Dream 16 Additions Include Omigawa-Escovedo, Takaya-Beebe

By Tony Loiseleur Sep 13, 2010
TOKYO -- Dream Event Producer Keiichi Sasahara on Monday announced three more featherweight bouts for the still-developing Dream 16 event, set to take place on Sept. 25 at the Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan.

Originally rumored to be facing Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren, the world-ranked Michihiro Omigawa will instead be paired with former World Extreme Cagefighting and Tachi Palace Fights featherweight titleholder Cole Escovedo. Meanwhile, WEC veteran Hiroyuki Takaya will face former WEC bantamweight kingpin Chase Beebe, while Pride Fighting Championships and Strikeforce veteran Mitsuhiro Ishida faces fellow Shooto alum Akiyo Nishiura.

Omigawa blithely dismissed interest in the other fighters on the Dream 16 lineup, even admitting a lack of interest in his own bout with Escovedo -- a fighter on whom he claims to have never seen footage. Omigawa also stated that if the Takaya-Fernandes rematch had been scheduled for Dream 16, he would have declined to participate. Having defeated Takaya by TKO on New Year’s Eve, Omigawa seemed perplexed as to why the “Streetfight Bancho” had been tabbed as the top contender ahead of him. However, while Omigawa looks forward to a crack at the belt, he remains focused on exercising his newly developed “neo-boxing” skills on Sept 25.

Escovedo and Omigawa enter their bout off stoppages in their previous Dream outings -- Omigawa with a guillotine choke submission over Young Sam Jung at Dream 15 and Escovedo with a thunderous head kick knockout against WEC veteran Yoshiro Maeda at Dream 13. In his most recent action, however, Escovedo surrendered his Tachi Palace Fights championship to Michael McDonald in July.

Plenty of momentum rests in Takaya’s corner, as he enters Dream 16 after delivering the first career knockout to former Dream lightweight champion and former Shooto 154-pound titleholder Joachim Hansen in March. Beebe, on the other hand, will look to capture his first Dream victory in his third appearance for the promotion.

According to Sasahara, Takaya was originally slated to fight for the Dream featherweight title at the Nagoya event, but champion Bibiano Fernandes withdrew from the fight one month prior due to “private matters.” Takaya, who has sought a rematch since losing to Fernandes in the final of the 2009 Dream featherweight grand prix, claimed he had initially trained for the rematch. However, when the bout fell through, he accepted the matchup with Beebe to stay sharp for a potential fight on New Year’s Eve.

Provided he defeats Beebe, Takaya expects to rematch Fernandes for the title at this year’s “Dynamite” event. Sasahara reiterated that with Dream’s financial problems resolved and Fernandes paid -- matters which Sasahara claimed were grossly exaggerated by Western media after the champion’s August interview with Tatame -- negotiations are now in the corner of the Fernandes camp.

Finally, Nishiura kept to his characteristic script, claiming he expects to bang out an early stoppage. However, Nishiura also hopes to better realize the skills he picked up from his extensive training camp abroad at AMC Pankration earlier this year. Despite Ishida’s status as a stalwart wrestler, “Wicky Akiyo” expressed confidence in his improved ability to stand up after being taken down.

Ishida also expressed wariness of Nishiura’s training abroad, admitting that he believes the colorful and wily Shootor may have improved his skill set beyond his one-punch knockout power and crafty movement. Ishida’s last action was at Dream 15, where he made a successful featherweight debut against Daiki Hata, winning a unanimous decision. Shooto wild child “Wicky Akiyo” holds a stunning TKO of Japanese fan favorite Hideo Tokoro at Dream 13 in his most recent bout.

Sasahara made mention that, despite plans to announce bouts for Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto and Ikuhisa Minowa, negotiations with prospective opponents were still ongoing as of Monday’s presser. In the case of Yamamoto, Sasahara said negotiations were in their final stages, though he remained uncertain as to how they would turn out.

However, the planned participation of UFC and K-1 Hero’s veteran Caol Uno looks to be off the table, as Sasahara revealed that no suitable opponent could be found. Per Uno’s wishes to participate in future Dream events, Sasahara expects to discuss bouts on New Year’s Eve and in other future events with the Japanese veteran.

Dream 16
Saturday, Sept 25
Nippon Gaishi Hall
Nagoya, Japan

Dream Light Heavyweight Championship
Gegard Mousasi vs. Tatsuya Mizuno

Shinya Aoki vs. Marcus Aurelio
Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Takeshi Inoue
Hideo Tokoro vs. Joachim Hansen
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Jason “Mayhem” Miller
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Cole Escovedo
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Chase Beebe
Akiyo Nishiura vs. Mitsuhiro Ishida
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