http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=5887&zoneid=13 [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]- FIGHT-BY-FIGHT: DREAM 1 LIGHTWEIGHT GRAND PRIX[/FONT] [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Friday, March 14, 2008 - by Ricardo Mendoza - MMAWeekly.com[/FONT] DREAM Lightweight GP Bout: Shinya Aoki vs. Gesias “JZ” Calvancante Shooto Middleweight Champion Shinya Aoki takes on Hero’s Lightweight Grand Prix Champion Gesias “JZ” Calvancante. Aoki has a 14-2 record and trains out of Paraestra Tokyo with Yuki Naki. Calvancante has a 14-1-1 record and trains out of American Top Team with Din Thomas. Aoki comes off a decision victory over Bu Kyung Jung at Yarennoka, while Calvancante submitted Andre “Dida” Amade at Hero’s 10. This bout was originally scheduled to happen at Yarennoka, but injuries forced Calvancante to withdraw from the fight, leaving that card without one of its most anticipated fights. Whoever comes out the winner in this fight will become a strong favorite to win the tournament. Aoki has a slight edge on the ground with his slick submission game, but in his last fight he showed that he is indeed vulnerable to being submitted. Calvancante is no slouch on the ground, but he typically uses his ground game to position himself in order to ground and pound his opponents to a stoppage. Calvancante easily has the advantage on the feet being the more powerful and technical striker of the two. Aoki’s biggest weakness still is his striking and Calvancante will look to exploit that to it’s fullest. Aoki needs to get this fight on the ground as quickly as possible, moving into an advantageous position to finish the fight by submission. Calvancante, on the other hand, will want to keep the fight on the feet and batter Aoki with strikes to come out victorious. Calvancante will be able to fend off Aoki’s attempts to get the fight on the ground, tagging him repeatedly with strikes before finally finishing him off on the ground. Prediction: Gesias “JZ” Calvancante by TKO in the first round. DREAM Lightweight GP Bout: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill Former Shooto Welterweight Champion Tatsuya Kawajiri takes on Canadian kickboxer Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill. Kawajiri has a 20-4-2 record and trains out of T-Blood with Mitsuhiro Ishida. Gill has a 9-6 record and trains out of the Revolution Fight Team with Kalib Starnes. Kawajiri comes off a decision victory over Luiz Azeredo at Yarennoka, while Gill stopped Hideo Tokoro with strikes at Hero’s 9. Kawajiri is widely considered to be one of the best lightweights in the world. By winning the tournament, he can make an argument for being thee best lightweight. Gill has had an up and down career, but seems to be focused on turning some heads in the tournament. Kawajiri is the better fighter on the ground, both in submissions and being a world-class wrestler. Gill is the better striker of the two, but Kawajiri has been working hard at becoming a better boxer, enlisting the help of one of Japan’s top boxing coaches. This fight is plain and simple; Kawajiri will take the fight to the ground and outclass Gill, exploiting his biggest weakness. He will relentlessly ground and pound Gill until the fight is stopped, moving on to the second round without as much as a scratch. Prediction: Tatsuya Kawajiri by TKO in the first round. DREAM Lightweight GP Bout: Andre “Dida” Amade vs. Eddie Alvarez Brazilian striker Andre “Dida” Amade takes on former Bodog Fight Welterweight Champion Eddie Alvarez. Amade has a 6-2-1 record and trains out of the Universidad de Luta with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Alvarez has a 12-1 record and trains out of the Fight Factory with Stephen Haigh. Dida comes off a submission loss to Calvancante at Hero’s 10, while Alvarez comes off a stoppage victory over Ross Ebanez at ShoXC: Elite Challenger 4. This will no doubt be an all out war on the feet with each fighter going for the knockout and not letting up till one of them gets it. Whoever wins this fight could end up being a dark horse to win the tournament. Dida has an advantage on the feet when it comes to technique, mixing in kicks and knees with punches to break down his opponents. Alvarez, on the other hand, will have the punching power since he is moving down from welterweight to compete in the tournament. Dida is the better submission fighter, but Alvarez is the better wrestler of the two. Alvarez will have a size advantage, but that could hinder him at the same time since it’s the first time he has cut down