I finally managed to watch Dynamite – decent show but holy fuck seven hours of MMA is a long stretch even when the fights are great. These were a mixed bag – some great finishes and exciting moments, but several fights were pretty sloppy and unimpressive – a lot of top control leading to decision wins. Here’s my thoughts on the fights from start to end:
Andy Ologun vs. Caol Uno
Retired baseball player Katsuaki Furuki did better than most thought he would, surviving a fight with Andy Ologun and using ground position to protect himself from the bombs Ologun was landing on the feet. Unfortunately, he didn’t really have many tools once it hit the ground. The fight was even going into the third and while Furuki controlled about four and a half minutes of the last round, Ologun turned on the violence in the final 30 seconds and cinched the decision.
Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Caol Uno
Uno spent the majority of this fight trying desperately not to get suplexed. It still ended up happening like 5 times. Miyata won via decision.
Hideo Tokoro vs. Kazuhisa Watanabe
In what I consider one of the most interesting matches of the card, Hideo Tokoro spent the entire fight catching boxer Watanabe in near submissions which the hot headed boxer would power himself out of. I don’t think I remember the last time I’ve seen someone get nearly armbarred or choked more over the course of 12 minutes. In the end, the fight finally went the way it was expected to: Tokoro tapped Watanabe 2 minutes into the third round.
Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Hiroshi Izumi
Olympic judo silver medalist Hiroshi Izumi came in looking like Omigawa’s fat overweight dad, but he used his judo skillz to control Minowa and drag him to the ground where he laid his big belly on top of him and coasted to a decision. Minowa looked distracted throughout the entire fight – perhaps from the severe ass floss issues he was having with his tights.
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Tatsuya Mizuno
The promo video leading to this fight featured on Mizuno’s wife and how traumatized she was every time she had to watch him get crushed by way better fighters. At one point they showed her lighting candles at a shrine in the hopes that it would protect her husband.
She must not have lit enough or something – Kharitonov kneed the shit out of Mizuno before knocking him out cold in the first round. The broadcast then alternated between Mizuno lying unconscious on the canvas and his wife in the crowd trying not to cry. She was wearing a nice scarf though. Very chic.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Kyotaro
There’s nothing more fucked up in other forms of combat sports than the concept of the standing 8-count. Midway through the first round, Mousasi wrecked Kyotaro with a series of brutal blows that dropped him backwards to the ground where he rolled around for a few seconds before staggering to his feet. The fight really should have been stopped – Kyotaro spent the next two minutes holding onto the ropes or Mousasi – he literally couldn’t stand on his own. But somehow he made it out of the first and then hung on until a decision. He was lucky K-1 was 3 minute rounds rather than 5 or he would have been finished for sure. Another notch on the belt for Mousasi – I still can’t freaking beleive he got decisioned by King Mo.
Shinya Aoki vs. Yuichiro Nagashima
Everyone knew it was a bad idea for Shinya Aoki to stand and bang with cosplay kickboxer Yuichiro Nagashima, but he took it several steps further: he refused to do anything but dick around during the first K-1 rules round. There wasn’t a 5 second period where he wasn’t intentionally falling to the canvas, clinching, or throwing goofy side jump kicks. He got his comeuppance 4 seconds into the second round – the MMA round – when he shot in for a quick takedown and ate a faceload of knee. He was out cold before he hit the ground, the most satisfying sight of the entire night. WAR NAGASHIMA!
Alistair Overeem vs. Todd Duffee
I’d like to be impressed that Alistair Overeem holds three belts in two different combat sports. But the Strikeforce belt was won against Paul Buentello and defended once in 3 years against Brett Rogers. And now he wins the DREAM belt by knocking Todd Duffee in 20 Sorry, that’s impressive, but not that impressive. It was a classic Japanese squash match. Much love for the K-1 WGP win though. Let’s hope 2011 sees Overeem fighting some serious top competition in MMA.
Jérôme Le Banner vs. Satoshi Ishii
This fight was drawn across the obvious lines – LeBanner winning on the feet and Ishii winning on the ground. At first, Jerome did a great job of staying on his feet. But as fatigue set in he started going down easy until Ishii dumped any pretense of judo and just crashed into him and dragged him to the ground. A lot of laying, a little innefectual GnP, and some questionably legal knees to the spine ended with Ishii taking a decision wins.
Marius Zaromskis vs. Kazushi Sakuraba
This fight ended before it really got going, with Sakuraba’s ear exploding early in the first and the fight being stopped after shit looked like it was about to fall off. The best part of the whole spectacle was the intro, where Saku was dressed as a female character from the anime Evangelion. I don’t think it was so much a rip off of cosplay kickboxer Nagashima’s thing as it was part of a promotion for the new Evangelion movie – they were the central sponsor on the mat for this event.
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Josh Thomson
I get the feeling that after Josh Thomson saw Gilbert Melendez dismantling Shinya Aoki and Mitsuhiro Ishida in America, he thought US fighters were on another level than the Japanese. That’s probably true, but Crusher Kawajiri showed that at the very least he’s better than Josh Thomson. Kwajiri dominated nearly the whole fight the same way he dominates every fight – with crushing top control. I gotta give some props to Thomson though … after losing the first two rounds he came out in the third clearly trying to finish the fight. He never really came close, but it was a good effort.
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
In what was a nice stroke of luck for DREAM, Bibiano Fernandes showed up looking flat and shitty for this fight and Takaya took advantage of it, winning a unanimous decision in a kinda boring fight. Well, it was mainly boring because watching Fernandes fighting like a chump was kinda disappointing.
Interesting Non-Fight Moments:
- The 30 minutes at the beginning of the show featuring the ring girls talking about random nothings.
- The scaled down opening ceremonies: no fireworks, just Antonio Inoki painting the symbol for ‘Determination’ on a giant sheet of paper with a six foot tall paintbrush and then performing a Minowa-style chant.
- A ‘we are the world’ style group singing ‘Do it together’ over and over and over and over.
- The highlight packages consistantly showing the most embarassing losses of all the fighters on the card.
- Bob Sapp being accused of losing his ‘fighting spirit’ after he pulled out of the card last second (I suspect standard sketchy Japanese shenanigans). Nagashima’s short but sweet cosplay entrance – pretty much the only part of the show that was done in a timely fashion.
- Watching Frank Trigg put on lipstick.