear, word is that Sakuraba's ear has become partially separated from his head. The official time of the bout is 2:16 of the first round. Marius Zaromskis successfully defends his Dream welterweight title for the first time.
With his head wrapped in bandages and tape, Sakuraba takes to the microphone and says in rapid-fire Japanese, "Sorry, but my ear kind of came off, dammit. Zaromskis is a great fighter. Thanks for coming out to support me, and I'll continue to do my best. I think I'm still improving so I want to continue fighting."
K-1 Rules Bout
Akiyo Nishiura vs. Tetsuya Yamato
Nishiura dances into range and blocks some kicks to the body and checks some low kicks. "Wicky" twitches a bit and lunges with a big right hook which ends in a clinch. Yamato hits a quick right straight on Nishiura and follows up with more body kicks. Nishiura blocks them and throws a high kick. Nishiura starts varying his kicks, throwing low kicks, push kicks, and body kicks in the final minute before the bell. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-10, as do all three ringside judges.
Nishiura snaps off low kicks while Yamato throws kicks to the body. Nishiura tries to lunge with another big right hand, but misses. The fight becomes a war of low kicks for a moment before "Wicky" pokes Yamato in the face with a quick right, and another Nishiura snaps Yamato's head back with a sharp left hand, but eats a right of Yamato's in the last 10 seconds. Nishiura lands another punch, catches a Yamato kick and pushes him to the floor, following him down and landing in mount. The bell rings and Nishiura hops off, apologizing to Yamato who shoots daggers at him with his eyes. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-9 Nishiura. The K-1 judges differ and see it another 10-10 round.
Yamato more active this round, landing punches and low kicks. Likewise, Nishiura steps up his workrate and lands his fair share of right hands and low kicks. Nishiura gives his best Leonard Garcia impression, swinging with abandon, occasionally railing Yamato with hard lefts and rights. Nishiura's inner beast is starting to show as he slowly stops giving regard to the rules: he attacks after the ref tries to step in for a break, throws a clinch knee, for which he's warned. Yamato, thoroughly angered, starts landing his big shots, and the rock the Shooto stand-up. Nishiura survives to the bell, but he's on wobbly legs, taking punches all the way. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-9 Yamato, for a 29-29 draw.
Two judges rule the bout a 30-30 draw, with one favoring Yamato 30-29. There is no extension round, making the bout a majority draw.
Jason High vs. Hayato "Mach" Sakurai
In the High-Sakurai VTR package, Sakurai clains, "I have no excuse for losing [to Nick Diaz]." Then after a brief pause, he says, "Well actually, wait, I do. The cage was there." He elicits some laughs as he demonstrates how the cage foiled his ability to escape the armbar.
Though Dream welterweight grand prix finalist High is his next opponent, Sakurai reflects that he wouldn't mind facing Sakuraba or Kiyoshi Tamura sometime in the future, nor would he mind throwing his hat in for some lightweight K-1 action.
They touch gloves and after a brief exchange of low kicks and grazing punches, High shoots, but botches the takedown. Sakurai capitalizes and reverses, putting High down and taking top in half guard. Sakurai elbows High's leg and throws short punches to the side of his head. High attempts to shrimp out, but Sakurai stays tight on him, keeping him close. Referee Kenichi Serizawa calls a break and gives Jason High a yellow card for stalling. Back on the feet, "Mach" lands some low kicks and puts High into a corner. High wrenches Sakurai to the mat whereupon he starts working some ground-and-pound inside Sakurai's guard. High stays in close and doesn't do much damage. The bell rings moments later to close an otherwise fairly even round.
They clash at the center as Sakurai throws a low kick and High punches. This turns into a clinch, from which Sakurai gets the trip takedown. From top in half guard, Sakurai stays in close, mashing with short punches and elbows to High's ribs. High rolls and reverses Sakurai, smashing him with three big punches. High cradles Sakurai's head with his right hand and postures up to punch his left. High tries to punch while passing to side, but Sakurai pulls him into full guard. High passes back to half, mashing the whole way with punches. In the final minute, High postures up and lands some heavy shots on Sakurai. From his corner, Muhammed Lawal urges High, "Sprint! Sprint!" The bell rings shortly afterward. High pulling slightly ahead this round.
