DREAM got underway the opening round of its 2009 Featherweight Grand Prix a little earlier today at "DREAM 7" which took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
For fans in the states who are looking to watch the event you’ll be able to catch the event on HdNet next Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.
To kick the event off would be Bibiano Fernandes against Takafumi Otsuka. Of which the opening round saw Fernandes take it to the ground as expected; however, surprisingly the Brazilian ju-jitsu ace struggled with passing the guard of Otsuka to gain full mount. A slow start to the evening, which saw Fernandes handed a yellow card for supposedly stalling though it could be argued on whether it was deserved.
The second round didn’t change much in pace though this time the majority of the fight took place standing. Otsuka was rocked by a few shots and clearly frustrated which was demonstrated in his shouts of rage. He was able to weather the storm and remain in the fight. Otsuka also did well in being able to neutralise the jiu-jitsu of Fernandes but in doing so was not able to mount much offence which saw the judges declare a unanimous decision verdict in favor of Fernandes.
Joe Warren scored a big win in his debut mixed martial arts bout. He was able to defeat former WEC Bantamweight champion Chase Beebe en route to a spot in the quarter-finals of the DREAM Featherweight Tournament.
Warren looked good and certainly has the skills to build on to make a name for himself, but Beebe was getting the better of him in the stand up using his reach advantage to keep Warren at a distance and pepper him with some shots. Than Warren was able to score a big knee that would cause a nasty cut above the eye of Beebe. Once the first round ended both fighters went to their corners, the ringside doctor checked the cut and would not allow Beebe to continue calling the bout to a halt, giving the win to Warren. Not the most satisfying means of victory albeit still a win.
Abel Cullum was able to grind out a hard earned decision victory. He took down his opponent Akiyo Nishiura seemingly at will and controlled most of the fight. Nishiura managed to squirm his way out of lots of submission attempts but other than that didn’t offer up much else.
In one of the non grand prix bouts was Mitsuhiro Ishida facing off against Daisuke Nakamura. Ishida’s wrestling was the deciding factor in the fight. Suffocating Nakamura from the get go and at some points even tossing him around like a rag doll.
The second round saw Nakamura come out a lot stronger and this time instead of facing the inevitable takedown decided to pull guard and try to garner a submission, wrapping his legs round Ishida’s shoulders. Ishida however shrugged it off and then it was back to business as usual continuing to see him dominate and once the fight reached it’s time limit be announced the victor.
Japanese mainstay Shinya Aoki outworked David Garner and coaxed him into a rear naked choke forcing him to tap.
He will now get ready to move up in weight to participate in the DREAM 2009 Welterweight Grand Prix that begins in April.
Tatsuya Kawijiri made short work of BJ Penn student Ross Ebanez, quickly submitting him with a rear naked choke in the opening stanza.
Yoshiro Maeda eeked out a decision victory over Micah Miller. The bout started off strong which also saw both competitors tumble out of the ring. But it would quickly slow down, one point stalemating when Miller’s triangle attempt had Maeda caught but he was no danger yet unable to escape forcing the referee to eventually stand them back up.
In the final seconds of the second round Miller goes for an arm bar attempt, but unfortunately is too late as the bell rings drawing the bout to a close.
The debut of Korean judo practitioner Jong Won Kim was a unsuccessful one. He was dropped by a vicious right courtesy of Hiroyuki Takaya who continued the punishment landing a few more blows while Kim was down forcing the referee to intervene.
Now the last bout of the Featherweight Grand Prix opening round of the night which pitted Masakazu Imanari and Atsushi Yamamoto against each other.
Yamamoto was a little hesitant to engage at first even when Imanari was acting some tomfoolery by turning his side to him.
Then out of nowhere scored a punch that dropped Imanari, or perhaps he was playing possum to get Yamamoto to the ground? Either way it seemed to have little effect of him and he was able to work his ground game immediately.
Yamamoto was able to defend against all of Imanari’s submissions advances but it was not enough to give him the victory.
Here are the official results for "DREAM 7:"
Featherweight Grand Prix Opening Round
Masakazu Imanari (16-6-1) defeated Atsushi Yamamoto (12-6-1) via split decision
Hiroyuki Takaya (10-6-1) defeated Jong Won Kim (0-1) by TKO (0:40-R2)
Yoshiro Maeda (24-6-2) defeated Micah Miller (10-3) via unanimous decision
Abel Cullum (14-2) defeated Akiyo Nishiura (9-4-1) via unanimous decision
Joe Warren (1-0) defeated Chase Beebe (11-4) by TKO (Doctor stoppage) (10:00-R1)
Bibiano Fernandes (4-2) defeated Takafumi Otsuka (8-4-1) via unanimous decision
Catchweight (163 pounds):
Shinya Aoki (20-3) defeated David Gardner (16-11) by rear naked choke (5:58-R1)
Tatsuya Kawijiri (23-5-2) defeated Ross Ebanez (19-7) by rear naked choke (4:03-R1)
Mitsuhiro Ishida (18-4-1) defeated Daisuke Nakamura (19-10) via unanimous decision