Picks and Predictions for Dream 12: Caged Heat

By Nicholas Bailey (nbailey@mmaratings.net)

Dream 12 represents Fight Entertainment Group’s concession to the modern age of MMA, adopting the cage (and no, they are not the first Japanese promotion to do so) and the standard three fives round system (and they are the last Japanese promotion to do so, Guy Mezger’s disinformation campaign aside). While it is great to see ace fighters get a chance to fight in a proper venue (and don’t even try to argue otherwise; the ring is wrong, end of story), it’s frustrating to see that most of the top talent in the promotion will not be on this card, which features a lot of squash matches and filler fights that aren’t even worth talking about. Fortunately, we at least have a few relevant and interesting bouts (Kikuno/Alvarez and Beebe/Maeda)in addition to the gross splatterfests we’re sure to get from Overeem and Galesic.

Alistair Overeem (-1200) vs. James Thompson (+900)

Overeem is perfectly insulated here. He obviously outmatches Thompson, but Overeem’s shoddy chin has been an equalizing factor throughout his career. However, Thompson, as big as he is, is a very light puncher with an even worse chin, so chances are he won’t survive one of the 260-lb Overeem’s improved punches to throw back, and even if he does throw, he is such a bad puncher that it probably won’t land, and even if it does, it probably won’t be hard enough to rattle even Overeem.

So then, Overeem will either decapitate him with enormous punches or simply guillotine him to death after Thompson rushes into a clinch. Silliness all around, then. I guess Overeem needed this kind of fight to continue rehabbing his “injury” that has been keeping him out of Strikeforce. At least fans will get a chance to view the ever-improving physique and skill set of Overeem, who managed to pack on 30lbs of muscle over about 15 months while simultaneously learning to punch correctly. Alistair Overeem by KO round 1.

Some were taking Overeem at -700, but even then I feel that was far too much chalk to lay down for a fighter that’s had as much trouble remaining consistent as Overeem.

Zelg Galesic (-155) vs. Kazushi Sakuraba (+138)

This is a fight where neither man is capable of standing up to the other’s offense. Galesic is brilliant offensively, with brutal strikes of all sorts, but he’s a boom or bust fighter. He doesn’t have fantastic gas, and he trains for groundfighting at a kickboxing gym or something, so he either decapitates his opponent or falls over and gets submitted. Sakuraba obviously has the submission chops to exploit this, but he’s a very broken down old man that’s had brain problems. He has no chin anymore, and with his knees at about a Frank Shamrock level (that is, more shot that your typical Die Hard bad guy), he’ll have trouble completing takedowns on an athletic young man, even if Galesic can’t wrestle very well.

So, Halloween will come early this year, with Galesic wreaking untold horrors on a stiff and prone Sakuraba, making it all the more irresponsible when Dream tries to book him against Bob Sapp on New Years. Zelg Galesic by KO round 1.

If you follow my twitter, you might have been able to get on Galesic at +110, or at least -105, which represents an excellent bet, especially since you can make it risk-free with the current odds on Sakuraba. I’d suggest doing that, since you never know what kind of shenanigans can happen in Japan surrounding one of their stars, and Sakuraba does still have legitimate submission skills Zelg lacks.

Marius Zaromskis (-370) vs. Myeon Ho Bae (+300)

Zaromskis, despite his killer run through Dream’s welterweight tournament, is still a much more gifted offensive fighter than defensive, so if Myeon gets into the driver’s seat early he has a legitimate shot at picking up the win. Let’s not forget that Ikemoto took this guy to a competitive decision not too long ago. That said, Myeon Ho Bae is woefully unprepared for this kind of offense. Fighting primarily in the Mars promotion against low-level competition, he simply hasn’t ever dealt with someone that brings the kind of firepower Zaromskis does. He’s a tough fighter, but he isn’t tough enough to survive headkicks like Marius throws, so he’ll only be competitive until he gets tagged, at which point it will be all downhill. Marius Zaromskis by TKO round 1.

Chase Beebe (-140) vs. Yoshiro Maeda (+113)

A close, competitive fight, which is about the last thing Chase Beebe needs after being completely burglarized in the decision “loss” to Mike Easton a few weeks ago. Maeda has well-rounded skills, especially his striking. Beebe can probably hang on the feet, but his biggest advantage is in his wrestling and positional grappling. The fight will be nip-and tuck throughout, but Beebe should be able to take the more dominant positions and work from there. Beebe also has the advantage in that Maeda is more prone to making errors that get him finished, so if Chase stays aggressive and pressures Maeda, he might give up a submission or catch a big strike and go down hard. Chase Beebe by decision.

While I feel Beebe should be more than a -140 favorite, I also think that the likelihood of this fight going to decision introduces more variables than I’d like to see. Dream is experimenting with a lot of rule changes here, and experimentation leads to questionable decisions, so it really is a toss-up what the judges will see in a fight here, so I am staying away.

Eddie Alvarez (-355) vs. Katsunori Kikuno (+300)

This fight is too much too soon for Kikuno. The guy has a very interesting style, with the robot-stiff upper-body and wide Karate stance, and it’s hard to beat kicking someone’s guts in with a crescent kick as a “finishing move”, but Alvarez is just too much for him, experience wise. Anyone that can get repeated hard knockdowns on Joachim Hansen has an enormous amount of power in his hands, although Eddie doesn’t have a fantastic chin, so if he lands on Kikuno, it will likely be game over for the Karate fighter. However, Andre Dida is a better striker than Alvarez and similarly has enormous power, and Kikuno handled him easily. However, in his Bellator fights, Alvarez worked on his game by showing off the takedown/ground and pound game that he used when he was first fighting professionally. Kikuno won’t be able to defend against that, as he is still very green on the floor, so Alvarez will be able to ride him to a decision if he fights a smart fight, especially in a cage. Eddie Alvarez by decision.

If you’re a big Karate fanboy, you can do much worse than betting on Kikuno at +300, and I really think he could handle Eddie on the feet if Alvarez tried to make this a K-1 max bout, but I will stay off, with better bets available this weekend.

My Plays:
2u on Zelg Galesic at (+110) to win 2.2u

Place your bets:

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