The semifinal bouts for DREAM’s open weight tournament, which has been dubbed "Super Hulk," were recently revealed during the Affliction: "Trilogy" press conference in New York City.
The fights are scheduled for DREAM 11 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, in September. No official date has been set at this time.
First up will be Japanese fan favorite Ikuhisa Minowa, who has fought virtually every big name overseas under the sun (albeit with inconsistent results). He has the daunting task of facing off against 7’2" gargantuan, Hong Man Choi.
Minowa earned his spot by knocking off the modern day Goliath, Bob Sapp, which he did by locking in an achilles lock that forced "The Beast" to tap at DREAM 9 last month. He will face a similar assignment against Choi -- who wailed on baseball’s steroid stool pigeon Jose "Can"seco for his advancement in the grand prix -- at an even greater size disadvantage.
On the other side of the bracket, Gegard Mousasi, who vacated his DREAM middleweight title recently because he desired a move to light heavyweight, will face off against the dangerous Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou.
Mousasi made short work of "Super Samoan" Mark Hunt in his quarterfinal bout, taking his much larger counterpart to the mat quickly where he would go to work for a kimura straight away, eventually getting it and forcing Hunt to tap.
While in his preliminary bout, Sokoudjou got back to his winning ways by trouncing 6’ 11", 330-pound Jan "The Giant" Nortje. Despite being considerably outsized, "The African Assassin" was able to take "The Giant" down and pound on him furiously, which forced the referee to intervene and waive off the action.
However, Sokoudjou continued the onslaught in a moment of depravity, which led to both corners storming the ring. The good news is that cooler heads eventually prevailed, though Sokoudjou -- who said he felt like a "douche bag" for the miscue -- has taken a verbal lashing from fans for the controversy.
The "Super Hulk" tournament finalists will then do battle on New Years Eve at the annual Dynamite!! event.
DREAM 11 is also expected to feature the semifinal bouts of the featherweight grand prix. Though the pairings are still to be announced, it will feature fan favorite and underdog Hideo Tokoro, jiu-jitsu phenom Bibiano Fernandes, hard-hitting slugger Hiroyuki Takaya and also wrestling stud Joe Warren, who shocked the World recently by defeating featherweight superstar Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto.
Here is the current line-up for DREAM 11:
Featherweight grand prix participants:
Joe Warren (2-0)
Hideo Tokoro (22-16-1)
Bibiano Fernandes (5-2)
Hiroyuki Takaya (11-6-1)
"Super Hulk" open weight grand prix semifinals:
Hong Man-Choi (2-2) vs. Ikuhisa Minowa (42-30-8)
Gegard Mousasi (25-2-1) vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (6-4)
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