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Mann Talk – Breaking down Dynamite!! 2010

In 2002, K-1 and Pride FC joined forces for the very first Dynamite show. That year 91,107 fans flocked to the Tokyo National Stadium to watch fighters like Kazushi Sakuraba, Bob Sapp and Royce Gracie take to the ring. Every year since then, FEG has continued to host a New Year’s Eve card.

Fast forward to this year. Multiple sources have reported that FEG is in financial trouble. Some even think that the company will scrap Dream, their MMA product, in 2011. However, Dynamite 2010!! is still happening on New Year’s Eve in the land of the rising sun. Some of the names are familiar — like Sakuraba and Sapp. There are also new stars are trying to make a name for themselves on the night that was once the biggest in MMA.

Of course, the card also has the usual year-end oddities such as a former baseball player, a former sumo wrestler and a brother of a popular comedian.

Dream Featherweight Championship
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
A lot of people are really excited about this rematch since the two faced off in the finals of the Dream featherweight tournament. However, I am worried that I might have another coronary. In their first fight, Fernandes took Takaya’s back several times, but each time the referee restarted them standing. I get chest pains when I see a referee break a clinch.

This time, look for Fernandes to secure a submission in a scramble and take another step towards the new UFC featherweight division.
Pick = Bibiano Fernandes

John Buhl’s Breakdown
Fernandes probably looks like the favorite on paper if you glance at the rankings. Takaya’s stock took a tumble with his 0-2 run in the WEC. But his brawling style gives him a decent chance against Fernandes, and I don’t see this fight looking much different from their first, which went in Fernandes’s favor via split decision. I think Fernandes will fight smart and safe and get the win.
Pick = Bibiano Fernandes

Dream Welterweight Championship
Marius Zaromskis vs. Kazushi Sakuraba
It has become hard to watch Sakuraba fight. The once dynamic open-weight all-star is certainly worse for the wear after countless wars. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine successfully stopped Zaromskis’ hype train. However, the Lithuanian should have enough game to stop the aging legend. Basically, this fight will look like Sakuraba’s fight against Zelg Galesic without the desperation kneebar.
Pick = Marius Zaromskis

John Buhl’s Breakdown
Hard to watch a legend like Sakuraba go out taking so many beatings, but Zaromskis should pick him apart on the feet.
Pick = Marius Zaromskis

Dream vs. K-1
Shinya Aoki vs. Yuichiro Nagashima (K-1/MMA Hybrid Rules)
This card really takes me back to my youth. With Bob Sapp fighting a sumo wrestler and matches with special rules, I feel like I should be searching through People magazine looking for pictures of an innocent Britney Spears. If the first round of this K-1/MMA rules bout is MMA, than Aoki will easily submit the kickboxer. If the first round is K-1 rules, than Aoki will surprise people by surviving and then get a submission in the second round.
Pick = Shinya Aoki

Hideo Tokoro vs. Kazuhisa Watanabe (MMA Rules)
This fight is a lot more interesting than you might think. Normally a fighter with the “submission before position” skills of Tokoro easily takes out a boxer turned kickboxer. However, Tokoro is a member of the Jonathan Goulet All-Star Team, which is composed of good fighters with bad chins. Normally when people say, “this guy has a puncher’s chance” it is mindless drivel. However, in this fight Watanabe really does have such a chance. The smart money is still on Tokoro.
Pick = Hideo Tokoro

Akiyo Nishiura vs. Tetsuya Yamato (K-1 Rules)
In theory, this fight is great. You take an MMA fighter who excels on the feet and match him with an up and coming K-1 star. Nishiura gets away with his unorthodox striking, because he lands with huge power. However, against a seasoned striker like Yamato it will not be enough.

Interestingly enough both of these fighters like to paint in their spare time. You can check out some of Wicky Akiyo’s art here.
Pick = Tetsuya Yamato

Gegard Mousasi vs. Kyotaro (K-1 Rules)
For the second time, Mousasi will fight under K-1 rules on New Year’s Eve. In 2008, he scored a surprising knockout over Mousasi. This year, he will meet K-1 heavyweight champion Kyotaro.

After back-to-back losses to end 2009, Kyotaro had an impressive year in 2010. He defended his title against Peter Aerts and then earned a spot in the Final Eight over Jerome Le Banner.

Mousasi has proven himself as a striker, but I favor Kyotaro. He knows how tin rounds and avoid big strikes. However, I would not be surprised if Mousasi won.
Pick = Kyotaro

Dream vs. Strikeforce
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Josh Thomson
In a lot of ways Kawajiri is the quintessential mixed martial artist. Against a good striker, he can get takedowns. Against a good grappler, he can do the Chuck Liddell and score on the feet. Thomson has not looked sharp striking or defending takedowns since recovering from a rash of injuries. In this fight, he will be stuck on the bottom. More importantly, he already got his Christmas gift when the judges gave him the decision over Gesias Cavalcante.
Pick = Tatsuya Kawajiri.

