Dream 6 really encapsulated all that makes up Japanese MMA. It featured world-class talent alongside has-beens and amateurs. The best production values in the world surrounded fights that were sometimes pedestrian. There were competitive high-level matches interspersed with embarassing mismatches. Lastly, at times it was downright weird, between spending two hours waiting for Crocop’s testicle to re-descend (with the feed helpfully changing to cameras with a view of the Cro-Crotch unobstructed by any referee’s towels) and the fight of the night ended in perhaps the most awkward post-victory position possible, with the runner-up taking a nap on top of the champion.
In terms of wagering, someone who followed all my plays lost a fraction of a unit, although if you just went along with my first (and best) picks, you gained almost a unit. My Public Bet History is now down -1.42 units across four events, but I expect it to be up any day now.
Thankfully the event’s squash matches has bloated my General Public Prediction Record. to a less-embarassing 60% at 21W-13L-1NC.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Gegard Mousasi
This fight went exactly as expected. Manhoef has reportedly been working very diligently on his ground game with some top competitors, but maybe developing a respectable ground game just isn’t in the cards. Mousasi showed good composure and demonstrated that his ground game is as good as we thought. Manhoef really shouldn’t be used like this in the future. He’s too exciting to waste getting submitted. I would love to see him beat up some old pro wrestlers or similarly hapless opponents, as a curtain jerker.
Betting on Gegard in this fight at -155 was the right choice. I would have made more profit if I had not arbitraged out all my risk, but I chose to be more conservative, which worked against me in this instance.
Zelg Galesic vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Here Jacare showed why he has more crossover potential than most BJJ wizards – he has an aggressive and powerful takedown game, and he’s simply an incredible athlete. Once the fight was on the ground, it was academic. Jacare can make his BJJ work in MMA, and he has the skills to put the fight on the floor against most opponents. End of story.
I again cost myself some money by arbitraging out all my risk, but given the events of the tournament finals, and the unfavorable odds I had on Jacare in the first place, I think it was the smart choice.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi
It’s pretty satisfying to call even a four man tournament correctly. I was impressed that Jacare was able to take Gegard down without overmuch fuss, and Gegard did a good job of surviving and coming close to escape. Upkicks are a funny thing. I have expressed questions about Jacare’s chin in the past, and I don’t think this loss really answers any questions one way or the other. The kick landed very cleanly, after a huge windup from Gegard, right on the button. Yes Jacare was out stone cold, taking a trip to the land of Nod, but it’s very difficult to compare the strike he took to many others. Either way, Gegard is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the business, and nobody is safe with him in any position!
Mirko “Crocop” Filopovic vs. Alistair Overeem
Remember when Crocop used to be a good fighter? This was a disappointing fight with a dreadful finish. Overeem looked very good, but he always looks good early in his fights. Crocop really looked dead and defeated even before the groin strikes, but I doubt many fighters would continue with the kind of damage Mirko took to “the bad part of the midsection”. Mirko looked lethargic and slow, which is very bad considering he makes his money through his explosive power. While it certainly appeared another Croatian loss was in order, as I said before, Overeem can disintegrate at any moment.
In retrospect, betting on Crocop at -200 was a bad play, but I think I wasn’t far off given the available information before the fight.
Shinya Aoki vs. Todd Moore
Shinya Aoki is a pretty good grappler and former policeman. Todd Moore is from Texas. Aoki won this fight.
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Masanori Tonooka
Tonooka looked like garbage and lost the fight everywhere it took place. Akiyama looked like he’d taken a bet with someone that he could finish the fight with something other than an armbar. Poor gameplanning, possibly simply as a result of overconfidence.
Hayato Sakurai vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka
Sakurai, even unmotivated, is simply a better fighter than Hironaka, and Hironaka showed he is a better fighter than the Hironaka we saw in the UFC.
Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Masakatsu Funaki
Remember when I talked about Minowa’s “insanity”? Well part of that is playing leglock footsie with someone whose only feasible way of beating you is a leglock. If Minowa had just brawled, pounded, gone for lay-and-pray, or simply ran away from Funaki for 5 minutes until his arthritis kicked in and he keeled over, Minowa would have taken this fight easily. Instead, he threw himself into the worst possible position and got his leg jacked up.
Betting on Minowa was probably the worst recommendation I’ve made since starting this blog. I only lost 1 unit on this play, but it was simply bone-headed. Minowa is a flake and fights dumb. Minowa has questionable defense. And worst of all, Minowa comes from Japanese pro-wrestling and has been involved in some of the most shady fights in mainstream MMA (his wins over Kimo and Butterbean). At -325 I should have run screaming from this bet, and I would have if I’d simply sat and thought about it rather than gotten excited when the line opened. Add that to the lesson list – think things through and decide which fights you would like to bet on at what odds BEFORE the lines open.
Hideo Tokoro vs. Atsushi Yamamoto
Yamamoto has really improved his boxing, and looked sharp out there, even if he still has no power. Tokoro still has problems with his chin and with taking too much punishment.
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Jimmy Ambriz
Remember when Sergei Kharitonov used to be a good fighter? He looked like garbage in this fight, even though he was fighting some kind of cartoon superhero character that had retired and gotten fat. Jimmy Ambriz is just a ridiculous looking person, and this fight was embarrassing. Ambriz has basically nothing to offer in the way of offense or defense from any position. Sergei looked fat, hittable, and slow. Remember when he broke out in Pride, how he was a huge guy, buy lean at around 230 lbs, and moved well for his size? That’s all done, apparently. He’s still far more well-rounded than most heavyweights, but if he keeps coming in to fights in this kind of physical condition, he’s going to have serious problems against anyone that can really hit, because no matter how tough you are, if you keep getting hit, you will lose.
Keita Nakamura vs. Adriano Martins
Nakamura showed some good boxing, but Martins basically looked like a BJJ coach who doesn’t care about MMA, but is connected to a well-respected team, and is just out to get a paycheck. Which is what he was.
Yoon Dong Sik vs. Andrews Nakahara
Dong should have won this fight, if he gave up on his fetish for the ezekial choke. Nakahara seems to have developed upon the natural talents he showed in the Sakuraba fight. He still doesn’t know how to wrestle or grapple properly, but he has flashes of natural talent and the athletic tools to make what he does know how to do work for him. Maybe if he continues to trail well and get high-quality training, he can make something of himself in MMA. Or maybe he can continue to fight for FEG and get thrown to Akiyama in his next fight followed by Hong Man Choi and lose horribly and then basically be a spent force in MMA, which is far more likely.
Overall a solid event, but one that didn’t live up to its potential, mostly due to the sudden finishes to all the tournament bouts and the failure of Crocop/Overeem to even begin to live up to the hype.