DREAM 17 results recap for last night's (Sept. 23) 'Fight for Japan 2' event

Dream17recap_medium 
The fight card for DREAM 17: "Fight for Japan 2" completed last night (Sept. 23, 2011) at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

The lineup was filled with match-ups that were sure be crowd-pleasers, featuring a multitude of high profile names and Japanese mixed martial arts (JMMA) legends.

In the headlining bout, former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) brawler "Razor" Rob McCullough looked to test submission specialist Shinya Aoki and see if he could take him into deep waters.

Instead, it ended up being Aoki who tested McCullough. The test involved seeing how far he could crank his neck before McCullough would finally tap.

Many expected this to be an easy victory for Aoki. Many were right.

McCullough found himself in bad positions the majority of the first round, before Aoki was finally able to get him to tap to a very nasty neck crank at 4:52 of the first round.

Here's a look at the rest of the action:

Tatsuya Kawajiri made his featherweight debut in a fight versus the highly ranked Joachim Hansen.

This one was all about takedowns.

"Hellboy" had zero answers for Kawajiri's takedowns, as "Crusher" put him on his back in this fight, almost at will.

Kawajiri was able to use his takedowns to get and keep dominant top position for the majority of the fight. At 2:30 of the final round, Kawajiri was able to use his position to get Hansen in an arm-triangle choke, forcing him to tap.

It's sad to see, as defending the takedown seems to be an obstacle which Hansen is simply unable to overcome.

He coulda been a contender.

Caol Uno has been around the block a few times. He's fought everyone from Hayato Sakurai to B.J. Penn. He's a fan favorite, especially in Japan.

Uno looked to show the MMA world that he's still got what it takes to make some noise as he faced off against "Lion" Takeshi Inoue.

Uno tried several times to take Inoue down, but was unsuccessful. On top of not being able to notch the takedowns, Uno also ate punches and kicks each time he made attempts.

Inoue was too fast and had massively better stand-up. Uno was match.

Finally, with a little less than a minute to go in the first round, Inoue caught Uno with brutal head kick, causing his head to bounce off the canvas, sending Uno into unconsciousness.

Unfortunately for Uno, it looks as though the clock may have run out for him.

Another JMMA veteran entered the ring as Kazushi Sakuraba squared off against unbeaten Brazilian fighter Yan Cabral.

As most fans will recall, Sakuraba's last match ended with a doctor stoppage at Dynamite!! 2010 on New Year's Eve of last year in a fight versus Gegard Mousasi. Sakuraba's ear was grotesquely hanging from the side of his head. Certainly, that's not how he wants to be remembered.

Cabral appears to be not much for sentiments as he spent much of this fight beating up Sakuraba and, to be blunt, exposing him as a fighter who really needs to call it a day.

Sakuraba continually tried to pull Cabral, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) specialist who has won all of his fights by submission, into his guard. It was an odd strategy that ended poorly as Cabral was finally able to use an arm-triangle choke to make Sakuraba tap at 2:42 of round two.

Live by the sword, die by the sword. 

It's an odd state of affairs for old-school MMA fans and fighters. Chuck Liddell has a desk job now. Randy Couture makes bad action movies. Fedor Emelianenko has been relegated to fighting the Jeff Monson's of the world. Wait. Nevermind. Fedor actually is fighting Jeff Monson. How could I forget? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Hopefully, Sakuraba has a back-up plan too. It's always sad to see a legend limping out of the ring.

There's an unwritten rule in JMMA that goes something like this: "If you're not from Japan and you're fighting a Japanese fighter in Japan...don't let it go to a decision."

Not that MMA judges anywhere are winning trophies these days for their merit, but in Japan, it's been particularly bad. Sadly, the Japanese scoring has become famous for their hometown bias and ridiculous decisions.

Willamy Freire was the recipient of yet another slanted scorecard (two of them, actually), as he lost a split decision to Satoru Kitaoka.

After three very close rounds, it looked as though Friere probably earned the nod, stuffing nearly every takedown attempt of his opponent and seeming to get the better of him on the feet.

American judge Matt Hume scored in his favor. Surprise, surprise. The two Japanese judges did not.

Moving right along.

After two very even rounds between former WEC fighter Gerald Harris and Kazuhiro Nakamura, Harris dominated the third round.

In the final frame, Harris was able to take down Nakamura, who looked gassed by this point, pretty much whenever he wanted to. Somewhat controversially, Nakamura could be seen grabbing the ropes to help defend against the takedowns and possibly keep himself in the fight. No penalty was given to Nakamura.

Harris won the fight by split decision.

John Hackleman product and best friend of Chuck Liddell, Antonio Banuelos, sought to get his fighting career back on track in a very difficult match against top bantamweight Hideo Tokoro.

The fight hardly could have been any closer. Both fighters had their moments, heading into the third round, which proved to be where Banuelos was able to set himself apart.

Again, it was a story of takedowns and an inability to defend them. Banuelos used his wrestling to control his opponent in the final round and win a very close split decision.

There's not a whole lot to say about Bibiano Fernandes' fight against Takafumi Otsuka. It was violent. It was short. 

In only 41 seconds, Fernandes was able to avoid a barrage of punches, get his opponent to the mat and sink in a rear-naked choke. Otsuka didn't even get a chance to tap. He was out before he knew what was happening.

Fernandes showed why MMA fans are hopeful that they may see him fighting under the Zuffa banner some time soon.

In another quick one, Masakazu Imanari used his submission skills to secure an armbar against Abel Cullum, and get him to tap at 0:46 of the first round.

Cullum had a very difficult weight cut and it clearly had an effect on him. That aside, Imanari looked fantastic and the fight would have probably gone in this fashion, regardless.

On a night that saw many razor-thin decisions, Rodolfo Marques earned the unanimous nod over Yusup Saadulaev.

This was essentially a grappling exhibition. An exhibition that Marques won at every turn. He will now move on to the next round of the DREAM bantamweight tournament.

Catch wrestling pioneer and judo expert, Ikuhisa Minowa, defeated Baru Harn with a scarf-hold armbar at 4:39 of the first round. 

The match was an "open weight" contest, a loophole that Harn seemed to take far more advantage of than did "Minowaman."

Harn came in 60-plus pounds heavier than did Minowa and looked to use that advantage by rushing him early in the fight. Minowa weathered the storm, was patient, and eventually used his far superior ground game to earn the victory.

DREAM is alive. For now, anyway.

Here are the complete DREAM 17: "Fight for Japan 2" fight results:

Shinya Aoki def. Rob McCullough via submission (neck crank) at 4:52 of round one

Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Joachim Hansen via submission (arm-triangle) at 2:30 of round three

Takeshi Inoue def. Caol Uno via KO at 4:17 of round one

Yan Cabral def. Kazushi Sakuraba via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 2:42 of round one

Satoru Kitaoka def. Willamy Freire via split decision

Gerald Harris def. Kazuhiro Nakamura via split decision

Antonio Banuelos def. Hideo Tokoro via split decision

Bibiano Fernandes def. Takafumi Otuska via submission (rear-naked choke) at 0:41 of round one

Masakazu Imanari def. Abel Cullum via submission (armbar) at 0:46 of round three

Rodolfo Marques def. Yusup Saadulaev via unanimous decision

Ikuhisa Minowa def. Baru Harn via submission (scarf-hold armbar) - R1, 4:39

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