DREAM 11 saw the first ever Japanese DREAM champion crowned in the lightweight division. The featherweight champion wa also crowned. Last, and most certainly least, the Super-Hulk tournament provide the oddity we’ve come to expect. Much more commentary after the jump.
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
A striking contest broke out in the middle of this fight. Everyone knew Takaya was supposed to be the better striker, but Fernandes showed that he is a well rounded fighter by throwing back with quality strikes. Referee Yuji Shimda heavily influenced the fight by taking Fernandes out of a back mount twice. Bibiano Fernandes is the real deal. Let’s see who FEG matches him up against next. Both men fought admirably.
Shinya Aoki (21-4) vs. Joachim Hansen (19-7-1)
People like to think of Aoki as a go for broke submission guy, because he has so many flashy submission wins. In fact he is just a good all around grappler. He should every aspect of his game in beating Hansen. He scored with rugged takedowns and controlled position on the ground. In true Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fashion he waited for his opponent to make a mistake and capitalized. This was truly a great win for Aoki.
Kazushi Sakuraba (24-12-1) vs. Rubin Williams (29-8-1)*
* boxing record
The ghosts of Ray Mercer vs. Tim Sylvia were not in play here. Sakuraba dominated the boxer just as everyone thought he would. It is great for Dream, and they should continue to use Sakuraba in this capacity. There are very few stars that draw as well as him.
Tatsuya Kawajiri (24-5-2) vs. Melchor Manibusan (2-3)
Tatsuya Kawajiri was always going to win this fight. He is simply a higher level fighter. However, credit Manibusan for coming out hard going for the upset. Kawajiri gets back on track after his loss in K-1. Who will they match him up with next?
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (6-4) vs. Bob Sapp (10-5-1)
Like Hong Man Choi, Bob Sapp has regressed when there was not much room to fall. The Sokoudjou fight did not even provide very much excitement. The early stoppage was probably just the result of he referee knowing Sapp wanted out.
Ikuhisa Minowa (42-30-8) vs. Hong Man Choi (2-2)
This bout was absolutely ridiculous. Minowa has proven once again that he is clearly better in the super heavyweight than he is in his own weight class. Hong Man Choi has regressed as a fighter, and he was not that good to begin with.
Bibiano Fernandes (5-2) vs. Joe Warren (2-0)
If you watched the Joe Warren vs. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto fight, then you know that Warren posts his hands and pushes up from top position. Bibiano Fernandes knew this too and had an armbar ready. Warren was very confident in his “anti-Jiu Jitsu” but the game is a lot more complicated than it appears. This was the first submission fighter that Warren has faced. He will need to continue to work on his ground in order to improve. On the other hand, Bibiano Fernandes lived up to the hype and could be a top ten featherweight.
Hiroyuki Takaya (11-6-1) vs. Hideo Tokoro (22-16-1)
For most of the first round, Hideo Tokoro was unable to do much damage. Takaya was able to control the distance, land some strikes and defend takedowns. Late in the round Tokoro lands several shots and dummied Takaya, but he pulled guard. Takaya recovered and landed his own barrage at the end of the round. The second round was more of the same. Takaya eventually found Tokoro and ended his night with several vicious punches. If someone were to say that Tokoro and Takaya were going to stand and trade, it would be clear that Takaya would win. That is what happened. Credit Takaya for improve his takedown and ground defense.
Daiki “DJ.taiki” Hata (11-5-3) vs. Kazuyuki Miyata (7-7)
In the night’s first fight, former Olympic wrestler Kazuyuki Miyata looked absolutely dominant. After having trouble making 154 pounds for most of his career, he recently dropped to 139. He has been dominate. He looked stripped of all body fat at the weigh in. DJ taiki could not come close to stopping the takedowns, and Miyata even attempted a twister on the ground. It appears like featherweight is perfect for Miyata, but it is hard to really gauge hi performance. Hata’s clear weakness is wrestling.