Dream 15 Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan Preview
On this Saturday, July 10th Dream will hold their 15th promotional event, with a lot of exciting matchups, and big names. Cards like this are hard to find outside the UFC. This card will no doubt have lots of action, and will define what mixed martial arts is to the fullest. The main event will feature a lightweight battle with potential upset brewing in the air. Shinya Aoki will be defending his Dream Lightweight title against Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Here we have a BJJ expert (Aoki) against a heavy handed top notch grappler (Kawajiri).
After Aoki’s one sided beating against Strikeforce’s Lightweight champion Gilbert El Nino Melendez. Aoki had hoped to tap or break one of Melendez’s limbs. Aoki was unable to pull Melendez into his guard, and work his legendary submission game. Instead Melendez exposed a flaw in Aoki’s ground attack.
Kawajiri will look to duplicate Melendez game plan dealing damage to Aoki while he is on his back, and not getting pulled into Aoki’s guard. Even if he gets entangled with Aoki Kawajiri is known for his rock solid submission defense, also Kawajiri has sledge hammers for fist it is a bad combination for Aoki and his chin.
Unless Aoki can catch Kawajiri in a painful submission which he has made a career out of doing, picking against the champ is always risky. But I believe Kawajiri has the tools to do it. I’m giving the edge to Kawajiri.
Gesias Cavalcante (14-3-1-1NC) vs. Katsunori Kikuno (13-2-1):
The Brazilian Cavalcante is looking to reestablish himself as a dominant lightweight, before injuries plagued him he finished 6 of 7 fights in the first round from 2006-2007. He will be looking to get his career back on track against Kikuno.
Kikuno has managed to merge his discipline in Kyokushin into mma making him a dangerous, and a hard opponent for any man to beat.
Kikuno operates best from mid to long range with his striking, and his devastating crescent kick, and will look to stay on the outside and try to pick Cavalcante apart. Cavalcante with his blazing speed will look to do his damage at close quarters. This very well could be an even battle on the feet. The ground is a different story Kikuno lacks the ground skills to defend the takedown or to survive on the ground against someone like Cavalcante. Kikuno only real chance of winning this fight is to catch Cavalcante with a big shot or a crescent kick to the body to set up the finish and remember to keep his hands up. I see more ways for Cavalcante to win this fight and give him the edge.
Melvin Manhoef (24-7-1) vs. Tatsuya Mizuno (7-5):
Manhoef is a devastating Dutch striker that will no doubt be looking for a KO coming off his devastation of Ruthless Robbie Lawler only to be caught by a desperate Lawler haymaker a tale which will not be told when looking at the the record books.
Mizuno a wrestler will look to take this fight to the ground as fast as possible.
This fight will be at light heavyweight in the Dream grand prix. I have little doubt that there will be any surprises in this fight it is quite a mismatch. The fact that this fight starts standing already puts Mizuno at a disadvantage against a killer striker of Manhoef caliber; any time this fight is standing Mizuno is in danger. Manhoef speed and footwork and combinations should make it very difficult for Mizuno to land a clean takedown. Even if Mizuno takes this fight to the ground I don’t see it staying there. A poor takedown attempt may result in a vicious KO. Get a pillow ready because Manhoef will put Mizuno to sleep.
Gegard Mousasi (28-3-1) vs. Jake O’brien (13-3):
M1’s Gegard Mousasi is the former Dream grand prix winner, and will look to rebound against his decision loss to King Mo Lawal at Strikeforce’s CBS card in April. Mousasi will look to use his well roundedness and always relaxed demeanor in the ring to win this fight where ever it goes.
Jake O’Brien is a seasoned wrestler with 4 wins in the UFC, he parted ways after suffering a loss by way of guillotine choke against light heavy weight rising star John Jones at UFC 100.
O’Brien is pretty much a one dimensional fighter relying on his wrestling. His striking is nowhere as fluid or as crisp as Mousasi’s. O’Brien most likely will look to duplicate the game plan that King Mo used when he fought Mousasi, but O’Brien is not the same caliber wrestler as King Mo, nor the athlete. O’Brien will most likely chase Mousasi around the ring trying to take him down, while Mousasi strings together combinations looking to rattle O’Brien and put him down. If O’Brien does manage a takedown I see Mousasi’s submission attempt will be enough to either catch O’Brien or knock him off his base allowing Mousasi to get back to his feet. O’Brien is one dimensional and doesn’t have many ways to win this fight where as Mousasi can win this fight anywhere it goes. Look for Mousasi to take this fight.
Daiki Hata (11-6-3) vs. Mitsuhiro Ishida (18-6-1):
Ishida will look to use his dominate wrestling to grind out the gatekeeper Hata who in the past has shown weakness against wrestlers. This fight looks to be pretty lopsided. Ishada by TKO or decision will most likely be the outcome.
Karl Amoussou (11-2-2) vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura (14-10):
Should be a pretty even match we got Amoussou’s striking against Nakamura Judo background. This fight should be pretty much even on the feet maybe giving the edge to Nakamura. Also look for Nakamura to take it to the ground with decent skills on top which may be the deciding factor to this bout and just may give the edge to Nakamura.