to lightweight. Don’t expect this fight to hit the ground until one of the fighters is flat on his back and sleeping. Alvarez will look good early, tagging Dida with powerful shots, but Dida’s technique and array of strikes will break Alvarez down over time. He will finally land a fight-ending barrage to advance to the next round. Prediction: Andre “Dida” Amade by KO in the first round. Heavyweight Bout: Mirko Cro Cop vs. Tatsuya Mizuno Pride Open Weight Grand Prix 2006 Champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic takes on Pancrase veteran Tatsuya Mizuno. Filipovic has a 22-6-2 record and trains out of the Cro Cop Squad Gym in Croatia. Mizuno has a 3-2 record and trains out of the U-FILE Camp with Kiyoshi Tamura. Filipovic comes off a decision loss to Cheick Kongo at UFC 75, while Mizuno stopped Masayuki Kono with strikes at Pancrase Rising 9. This will be Filipovic’s first fight in Japan since winning the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix in 2006. Mizuno has a chance to put himself on the MMA map with a victory over the Croatian, who is still one of the better heavyweights in the world. Filipovic easily has the advantage on the feet, being a decorated kickboxer and former K-1 competitor. Mizuno, though, has an edge on the ground, but his lack of wrestling skills will make it near impossible to get the fight on the ground. Filipovic didn’t have much success in the UFC, going 1-2 in the Octagon. He looked nothing like the same fighter that won the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix. He never seemed to be comfortable fighting in the cage and appeared like he didn’t want to be there. Now he is back in Japan, where he is a beloved fighter and in a more traditional ring. He will get back to his winning ways, out-classing a game Mizuno on the feet before finishing him off with a knockout blow early in the fight. Prediction: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic by KO in the first round. DREAM Lightweight GP Bout: Mitsuhiro Ishida vs. Bu Kyung Jung Former Shooto Pacific Rim Champion Mitsuhiro Ishida faces off with 2000 Olympic Judo silver medalist Bu Kyung Jung. Ishida has a 15-3-1 record and trains out of T-Blood with Tatsuya Kawajiri. Jung has a 0-1 record and trains out of South Korea with Dong Sik Yoon. Ishida comes off a decision victory over Gilbert Melendez at Yarennoka, while Jung dropped a decision to Shinya Aoki at the same show. Ishida is one of the favorites to win the entire tournament, but he faces a difficult challenge in Jung, who opened many eyes in his MMA debut by exceeding expectations. More than likely, the duration of the fight will be fought on the ground with both fighters using different strategies. A decorated wrestler, Ishida likes to get his opponents to the ground and then pound on them until they give in. Jung looked impressive against Aoki, nearly submitting him on two occasions with an armbar and performing much better then anyone expected. Ishida will take this fight to the ground and start to pound away on Jung’s face, while Jung will relentlessly throw submissions at Ishida until one them locks on for the finish. Jung’s problem is simple, Ishida is nearly impossible to submit and it has been displayed in the past with his will to escape tight submissions. Ishida should be able to pound on Jung throughout the fight, leaving his face beaten while staying out of submissions. Prediction: Mitsuhiro Ishida by decision. DREAM Lightweight GP Bout: Artur Oumakhanov vs. Katsuhiko Nagata Cage Force Lightweight Champion Artur Oumakhanov takes on 2004 Olympic Wrestling silver medalist Katsuhiko Nagata. Oumakhanov has a 7-2 record and trains out of SK Absolute Russia in Russia. Nagata has a 3-2 record and trains out of the New Japan Factory with Masayuki Kono. Oumakhanov comes off a knockout loss to Shoji at Pancrase Shining 1, while Nagata comes off a decision loss to Caol Uno at Hero’s 9. Oumakhanov has been touted as one the brightest prospects in the lightweight division in Japan, but that’s until he faced stiffer competition. Nagata, although losing to Uno, showed vast improvement and fought Uno to a back and forth decision. The edge on the feet goes to Oumakhanov, but he does at times get a little too cocky, dropping his hands and leaving himself open for strikes. If Nagata is going to do any damage on the feet, it’s going to be at those points of the fight where he can exploit Oumakhanov’s over-confidence. Neither is a really a submission master per say, but Oumakhanov has a Sambo background that gives him an advantage over Nagata, who