DREAM 5 takes place tonight at the Osaka-jo Hall in Osaka, Japan, featuring the conclusion of the 16-man 2008 Lightweight Grand Prix.
HDNet will air the event live beginning at 2 a.m. ET. MMAmania.com will provide up-to-the-minute results below for those who are unable to see the event live.
Check in early and often right here to get your MMA fix. And feel free to leave as many comments as you like.
Let's get to it.
Lightweight Tournament Final
Joachim Hansen defeats Shinya Aoki by TKO (strikes) with 5:43 remaining in Round 1 and wins the DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix: Aoki was able to get the fight to the ground almost immediately after the opening bell, but the resilient Hansen, who was fighting with nothing to lose, kept battling. He was able to land some hard strikes from the bottom, and worked his way to the top position. From there he landed more punches that clearly took a toll on Aoki. It didn't take many more of those shots from a guy with the power of Hansen to finish the fight, and the ref finally had to intervene. Joachim Hansen is the new DREAM Lightweight Champion.
Lightweight Tournament Semifinals
Eddie Alvarez defeats Tatsuya Kawajiri by TKO (strikes) with 2:27 left in Round 1: This was a great fight! Alvarez started off a little slow, but got better the more he got hit. What looked like a technical chess match early on, quickly turned into an all out slugfest with both guys getting floored at different times. It seems like when Alvarez gets stunned or hurt in a fight, he just decides to throw caution to the wind, and it always seems to turn the momentum in his favor. He won the exchanges with his speed and finished the fight with his power. He took some damage, but I think he'll be in good shape for the finals. Aoki will be a stiff test for him though. Alvarez has faced all strikers in this tournament so far. Aoki is going to be a drastic change of styles. Should be interesting.
Shinya Aoki defeats Caol Uno by unanimous decision: Aoki, without a doubt, has one of the most aggressive submission games in mixed martial arts. Uno did a very good job of defending, but that's pretty much what the entire fight consisted of...Aoki attempting submissions and Uno defending them. We'll see later on in the finals how important not finishing this fight was, as far as cardio goes, but he was impressive nonetheless. I don't know if there's a submission attempt in the Brazilian jiu jitsu handbook that he didn't throw at Uno in this fight. Solid victory for the favorite to win this tournament.
Lightweight Tournament Reserve Bout
Joachim Hansen vs. Kultar Gill by submission (armbar) with 7:27 seconds remaining in Round 1: This tournament reserve fight looks like it'll be just a formality. Both Aoki and Alvarez look like they'll be able to compete in the finals. But this is a good win over a tough opponent anyway for "Hellboy." Gill looked decent early on with some crisp striking, but the crafty Hansen found the armbar in the first round and secured another win. UPDATE: Wow! In a heartbreaking, and equally shocking turn of events, it has just been announced that Eddie Alvarez will not be able to compete in the final against Aoki. Apparently a cut he sustained in his semi-final bout with Kawajiri has caused his eye to swell shut, and it's too much of a concern for the officials to allow him to fight again tonight. So disappointing! Hansen is a worthy opponent for Aoki, but Alvarez earned this fight, and it's an absolute shame he won't be able to finish up what has been a great tournament for him.
Alistair Overeem defeats Mark Hunt by submission (shoulder lock) with 8:47 remaining in Round 1: Hunt came out throwing some powerful blows and when Overeem went for the clinch, Hunt easily threw him to the mat. That turned out to be a bad decision though. Overeem was able to capitalize from his back, and locked up a shoulder lock that forced Hunt to tap. Very nice win for Overeem, who took this fight on three days notice. Impressive.
Yoshihiro Akiyama defeats Katsuyori Shibata by submission (choke) with 3:28 left in Round 1: The Japanese professional wrestler, Shibata was a huge underdog, but put up a solid fight early on before getting choked out by the talented Akiyama midway through the first round. Akiyama wore a Gi, and used it to secure the choke that put Shibata to sleep from the mounted position.
Hideo Tokoro defeats Takeshi Yamazaki by unanimous decision: Tokoro was the more effective striker in this fight and went for more submissions than Yamazaki. He was, however, given a yellow card after two apparent low blows in the first round, but that didn't make a difference in the final decision. They each had their moments. Both guys stayed pretty active, but Tokoro was more aggressive early on and always seemed to have an answer to Yamazaki's attacks, which was more than likely the determining factor in the eyes of the judges. Pretty close fight though.
Kuniyoshi Hironaka defeats Motoki Miyazawa by TKO (cut) with 59 seconds remaining in Round 1: Coming off losing three out of four fights in the UFC, Hironaka got back into the win column in his first fight back in front of the Japanese faithful. It was no cake walk though. He had to hold off a scrappy Motoki Miyazawa. It was close early, but Hironaka seemed to get better as the fight wore on. It got pretty bloody late in the first round. Miyazawa had a nasty gash above his eye that ultimately caused the officials to stop the bout with just under a minute remaining. Good win for Hironaka.
Joseph Benavidez defeats Junyo Kudo by submission (guillotine) with 7:18 remaining in Round 1: With WEC featherweight champ Urijah Faber in his corner, Benavidez stayed undefeated, going to 8-0. He slammed Kudo hard early in the fight and worked his way into a position to secure a very tight guillotine choke. It was a solid performance, and this kid looks like a dynamite prospect for DREAM. We'll see him again for sure.
Daisuke Nakamura defeats Andy Ologun by submission (armbar) with 3:39 left in Round 1: The K-1 veteran, Ologun looked to be building some confidence with his striking early on, but Nakamura showed him the MMA game is more than just striking as he caught him with a slick armbar immediately after pulling guard at 3:39 of the first round. Nice way to kick off the event. They're going to go right into the semi-finals now. Aoki and Uno are up first.
In addition, MMAmania.com will provide a quick recap of the action once all the results are in. Enjoy.
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