Aoki Subs Hansen; Fernandes Wins Dream GP

By Tony Loiseleur Oct 7, 2009
YOKOHAMA, Japan -- In front of an audience of 14,039 at the Yokohama Arena, Shinya Aoki played a conservative grappling game Tuesday until catching Joachim Hansen in the final seconds with an armbar to win the Dream lightweight championship.

After taking Hansen down and grinding him with punches and hammerfists, Aoki stayed close and patiently looked for opportunities to pass. The Tobikan Judan did well in frustrating Hansen's bottom game, holding the Norwegian's feet to prevent upkicks when standing in guard. Hansen, to his credit, was able to keep Aoki in his butterfly guard for most of the bout, blocking his attempts to pass.

Despite a low blow to Aoki halfway through the first frame followed by an upkick, the fight proceeded with little incident as Aoki stifled on top. When referee Shimada's patience had finally worn enough to stand the fight up and give yellow cards to both fighters in the second, Aoki's tempo had already been set -- there was little chance left for Hansen to land the killshot. Aoki shot for the double, eating a knee en route, but he finished it and soon passed to mount. After missing a guillotine, Aoki pretzeled Hansen up by taking hold of his left arm and leg. As Hansen attempted to spin and pull out at the last 10 seconds, Aoki exploded into an armbar, getting the tap at the 4:56 mark of the last round.

Fernandes Wins Featherweight Grand Prix

Bibiano Fernandes took a close decision over Hiroyuki Takaya in the finals of the featherweight grand prix at Dream 11, becoming the promotion's first featherweight champion.

Fernandes shot for a takedown to put Takaya down early, but he missed an armbar as the wily Japanese street fighter scrambled out and brought the fight back to the feet. Fernandes got another takedown and secured the back mount in the ensuing scramble, but Takaya held tight to Fernandes' hands until referee Yuji Shimada called the break.

Takaya kept the fight standing from then on. He stuffed Fernandes' takedowns while trading heavy punches and low kicks with him. Fernandes briefly got Takaya down toward the end of the round, but he ate a fair bit of punishment in the process, suffering a cut over his right eye.

After an initial knockdown punch followed by an explosive takedown by Fernandes, “Flash” once again took Takaya's back. When referee Shimada separated them shortly after, it was clear that the fatigued Brazilian was ready to change tactics and he focused on standup instead. It was this decision that allowed the “Streetfight Bancho” to land his best shots, tagging Fernandes with big combinations and kicks. Fernandes took many of the shots and returned fire as well, but fatigue caused him to eat more and more punishment as the fight wore toward the final bell.

Only judge Hikaru Adachi was moved enough by Takaya's onslaught to give him the nod. Judges Matt Hume and Takeshi Kobayashi instead favored Fernandes, giving him the split decision as well as Dream's featherweight grand prix and divisional belts.

“I think I had a good fight, but I have nothing to say about the decision. If I say anything about it, it would be uncool,” said a red-eyed Takaya backstage.

Takaya had advanced to the final by stopping Hideo Tokoro 32 seconds into the second round. Tokoro brought his usual frenetic and reckless pace to the semifinal bout. Although he found success in snapping punches and kicks at range, whenever Takaya got close, his heavy hands invariably jostled Tokoro.

Tokoro wobbled Takaya late in round one after a lunging knee to the jaw, followed by a winging hook. Takaya survived to get the takedown, though, and then dropped brutal ground-and-pound that almost finished Tokoro at the bell. Takaya finished the job in the second round, blasting Tokoro into a prone position and following with more punches until referee Serizawa intervened at the same time Tokoro's corner threw in the towel.

In the other grand prix semifinal, Joe Warren's brilliant run hit its first roadblock at the hands of eventual tourney champ Fernandes. Though Fernandes chucked Warren off after an initial takedown attempt in the clinch, Warren doggedly shot in and drove until he finally got himself into Fernandes' guard. Staying true to his nickname of “Flash,” Fernandes had Warren's arm fully extended in seconds. Without seeing a tap, referee Oshiro dove for the technical submission stoppage at the 42-second mark, much to the chagrin of Warren.

“There was no plan,” Fernandes said of his strategy for the evening's two bouts. “I just needed to fight, and that's all I had in mind. Just fight.”

Sakuraba, Kawajiri Earn First-Round Victories

As expected, Kazushi Sakuraba put away Rubin Williams with a quick submission in the first period. Sakuraba probed and prodded with low kicks before shooting for the single to put Williams on his back, whereupon the Japanese legend moved to side, dropped a few token punches and then wrenched Williams' right arm in a kimura for the tap at 2:53.

Tatsuya Kawajiri put Melchor Manibusan away within the first period by TKO. Manibusan came with a flurry of punches at the opening bell, but Kawajiri pulled him into the clinch and took him down into half guard. Kawajiri then stiflingly worked his way to mount and traded short punches with the Spike 22 gym boss before posturing up to land the big shots. The Guamanian covered up and squirmed his way toward the ropes but offered little resistance, forcing referee Moritaka Oshiro to call the stop at 3:48.

Sokoudjou, Minowa Advance to Super Hulk Tournament Finals

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou made quick work of Bob Sapp, stopping the American early in the first round of their “Super Hulk” tournament bout. Sokoudjou evaded Sapp's initial salvo of wide hooks to take him down with a single-leg. Sokoudjou dropped punches from side and knee-on-belly until the inevitable stoppage by referee Kenichi Serizawa at 1:31.

Ikuhisa Minowa looked to be in a world of trouble as his rolling and single-leg shots earned him little else than bear paws on the mat courtesy of Hong Man Choi. Despite finishing one takedown to land in side control, where he delivered knees to the body, Minowa was more or less on the losing end of the bout in the first period. Minowa got his chance in the second, however, when after tying up a leg, he fell back for a heel hook and forced Choi to tap at 1:27.

In the featherweight grand prix reserve bout, Kazuyuki Miyata took out Daiki Hata with wrestling and grappling control. Miyata took Hata down several times in the opening 10 minutes, landing punches from side control, mount and back mount. Though on bottom, Hata remained active, scrambling and throwing up the greater volume of punches in the second period as well as a close guillotine. It was too little too late, however, as all three judges gave the Sydney Games freestyle wrestler the decision.
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