is still a novice when it comes to submissions. Nagata is easily a better wrestler and he needs to use that effectively to win the fight. Nagata will take this fight to the ground and keep it there, not letting Oumakhanov get any offense in. Although it’s good to be confident, Oumakhanov takes it to another level and that has been what has led to his defeat in the past. Nagata will be able to impose his will on Oumakhanov, becoming the first upset in the tournament. Prediction: Katsuhiko Nagata by decision. DREAM Lightweight GP Bout: Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Luis “Buscape” Firmino Japanese wrestling standout Kazuyuki Miyata takes on Brazilian Top Team lightweight Luis “Buscape” Firmino. Miyata has a 5-6 record and trains out of Japan. Buscape has an 11-3 record and trains out of Brazilian Top Team with Murilo Bustamante. Miyata comes off a submission loss to Joachim Hansen at K-1 Dynamite!! 2007, while Buscape comes off a decision victory over Nobuhiro Obiya at Pride Bushido 13. This is one of the more interesting fights of the first round. Miyata has steadily improved since making his MMA debut in 2004 and Buscape has been regarded as one of the better lightweights in Brazil. Expect this fight to be a long, drawn out battle on the ground with both fighters having their moments. Buscape is the better fighter when it comes to submissions, while Miyata is the better wrestler. It’s a pretty even match-up on the feet with neither fighter have much of an advantage. This fight will come down to positioning and which fighter can control the other effectively on the ground. Miyata will take the fight to the ground, but Buscape will use his ground skills to reverse positions and be on top where he can out-position Miyata. It will be a close decision, but Buscape’s better positioning will win him the fight. Prediction: Luis “Buscape” Firmino by decision. DREAM Lightweight GP Bout: Koutetsu Boku vs. Joachim Hansen Former Shooto Pacific Rim Welterweight Champion Koutetsu Boku takes on Pride veteran Joachim Hansen. Boku has a 13-4-2 record and trains out of Krazy Bee with Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. Hansen has a 16-6-1 record and trains out of Team Wodan Norway in Norway. Boku comes off a decision loss to Artur Oumakhanov at Cage Force 5, while Hansen submitted Kazuyuki Miyata at K-1 Dynamite!! 2007. Not a lot of attention has been paid to this fight, but it could be one of the better fights of the night. Either one of these fighters could do a lot of damage in the tournament and become the dark horse to win it all. Boku is the better wrestler of the two, but Hansen is the better submission fighter. On the feet, Boku is a more technical striker with slick boxing, while Hansen has more power in his strikes and is dangerous with his knees. This fight has fireworks written all over it. This will be an all out war between two fighters that are being overlooked in the tournament. Both fighters will tag each other with shots on the feet, but the difference in the fight will be Boku’s takedowns and strikes from the top, staying out of any submissions that Hansen will throw at him en route to a decision. Prediction: Koutetsu Boku by decision. Welterweight Bout: Hayato “Mach” Sakurai vs. Hidetaka Monma Former Shooto Middleweight Champion Hayato “Mach” Sakurai faces off with Cage Force veteran Hidetaka Monma. Sakurai has a 31-7-2 record and trains out of Mach Dojo in Japan. Monma has a 14-7-2 record and trains out of Wajyutsu Keisyukai A3 with Yushin Okami. Sakurai comes off a dominating decision victory over Hidehiko Hasegawa at Yarennoka, while Monma submitted Korean fighter Yong Fun Lee at Cage Force EX Eastern Bound. Several fighters turned down a fight with Sakurai, but Monma stepped up and accepted the bout without hesitation. Sakurai has resurrected his career, winning seven out of his last eight fights and doing so in impressive fashion. Both fighters are good ground fighters, but the edge goes to Monma, who has one of the sport’s most dangerous guards. Sakurai is no slouch either on the ground, but he uses it to better position himself than to submit opponents. Easily it’s Sakurai who is the better fighter on the feet with powerful and technical strikes that can end the fight in an instant. Monma will want the fight on the ground in a hurry to avoid Sakurai’s onslaught on the feet. Sakurai should be able to control the fight on the feet, battering Monma with strikes before finally finishing him on the ground with a barrage of strikes. Prediction: Hayato “Mach” Sakurai by TKO in the first round.