Sakurai pursues High to a corner and launches a knee to the guts. High absorbs it and runs for a takedown but doesn't get it. They're broken up, and High tries for another takedown, but is reversed this time by Sakurai who puts him on his back. Sakurai passes to mount, but High bucks and puts Sakurai on his back. High passes to half and taps at Sakurai's head with short punches as his corner urges him to "sprint." Serizawa breaks them up. High puts Mach back down on the canvas. With one minute remaining, Serizawa stands them up and gives Sakurai a yellow card for stalling this time. High circles on the outside and gets sparked by a Sakurai left hand. He has just enough wits about him to get the takedown as Sakurai tries to finish with the knee. Once getting him down however, High is able to safely ride out the final three seconds of the fight. Sherdog.com scores the bout for Jason High.
Judge Akira Shoji sides with Hayato Sakurai, however judges Gen Isono and Yasushi Miyake give their nods to Jason High, the winner by split decision.
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Josh Thomson
The pre-fight VTR promo for Thomson-Kawajiri introduces Josh Thomson as "the no. 2 lightweight" in Strikeforce, having gone one-and-one with current lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.
Since then however, Shinya Aoki has made an unsuccessful campaign in America. Thus, the video package focuses on Kawajiri as something of a second hope for Japanese fighters to represent in the United States.
"Not Aoki, but Kawajiri," says the VTR narrator. "Go to America and bring back our Dream."
Kawajiri swings some wild hooks and evades a high kick from Thomson. Thomson nails Kawajiri with a kick to the guts. Kawajiri ducks under a high kick and puts Thomson against the ropes in the clinch. Kawajiri wrangles Thomson to the canvas and lands short punches. Kawajiri punches to the head, freeing his leg and passing to full mount. Kawajiri triangles his legs around Thomson's and tries to maintain balance and punch him in the face at the same time. Thomson wriggles his legs out to get back to butterfly guard. Both men punch each other, but Kawajiri is getting in the better shots from on top. Kawajiri attempts to pass again and eats an upkick but is unfazed. Bell.
Thomson misses a "Superman" punch and flying kick right off the bell. Kawajiri clinches up and puts the high-flying Thomson down on his back. Kawajiri lands in mount and locks on what looks to be a very tight arm-triangle choke, but Thomson survives through it. Kawajiri passes back to mount, but Thomson scurries back to his feet. "The Punk" looks for a takedown of his own, but he loses balance, pulling Kawajiri into his guard instead. Kawajiri returns to mashing with short and big punches alike. Thomson almost manages to reverse and take Kawajiri's back, but the "Crusher" thwarts him. Kawajiri's nose is bleeding considerably. Thomson scrambles out from bottom and captures Kawajiri's back. Kawajiri holds onto the AKA product's right arm to keep him from threatening with the choke. Referee Yuji Shimada breaks them up in the last minute of the round. Neither man engages before the bell, ending another solid round for the "Crusher."
They trade punches at the center. Kawajiri pulls Thomson into the clinch and begins fighting for the outside trip. He gets it and lands on top in half. As Kawajiri works to pass, Thomson throws punches from bottom. Kawajiri drops a few punches to loosen Thomson's grip and finally passes to side control. Kawajiri does his best to pin down the wily Thomson, but is unable to secure the mount or riding time until they get tangled in the ropes. Shimada repositions them in the center in half-guard, which Kawajiri passes to take side control soon after. Kawajiri lobs some knees to the top of Thomson's head. Thomson scrambles to his feet and put some big punches on Kawajiri. Kawajiri looks rocked and skates around, searching for the takedown. He eats two big knees to the face before he does put it down. Face bloodied, Kawajiri passes to mount and again looks to lock up the arm-triangle choke again. However, Thomson's hand is to his ear, and Kawajiri is unable to finish. The bell rings just as Thomson scrambles out of the choke. Sherdog.com scores the bout for Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Judges Matt Hume, Masanori Ohashi and Hikaru Adachi all turn in scorecards for Tatsuya Kawajiri, the winner by unanimous decision.
