This was a very interesting card and there were some big upsets. Let's recap the fights and see how my picks went:
Ikuhiso Minowa vs. Katsuyori Shibata: Shibata is a lot tougher than I thought as he ground out a unanimous decision victory. This is a huge setback for Minowa and a career defining victory for Shibata. I was way off on this fight.
Shungo Oyama vs. Andrews Nakahara: This fight went exactly as I predicted with Nakahara earning the TKO victory in the first round.
Katsuhiko Nagata vs. Vitor Ribeiro: Ribeiro gets the win here by TKO (cut) in the first round. I got the pick right but not the prediction.
Murilo Rua vs. Riki Fukuda: Fukuda was a last second replacement for the injured Dong Sik Yoon. The fight was at a catch weight. Fukuda came in and took care of business against the bigger name with a unanimous decision victory.
This is a terrible loss for "Ninja" Rua who is now on a two fight losing streak and is losing credibility almost every time he heads to the ring. He may have a famous last name but he may not have much of a career left.
The Japanese love him so he'll still get fights but his days as a championship contender seem over.
Obviously with the last second replacement my pick is moot.
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Jeff Monson: I was very iffy on this fight and for good reason. Monson wasted no time getting this fight to the ground and winning by submission (north south choke) in the first round. This is a great win for Monson and a tough loss for Kharitonov.
I got this pick wrong.
Hideo Tokoro vs. Daiki Hata: This fight went exactly as I thought. Hata wins by unanimous decision.
Andre Galvao vs. John Alessio: Galvao is new to MMA but picked up a big win against the experienced Alessio. Galvao gets the win by submission (arm bar) in the first round. I got this pick wrong.
Marius Zaromskis vs. Seichi Ikemoto: This fight also went exactly as I expected. Marius picks up the unanimous decision win.
Yuya Shirai vs. Jason High: High takes care of business early picking up the submission (RNC) in the first round. I got the pick right but not the prediction.
Hayato Sakurai vs. Shinya Aoki: Sakurai scores an enormous upset. It's not enormous in the strict sense that he beat Aoki but in how he won. Sakurai scores a quick and brutal KO in the first round.
There was some skepticism as to whether Aoki could hang at a higher weight class. He won his first test at WW but obviously DREAM threw him to the wolves against an experienced and talented fighter like Sakurai.
This was a strange move for a Japanese promotion that tend to doctor cards to set up the best match ups for later in the tournament. This was a poor showing for Aoki who took a huge hit to his P4P status.
I definitely expected Sakurai to be a big challenge for Aoki in only his second fight at WW but I didn't expect this. I was way off on this fight.
It will be interesting to see how the WW Grand Prix unfolds now that its biggest star has been eliminated. I went 5-4 plus three bonus points for getting the predictions right. It was not a great performance by me but I'll take it.
That's all for now. Stay tuned for my WEC 40 review tonight, my TUF 9 episode two recap later this week, and my Strikeforce preview. Until then,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...