John Buhl’s Breakdown
Two guys with similar styles, but I think Thomson is a bit stronger in most every area. As long as the short notice thing doesn’t bother him and he’s healthy, Thomson wins by decision.
Pick = Josh Thomson

IGF Special Rules Fight
Bob Sapp vs. Shinichi Suzukawa
Two years ago, Sapp ruined DJ Ozma’s day by stopping Akihito Tanaka while he was dressed up like Kid Muscle. This year, Antonio Inoki is producing this fight under special IGF rules, which are basically old-school slap fighting rules. There is always a chance that Sapp could lay an egg. However, I still have faith that he can take out a former sumo wrestler who holds the distinction for being the first Japanese sumo wrestler to get bounced for smoking pot. He also no-sold a choke in a professional wrestling match against Mark Coleman.

Also, I have to include this great quotation from a Japanese blogger by way of Nightmareofbattle.com, “I thought a round faced small time yakuza from some rural area came out but it was [Suzukawa].”
Pick = Bob Sapp

Dream vs. SRC
Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Hiroshi Izumi
I am usually the first guy to go crazy about an Olympic medalist coming into MMA. However, I am beginning to think that judo players may not be anywhere close to ready. This is at least partially due to the struggles of Izumi. Sure, he is 3-1, but it is a pretty soft 3-1. Against Minowa, he will have a size advantage, but everyone knows size is not an issue for the Super-Hulk champion. I am going to go with Izumi to stay on top and avoid leg locks, but Minowa can always pull out a win.
Pick = Hiroshi Izumi

Single Fights
Jerome Le Banner vs. Satoshi Ishii
This is some quality match making from FEG. K-1 heavyweights have high Q ratings and paltry MMA skills. With a win, Ishii will get credit for picking up a significant win without having to face a top-50 MMA fighter. However, this won’t be a walk in the park for the Olympic gold medalist. On the feet, Ishii is extremely hittable and naturally Le Banner can throw a nice three-piece spicy. The name of the game will be getting the fight on the floor for Ishii. Once there, it will be basically over. On top of that, Le Banner has started fighting for paychecks recently. Think about his fight with Semmy Schilt in the 2009 K-1 World Grand Prix and his walkout of this year’s Final 16.
Pick = Satoshi Ishii

Sergei Kharitonov vs. Tatsuya Mizuno
Hopefully FEG is done butchering Kharitonov’s career. Due to the lack of heavyweight fights in Dream, FEG sent Kharitonov to K-1. The results have not been pretty. The ugliness reached critical mass when Singh Jaideep knocked him out earlier this month.

After an upset of the year candidate performance against Melvin Manhoef, Mizuno came back down to earth against Gegard Mousasi. Kharitonov is still a much better MMA fighter than kickboxer. Plus, he is much bigger than Mizuno.
Pick = Sergei Kharitonov

Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Caol Uno
Two former lightweights meet in a featherweight contest. The change is really a bit too late for Uno. However, Miyata might really be able to make some noise at his new weight. He is gargantuan for a featherweight and has an Olympic wrestling background. He should be able to wrestle his way to a decision here. The big question is, how quickly will he get a title shot. This will be his sixth win in a row, and he is an FEG favorite
Pick = Kazuyuki Miyata

Alistair Overeem vs. Todd Duffee
Perhaps ProMMANow jefe Jack Bratcher was right. Overeem must be an alien, cyborg or both. He showed that he is a top-notch striker and staked his claim as the best MMA fighter to ever fight in K-1. It is important to note that he won the Grand Prix under the ridiculous K-1 rules that take away his best weapon: knees from the clinch.

Since Todd Duffee’s Achilies heel seems to be his cardio, taking the fight on extremely short notice will probably not help. I expect Overeem to survive an early barrage and score in the clinch position.
Pick = Alistair Overeem

John Buhl’s Breakdown
At the very least, Duffee can bang, and Overeem has been KO’d before. The problem is, it hasn’t happened since 2007 against Kharitonov, and Overeem should be riding high after making it through the K-1 Grand Prix. I’d be surprised if Overeem doesn’t get the TKO in round 1.
Pick = Alistair Overeem

Hayato Sakurai vs. Jason High
If you throw out his destruction of Shinya Aoki, Sakurai has not looked impressive since 2008. The story on Sakurai has always been the same. If he is motivated, he is a dangerous fighter. If he is not, then he can be his own worst enemy. Jason High’s wrestling game would give Sakurai trouble when he is at his best. So, look for him to get takedowns and pick up a quality win.
Pick = Jason High

Andy Ologun vs. Katsuaki Furuki (K-1 Rules)
It would not be Dynamite!! without some odd match ups. Despite only getting a chance because his brother is a popular comedian, Ologun is not a terrible kickboxer. Furuki is a former baseball player who will be completely out of luck unless FEG decides to let him bring a bat into the ring.
Pick = Andy Ologun

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