SAITAMA, May 11, 2008 -- American wrestler Eddie Alvarez
beat Norwegian shooto fighter Joachim Hansen in a thriller; while Japanese
mixed martial arts legend Caol Uno won in the Main Event at tonight's DREAM.3
Lightweight Grand Prix 2008 2nd Round.
Held at the Saitama Super Arena, DREAM.3 featured winners
from the inaugural DREAM event meeting in a trio of bouts in the 70 kg/154 lbs
Lightweight class, with victors advancing to the Osaka DREAM.5 Lightweight GP
Final in July. The card included five additional contests in a variety of
weight classes. All bouts were conducted under Official DREAM Rules, (1stR x 10
min, 2ndR x 5min)
DREAM.3 marked an exciting new chapter in the development of
the young fightsport production, as it was held in association with American
sports entertainment company ProElite and broadcast live in the United States
on HDNet Fights television. In the Main Event, it was Caol Uno meeting compatriot
A cautious start to the fight, the boys circling without
striking. Ishida tested with several low kicks before closing, only to be stopped
by Uno's devastating right hook and uppercut. Ishida's efforts left his face
bloodied, prompting a doctor's check. After resumption, Uno controlled with the
punches until Ishida got the takedown he'd been looking for. Uno however locked
up his opponent on the ground. Finally, Ishida found the side mount and
threatened to set up the armbar. A wily Uno however escaped to his feet. Late
in the round, Ishida managed another takedown to rear mount but could not make
the sleeper happen. Uno was simply too good with his ground defense.
In the second round Ishida again went looking for the
takedown, but again had a hard time getting past Uno's strikes. As time ran
down an increasingly desperate Ishida made a critical mistake. A single leg
takedown attempt was challenged, and the pair came out of a roll with Uno in a
strong rear mount. In a flash, Uno had wrapped the arms round to submit by
"I know Ishida was eager to fight me," said Uno
afterward, "but I'm the one going home with the win. I'm very happy to be
advancing in the Lightweight Grand Prix!"
The card's penultimate bout was another Lightweight GP
matchup, with Eddie Alvarez of Elite XC and Joachim Hansen fighting a terrific
Alvarez got an early right straight punch in to drop Hansen
hard, but could not follow up to finish off. Back on their feet again, it was
Alvarez through with the fists. Hansen offered a good left as this started to
look like a streetfight, before Alvarez body slammed the Norwegian to the mat.
Soon another Alvarez right got past Hansen's lapsing guard and dropped him
again. Alvarez with another body slam soon afterward, the pair going to the mat
with Hansen defending in half mount, Alvarez rising to pass with punches. As
the round wore on, the American might have had the edge in stamina, but both
faces were battered and bleeding.
The second round saw tremendous action. The fighters quickly
went to the mat, Hansen striving for the choke hold, Alvarez escaping to get
atop, only to be launched up and off by a high-speed Hansen leg elevator. Back
on the ground, Hansen got the legs around but could not maneuver for the
triangle. Alvarez's evasions were impressive, but the best was yet to come.
After landing a bunch of punches, Alvarez saw a back mount backfire and ended
up in a compromised position, Hansen appearing to have the armbar all but set.
Alvarez spectacularly flipped over and out, emerging with his arms triumphantly
thrust in the air. The fight ended with Alvarez beaming, Hansen beaten and the
crowd on their feet offering a standing ovation.
"Eddie you are the toughest man I ever fought,"
said Hansen from center ring. "It's always nice to fight in front of a
Japanese audience, always nice to win in front of a Japanese audience, but it's
also nice to lose in front of a Japanese audience."
Alvarez was gracious when he took the mic: "Thanks
Joachim, but it takes two people to put on a fight like that, so we are both
winners. Tonight we won the crowd! Thanks to everyone here in Japan for
welcoming me the way you did, and thanks to everyone back home for supporting
The last of the Lightweight GP fights had wrestler Tatsuya
Kawajiri of Japan step in against Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter Luis Buscape.
This was a revenge match a long time in the making -- it was way back in 2005
that Kawajiri beat Buscape by decision. Buscape had vowed to collect the
revenge he been "anticipating for three years." Alas, Kawajiri wasn't
giving anything up tonight.
From the bell Buscape threw a quick one-two punch
combination before diving in for a takedown attempt, which Kawajiri staunchly
resisted. Eventually Buscape did get his opponent onto the mat, but it was the
Japanese fighter who took the superior position to a side mount. After going
north-south, Kawajiri fired in a hard knee, and following a re-stand dropped
Buscape with a right hook on the counter, then passed with straight punches.
