Picks and Predictions for DREAM 10: WW Tourney Wildness

By Nicholas Bailey (nbailey@mmaratings.net)

Dream 10 has flown under the radar, and barring some kind of out-of-control wildness, it will likely continue to do so. Nevertheless, it has many talented, relevant fighters in matchups that will actually have meaning in a sporting sense, so it is must-watch material for hardcore fans. Furthermore, there are some excellent betting lines available, although not as good as when they opened. As always, follow my twitter for real-time updates.

Andre Galvao (-360) vs. Jason High (+300)

Galvao is still developing into a full-fledged fighter, but he’s legitimately one of the best grapplers in the world, has the right intangibles, and was given a bit of a favorable style matchup here. High is a good fighter himself, but his game is based on takedowns, groundwork, and submission attempts. He’s going to have to get away from that, because he will have a very difficult time getting anywhere on the ground with Galvao that doesn’t end with Galvao tooling him. Andre Galvao by submission round 1.

Hayato “Mach” Sakurai (-600) vs. Marius Zaromskis (+475)

Sakurai struggled for about 8 hours to cut the last bit of weight after failing to make the limit, which should make this fight much closer than it has any right to be. Sakurai is well-rounded but well known for being unmotivated and lazy, so don’t be shocked if he’s in horrible shape here against an opponent he should theoretically walk over that he doesn’t care about. If Sakurai is in really horrible shape, Zaromskis is a heavy enough hitter that he could exploit that, but Sakurai will realistically have an advantage in every aspect of the fight, as he’s a much cleaner boxer and far better on the ground. Hayato “Mach” Sakurai by KO round 1.

I recommend a flier on Zaromskis at +475 after the weight cutting problem.

Welterweight Grand Prix Finale

If an out-of-shape Sakurai gets past Zaromskis, he will have trouble with either High or Galvao, both of whom are in this tournament to win it. In the expected Sakurai vs. Galvao final, Sakurai is good on the ground, but against pure high-level grapplers, he’s struggled, and Galvao has the chops to take his arm off. High would have a harder time with Sakurai, but would likely be able to overpower and wear out Sakurai for a decision. If Sakurai is woefully underprepared and Zaromskis takes him to school, High or Galvao should easily be able to take him to school on the ground and win the tournament. When they were available at +250 and +600, respectively, both Galvao and High represented good bets for the champion.

Shinya Aoki (-200) vs. Vitor Ribeiro (+170)

This has the potential to be a very interesting tilt. Ribeiro is making his first comeback fight against legitimate competition after a very serious eye injury inflicted by JZ Cavalncanti and an unimpressive warm-up return against the perpetually outmatched Katsuhiko Nagata. Shaolin is well-rounded, but relies on an extremely fundamentally sound jiu-jitsu attack, supported with strong wrestling. It’s always compelling to see those kinds of skills matched up against a dynamic banzai grappling game like Aoki brings. Traditionally, Aoki has failed to get submissions when he’s been matched up against high level grapplers (debatably excluding the always overaggressive Joachim Hansen), and Shaolin is the best grappler Aoki has fought. This fight is close and will come down to who comes in better prepared, but Shaolin does have an advantage with his wrestling and airtight top control. Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro by decision.

At +200, Shaolin is an excellent bet.

Jesse Taylor (+185) vs. Dong Sik Yoon (-225)

Taylor is taking this fight on typically short notice for a Japanese promotion, but he’s been staying very active (having fought on July 11th) so he should be in better shape than most fighters with 10 days notice. He’ll need it to, as, like the Galvao vs. High fight, Taylor is someone that lives or dies by his takedowns and top control, fighting someone that has the skills to submit him very quickly. For all his foibles, received beatings, and disinterest in actually pursuing MMA, Dong Sik Yoon has a very nice armbar, one that Taylor could easily drive himself directly into. Yoon has to have the edge here, as he probably knew about this fight for weeks before Taylor did, but it’s entirely likely that he gets beat up and decides he doesn’t want to be in the ring (or reaches that decision well before he sets foot in it) and Taylor grinds out a decision, so it could go either way. Dong Sik Yoon by dongbar round 1.

At +190, Taylor represents a good value play.

Paulo Filho (-130) vs. Melvin Manhoef (+105)

This fight has blowout written all over it. Manhoef is the kind of guy that will knock your head off if you come unprepared or even make a momentary mistake. Filho has recently defined his career by coming unprepared and making one mistake after another. In fact, even if Filho came in in the best shape of his life, more dedicated to the game than ever before, and with a razor-sharp mind, Manhoef still has a very good chance of caving his head in within 20 seconds. However, Manhoef is also one of those unfortunate fighters that, despite diligently attempting to learn ground skills, is simply constitutionally unsuited to grappling. Filho is the kind of guy who, even if he rides an imaginary unicorn to the ring, can still take mount to a crushing armbar based entirely on reflexes and reptile brain autopilot. So somebody here is going to get hosed.

Filho’s takedown game is primarily based on driving guys into the ropes and then rolling them over on the rebound. This sort of brute force strategy might run into serious problems against a ball of muscle like Manhoef. Combined with Filho’s mental problems, Manhoef has to be given the edge here. Melvin Manhoef by soul-destroying knockout, round 1.

When he opened at +125, Manhoef represented an excellent bet. However, I don’t think there’s much value below even, since even a deranged Filho can sleepwalk into a submission win here.

Andre “Dida” Amade (+145) vs. Katsunori Kikuno (-160)

While the line is properly set, this fight should be exciting because Kikuno is a prospect with a ton of potential and an interesting style. As a traditional krate stylist, he’s drawn tons of comparisons to UFC light heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida, although he practices the Kyokushin style rather than Machida’s Shotokan school. He faces the toughest test of his career in Andre Dida, he of the worn sneakers. Dida has an astonishinly small gas tank for a lightweight, typically slowing down badly after about three minutes, but he also has the kind of cracking power that can bust up any fighter he puts hands on. If Kikuno gets tagged early, it will be a very serious chin-check, and one he could easily fail, but if he can defend himself properly, he should be able to outlast Dida and chop him down with crushing toe-strikes to the guts. If Kikuno really is ready for the big leagues, he’ll be great fun to watch for a long time to come. Katsunori Kikuno by TKO round 2.

Tarec Saffiedine (+120) vs. Ikemoto Seichi (-150)

This fight could go either way, and I don’t think either guy will need to be used in the finals. Ikemoto is better than he showed in his last fight, but not by much. Ikemoto Seichi by submission.

My plays

Andre Galvao to win the tournament 1u at (+250) to win 2.5u
Jason High to win the tournament .5u at (+600) to win 3u
Zaromskis to beat Sakurai .25u at (+475) to win 1.19u
Shaolin to beat Aoki 2u at (+200) to win 4u
Jess Taylor to beat Dong Sik Yoon 1u at (+190) to win 1.9u

What Do You Think of This Fight/Event?