Dream 6: CroCop Returns – Breakdown by Cageplay.com
Fight Entertainment Group is putting on their sixth edition of DREAM MMA from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on September 23. This card is very promising and it looks to be the best card this September. It features the return of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic facing Alistair Overeem and the exciting conclusion to the DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix. Semi-finalists Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Zelg “Benkei” Galesic, Gegard Mousasi, and Melvin Manhoef remain from the original field of sixteen middleweights.
The following are Cageplay.com’s predictions:
Middleweight Grand Prix Semi-Final 1 – Gegard Mousasi (22-2-1) vs. Melvin Manhoef (22-4-1)
Gegard Mousasi is an excellent Middleweight with strong submission skills and great standup. He is on a nine fight winning streak which includes impressive victories over early tournament favorite Denis Kang (Triangle Choke) and Cyborg (TKO).
Melvin Manhoef is arguably the second best Middleweight striker on the planet behind Anderson Silva. With an amazing 96% of his victories ending with his opponent knocked out, Mousasi will not want to stand with Manhoef. Manhoef has had an easy time in the tournament thus far, knocking out Dae Won Kim and then TKOing an aging Kazushi Sakuraba. Manhoef will look to use his strength and reach to keep this standing as he does not want to be on the floor with Mousasi or he will risk being submitted as he was with Yoon Dong Sik in 2007.
Cageplay.com Prediction: This is a tough fight to pick. After waffling for a while on the outcome, Cageplay.com believes that the 22 year old Mousasi, will take the victory. The well-rounded Armenian will avoid Manhoef’s strikes and manage to take him down throughout the fight. Mousasi will own the ground and will either submit Manhoef in the second round or take the decision win.
Middleweight Grand Prix Semi-Final 2 – Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (9-1) vs. Zelg Galesic (9-3)
Ronaldo Souza is a submission specialist who has one his last nine fights after losing his professional debut. Eight of those nine wins have been submission victories with the lone decision win coming in his last fight against Jason “Mayhem” Miller. Each of those submission victories came in the first round. If this trend continues, it serves as an excellent way to preserve Jacare’s energy for the tournament final.
Zelg Galesic has also quickly finished his last two fights, although the last had to do more with Taiei Kin’s hurting his arm while trying to break his fall than Galesic’s knockout power. Like his Croatian countryman Mirko Crocop, Galesic has very strong standup. However, Galesic is prone to submissions as shown by his two consecutive submission losses in 2007.
Cageplay.com Prediction: Jacare will take this fight down to the ground quickly setting up a first round submission victory.
Middleweight Grand Prix Final
Finals are virtually impossible to predict. The fight world has seen Hellboy Hansen win the DREAM Lightweight tournament after being eliminated in the quarter-finals and Kazuo Misaki winning the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix in 2006 after being eliminated in the semi-finals. For all anyone knows, Yoon Dong Sik could win his reserve bout and Mousasi could be too hurt to continue and Yoon Dong Sik could be crowned.
That said, if Mousasi and Jacare make the final as predicted by Cageplay.com, look for one hell of an entertaining grappling match. Look for Jacare to take the final merely because he will emerge from his first fight with Galesic in much better heath than Mousasi who will have a war with Manhoef.
Cageplay.com Prediction: Jacare will be crowned the 2008 DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix champion.
Mirko CroCop Filipovic (23-6-2) vs. Alistair Overeem (28-11)
Crocop has been taking it easy since his exit from the UFC. Sure, he beat Tatsuya Mizuno in less than a minute in his DREAM debut, but that was little more than a confidence builder for the Croatian striker. Will Mirko return to his 2006 dominance in the ring form or will the UFC Crocop show up?
This fight will be tough for Crocop as Overeem is on the verge of the Heavyweight Top 10. Overeem has been steadily improving with victories over Paul Buentello and Mark Hunt over the past year. Overeem is also much more comfortable on the ground than CroCop.
Cageplay.com Prediction: CroCop will dominate the ring once again. Cornering Overeem throughout the fight, Mirko will dominate the standup and TKO Overeem in the second round.
Lightweight: Shinya Aoki (17-3) vs. Todd Moore (9-2) – Todd more lost his last two fights in the WEC. He will be overmatched with the slick Aoki. Aoki by submission.
Middleweight: Yoshihiro Akiyama (11-1, 2 NC) vs. Masanori Tonooka (1-1) – The 11-1 Akiyama is the heel of Japanese MMA after using a slippery cream on his body in a match with the legendary Sakuraba. That aside, Tonooka is overmatched and will be quickly TKO’ed by Akiyama.
Welterweight: Hayato “Mach” Sakurai (32-8-2) vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka (12-5) – Sakurai is coming off a surprising submission loss to the relatively unknown David Baron this spring. Hironaka looks to continue his winning ways after losing three of four in the UFC. Look for Mach to get back on track and win the decision in a tough fight.
Middleweight: Ikuhisa Minowa (40-28-8) vs. Masakatsu Funaki (38-13-1) – Lets give this one to the always entertaining Minowa by submission in the second round.
Featherweight: Hideo Tokoro (21-13-1) vs. Atsushi Yamamoto (11-5-1) – A tough fight that is sure to go to decision. Flip a coin and give it to Tokoro.
Heavyweight: Sergei Kharitonov (15-3-0) vs. Mighty Mo (3-0) – Although he has not fought in a year, Kharitonov will defeat K-1 kickboxer, Mighty Mo.
Update (9/22): Sergei Kharitonov (15-3) vs. Jimmy Ambriz (13-9-1) K-1 veteran, Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga is injured and will not be able to fight Sergie Kharitonov in DREAM 6 on September 23. Stepping in for Mighty Mo will be Jimmy Ambriz, a journeyman fighter from Huntington Beach, California. Ambriz is a career 13-9-1 fighter with losses to Josh Barnett, Anthony Ruiz, Ricco Rodriguez, and Jerome LeBanner. This should be a quick win for the Russian soldier Kharitonov. Look for the quick first round submission win by Sergei Kharitonov.
Lightweight: Keita Nakamura vs. Adriano Martins – Nakamura wins everywhere but the UFC. Nakamura by decision.
Middleweight GP Reserve Fight: Yoon Dong Sik vs. Andrews Nakahara – Yoon Dong Sik by submission.
The fights will be shown on HDNet live in North America.