The round ended with Kawajiri locking up in the clinch, effectively avoiding a
In the second, Kawajiri repeatedly passed Buscape's guard
with punches, and when the pair rose to strike, was again the better fighter.
Buscape finally fixed a promising rear mount with some 30 seconds remaining,
but an inspired Kawajiri twisted out of harm's way before the bell to take the
win by unanimous decision.
"I turned 30 years old last week," said Kawajiri
from the winner's circle, "so I'm still young and strong and looking
forward to the rest of this year's Grand Prix."
A much-anticipated Welterweight (76 kg/167 lbs)
qualification bout saw jiu-jitsu fighters Nick Diaz of the United States and
Katsuya Inoue of Japan square off for the right to meet Hayato "Mach"
Sakurai in the DREAM Welterweight Championship.
With a 8cm/3" height advantage, Diaz used his reach to
out-box with his opponent. This proved a prudent strategy, as by the midway
point of the first round the ringside doctor was asked to have a look at the
exhausted Inoue's bloodied face. The fight resumed but there was no grace, as
the boys basically stood and traded blows. Diaz took a few to be sure, but
landed more. The American commenced raising his arms high above his head to
invite his opponent in, only to arrest Inoue's advances with straight punches.
Not a minute too soon, the hapless Japanese fighter's corner sent the towel
sailing into the ring.
Diaz thanked his jiu-jitsu trainers afterward, although the
credit for this win could be more accurately ascribed to his boxing coaches.
In a one-match Lightweight contest, it was Bu Kyung Jong of
South Korea and Daisuke Nakamura of Japan.
Jong let an arm slip away after the pair went to the mat,
but was good in guard. After a re-stand, Jong planted a knee and Nakamura a
punch, but the action picked up when the pair returned to the ground seeking
submission holds. A number of solid attempts, escapes and reversals here, good
flow to the fight. Both men landed punches from the standing position, and Jong
worked the legs well, leaving Nakamura looking in vain for a heel hook when the
The defense was exemplary until early in the second when,
with the pair standing and Jung in motion to his left, Nakamura put a right
straight punch on the nose to drop his opponent. The Japanese leapt atop the
defenseless Jung to hammer home the win.
In the Middleweight class (84 kg/ 185 lbs), jazzy American
Jason "Mayhem" Miller took on pro-wrestler Katsuyori Shibata of
Miller approached aggressively with straight punches and
knees to the midsection, and soon Shibata was on his back and Miller in full
mount. The American never relinquished control, pounding his fists down,
briefly looking to extract an arm before taking a side mount and pumping in a
knee. Shibata could do nothing here but absorb blows, as Miller held down the
head and brought up the knee at will. At one point, Miller smiled and assumed a
peace-sign pose for the benefit of ringside photographers. When he rose to his
knees and resumed pounding down the fists, the referee stepped in to call the
"I want to congratulate Shibata, he never quit,"
said Miller from the winner's circle, before bellowing, in Japanese, "I am
a superstar! I am a monster!"
Also at Middleweight, Dutch dynamo Melvin Manhoef met Dae
Won Kim of South Korea.
The pair stood off for a time before going to a clinch.
After separating, suddenly it was a slugfest. Surprisingly Kim the judoka gave
about as good as he got, and was on top, in half mount, when the two tumbled to
the mat. Manhoef muscled his way out of trouble and into a rear fetal mount and
after firing forth a stunning knee, commenced to hammering the fists down on
Kim's head, prompting a referee stop.
"Two weeks ago I fought Remy Bonjasky, so this time I
don't think I trained well enough," said Manhoef from center ring.
"But fighting here is my dream, so I promise next time you're going to see
Apparently, monster season is upon us.
The first bout on the night was a Featherweight (67 kg/ 147
lbs) fight featuring Japanese combatants Takeshi Yamazaki and Shoji. They went
to the mat frequently, Yamazaki getting the takedowns, Shoji able in guard.
Plenty of grappling, a couple of undramatic reversals but neither fighter able
to put the hurt through. Shoji connected with a couple of knees here, but
Yamazaki worked the armbar, which Shoji only just twisted away from in the
dying seconds of the first. In the second Yamazaki again scored with takedowns
and worked hard on the ground, while a spry Shoji landed a dandy high kick to
bloody his opponent's face. A closer fight than Yamazaki's unanimous decision