Dream Featherweight Championship
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
The video package for Takaya-Fernandes gets a little personal with both fighters.
Takaya talks about his father and his troubled past, running with motorcycle gangs and being a menace to society. Such a menace, in fact, that his father fled to the Northern island of Hokkaido to escape his son's reputation.
"This will be the first time I'll wear a belt, so I want my father to see this," says Takaya.
While living in Hokkaido, the community Takaya senior lives in receives word of the younger Takaya's successes in Dream and how he's basically turned his life around.
The champion Fernandes makes note of his own troubled upbringing, and how he himself fights because it was a way of life for him growing up in impoverished Manaus. Short videos and images of Brazilian favelas are played in the background.
The 10-minute opening round begins with Takaya throwing low kicks. Neither man can connect with punches. Fernandes drops and drives Takaya to the mat. Bibiano mashes with short punches, and referee Yuji Shimada calls for action. Takaya scrambles and gets to his feet. "Evil Fist" dances out of range of three looping Bibiano punches. Shimada warns both men to put up more action. Bibiano throws a wild one-two, which Takaya evades and counters with a right. Takaya continues to work the low kick, the only successful strike of the round thus far. Fernandes drops for a single, but Takaya jumps back and out, getting put against the corner. Fernandes throws knees to Takaya's thighs. Shimada breaks them up. Takaya ducks under a winging overhand right and pumps his jab at Fernandes. Takaya misses a big right and eats a sharp uppercut. He retreats a few steps and blows out an exasperated breath. Upon resuming, Fernandes drops and drives, but Takaya sprawls at the bell.
Takaya begins chasing Fernandes down with punches, but the Brazilian is constantly out of range. Fernandes lands a few jabs of his own, but his big rights miss their mark. Fenandes lands a swiping right hand. Takaya lands a low kick. They trade on the feet, but neither really land any big shots. Fernandes smiles at Takaya and drops for a takedown. Takaya defends and Shimada breaks them up from the clinch. Fernandes tries again and get Takaya to his posterior for only a few seconds. Takaya pops back up and retreats to a corner, where Fernandes throws knees at his legs. Shimada breaks them up again. In the final minute, both men paw with jabs until Takaya surprisingly drops for a takedown. He doesn't get it, but he puts Fernandes against the ropes until the bell.
Takaya opens the round swinging and missing. Fernandes counters with punches of his own and connects. Fernandes shoots and Takaya sprawls out of the ring. Shimada breaks them up. Fernandes shoots again and puts Takaya on his posterior against the ropes. Fernandes keeps a tight grip on Takaya's waist, knowing that as soon as he lets go, Takaya is hopping to his feet. Takaya does just that, and so Fernandes pulls guard instead. Takaya sits up and lands a few punches, but Fernandes gets on controlling the distance. Comically, Shimada yells, "No holding! No holding!" when neither man is holding. Shimada repositions both men in the center. There's some argument as to whether Fernandes had his guard open or closed, but Fernandes just closes it anyway when they resume. It's the final minute, and the crowd starts with a Takaya chant, as he continues to rack up punches. Shimada asks Fernandes if he gives up, when clearly, Fernandes isn't, since he's still fighting to control distance and punch. The bell rings shortly after. Sherdog.com scores the bout for Hiroyuki Takaya.
Judges Matt Hume and Hikaru Adachi rule the bout for Hiroyuki Takaya. The crowd explodes into raucous applause, masking the name of the final judge, who also votes for Takaya, the new Dream featherweight champion. The in-arena cameras cut to Takaya's father, who now wears a slight smile on his face.