This Monday DREAM returns after a two month layoff at the Saitama Super Arena for DREAM 10. This card will feature the semi final and final of their welterweight grand prix. Also on the card are solid match ups between Vitor Ribeiro v. Shinya Aoki, Paulo Filho v. Melvin Manhoef, and Dong Sik Yoon v. Jesse Taylor.
A lot of fighters have a lot to prove on this card. Aoki needs to prove his dominance back at lightweight after being demolished by semi finalist Hayato Sakurai at welterweight. His opponent, Ribeiro, needs to prove he can handle this step up in competition only two fights back after a two year layoff following an accident.
Paulo Filho needs to prove he can be the fighter he was back when he beat Joe Doerksen for the WEC middleweight title and everyone considered him a threat to Anderson Silva’s king of the middleweights status. And Jesse Taylor needs to prove that he can win on the big stage after his only fight in the UFC was an utter disaster.
This should be a very interesting card, so let’s take a look:
Jason High v. Andre Galvao
High is 7-1, 1-0 in DREAM, with six wins by stoppage. He is a wrestler with a solid submission game and some striking. Galvao is 3-0, 1-0 in DREAM, with all three wins by submission. He is a jiu-jitsu fighter.
Galvao trains with the better teams (Wanderlei Silva and the Nogueira brothers) but he is a very one dimensional fighter so early in his career. He is world class at what he does but he doesn’t strike me as an overpowering force like Demian Maia. I like High who should have the better stand up and should use his wrestling to sprawl and brawl. I’m picking High to win by TKO in the second round.
Hayato Sakurai v. Marius Zaromskis
Sakurai is 35-8-2, 3-0 in DREAM, with 21 wins by stoppage. He is wrestler with good submissions and kickboxing. Zaromskis is 9-2, 1-0 in DREAM, with eight wins by stoppage. He is a kickboxer with some wrestling.
Zaromskis is outclassed here. Sakurai is a legend with a boatload more experience in these pressure situations. If Zaromskis has an advantage anywhere it’s on the feet but even that isn’t a given. I like Sakurai to take the fight to the ground and use his superior grappling to get the job done. I’m picking Sakurai by submission in the first round.
Assuming Sakurai and High win this will be a very intriguing final. High probably has the better wrestling but Sakurai probably has the more complete stand up and submission game making him dangerous wherever the fight goes. High’s only chance is to take him down and hopefully stay active enough to earn a decision or land a lucky punch. I think this gives Sakurai too many other chances to win. I’m picking Sakurai to take the title by KO in the first round.
Vitor Ribeiro v. Shinya Aoki
Ribeiro is 20-2, 1-0 in DREAM, with 14 wins by stoppage. He is a jiu-jitsu fighter. Aoki is 20-4, 6-2 in DREAM, with 13 wins by stoppage. He is also a jiu-jitsu fighter with some judo skills.
This is a grappler enthusiast’s dream match. These two guys are both going to want this fight on the ground and the better grappler will win. I’m hoping that they don’t just cancel each other out and it becomes a boring stalemate but it’s certainly a possibility. However, I think Aoki’s aggressive style will either lead to a decision victory for him or leave an opening for Ribeiro to pull off the submission win. This is a really tough fight to call but I’m going to pick Aoki to win a decision by being the more active and aggressive fighter.
Paulo Filho v. Melvin Manhoef
Filho is 16-1, making his DREAM debut, with nine wins by stoppage. He is a jiu-jitsu fighter with some judo skills. Manhoef is 23-5-1, 2-1 in DREAM, with 22 wins by KO. He is a muay thai fighter.
This should be a great match up of grappling v. striking. The question here really is whether Filho has his head together after his last two fights where looked lost in a cloud in the cage. If he has his head together I think his grappling will get him the win. However, if it’s not, Manhoef will knock his head clean off. Unfortunately there’s just no way to know so based off of Filho’s last two fights I’m picking Manhoef to win by TKO in the second round.
Dong Sik Yoon v. Jesse Taylor
Yoon is 4-6, 1-2 in DREAM, with three wins by submission. He is a judo fighter. Taylor is 12-3, making his DREAM debut, with nine wins by stoppage. He is a wrestler with solid submissions and striking.
Taylor has really gotten his career back on track since getting crushed by C.B. Dolloway in his only match in the UFC after his infamous Ultimate Fighter debacle. He is on a six fight win streak having won two titles and beating veteran Drew Fickett.
Yoon is definitely not top competition for Taylor but this is the first time he will be back on the big stage since his embarrassing loss one year ago. I think this is a good situation for Taylor to get back in the spotlight away from the US against an opponent who he shouldn’t have much trouble against. Taylor has the better striking and his wrestling should negate Yoon’s ground skills. I’m picking Taylor to win by TKO in the second round.