Dream 8 Tournament Lineup Finalized

By Jordan Breen Mar 26, 2009
With Dream’s welterweight grand prix set to get under way in less than two weeks, parent company Fighting and Entertainment Group has finished off its tournament lineup and added six bouts to Dream 8 on April 5 at the Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan.

The three freshly announced welterweight grand prix bouts will see scrappy Deep veteran Yuya Shirai meet Antonio McKee pupil Jason High, Deep welterweight king Seichi Ikemoto take on knockout artist Marius Zaromskis and undefeated grappling all-star Andre Galvao tackle well-travelled veteran John Alessio.

Shirai, who upset Deep middleweight champion Yuichi Nakanishi in a non-title bout last December, earned his way into the tournament in his welterweight debut last month, as he choked out South Korean Yoon Young Kim in a tournament eliminator. The 27-year-old High has not competed since suffering the first loss of his career in January, when he was starched by Jay Hieron in 64 seconds.

Ikemoto, 33, punched his ticket to the tournament in February, when he surprisingly decimated Hidetaka Monma in less than two minutes. Zaromskis, a Lithuania native based in London, is coming off a 50-second smashing of Jedrzej Kubski in his homeland in November.

One of the world’s most outstanding Brazilian jiu-jitsu and no-gi grappling competitors, Galvao is 2-0 in his young mixed martial arts career, as he took submission wins over Jeremiah Metcalf and Mikey Gomez in August and December, respectively. Alessio, a UFC, World Extreme Cagefighting and Pride Fighting Championships veteran, has not seen action since he was stopped by dynamic Brit Paul Daley in December.

The trio of grand prix bouts fills out Dream’s 168-pound bracket, joining the already announced rematch between Shinya Aoki and Hayato "Mach" Sakurai.

A strong heavyweight contest between recently victorious Jeff Monson and Sergei Kharitonov was also added to the card.

Monson took a razor-thin verdict over Roy Nelson on March 21, as he picked up his fourth straight win. The match with Monson will be just the third fight for Kharitonov in the last two years; the Russian took first-round stoppages over Alistair Overeem and Jimmy Ambriz in September 2007 and September 2008, respectively.

FEG also announced a pair of middleweight contests pairing Murilo "Ninja" Rua with Dong Sik Yoon and Shungo Oyama and Andrews Nakahara. Oyama replaces the previously scheduled Zelg Galesic, who was forced out of action due to abnormal blood test results in his pre-fight medicals. Galesic’s camp revealed the aberration to the Croatian media last week, citing recent weight loss and exhaustion as the reason for the irregular test result.

Despite a nine-fight lineup, Dream event producer Keiichi Sasahara announced there may be a final bout added to the card in the coming days.
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