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Favorites roll – literally – at entertaining DREAM 16 event

Last night’s offering from DREAM featured all the colorful production and presentation fans have come to expect from the Japanese promotion, as well as a bout between two men known for having some of the most-memorable entrances in the sport’s history. It also featured a slew of decision/submission wins with only one strike-based finish in the show’s ten match-ups.

Among the group of fighters finding success on the ground was now dual-divisional DREAM champion Gegard Mousasi. The 25-year old, who had previously held the promotion’s middleweight strap before voluntarily relinquishing it, beat Tatsuya Mizuno by way of Rear-Naked Choke a little more than midway through the opening round of their bout. The performance brought Mousasi’s record to 30-3-1 and was his second consecutive victory since dropping Strikeforce’s light heavyweight belt to Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal this past April.

Also a winner by submission, Jason “Mayhem” Miller lived up to his promise of tapping out Japanese icon Kazushi Sakuraba and became the first fighter to do so since Kimo Leopoldo in Sakuraba’s MMA debut (circa 1996). Miller, who donned an orange-stripe in his hair rather than red out of respect for “Saku”, controlled the fight throughout its two-minute duration, even taking a moment to pause and flash his patented peace-sign pose while in top position. After raining down a few stiff shots shortly thereafter, Miller eventually locked in an Arm-Triangle Choke and fulfilled a life-goal in the process. The loss dropped Sakuraba’s record to 2-2 since the beginning of 2009 and was his second in a row.

As expected, the bulk of the action between submission-specialists Marcus Aurelio and Shinya Aoki took place on the mat. However, Aoki’s dominance and overall aggressiveness likely opened a few eyes. The “Tobikan Judan” offered little room for Aurelio’s offense, taking him down early and holding him there while doing a good deal of damage from the top as well. In fact, a large portion of the bout involved a slick double-leg triangle that kept Aurelio immobilized on the bottom for the most part. Aoki eventually went on to win the ground-war by way of unanimous decision.

Here is a complete rundown of DREAM 16 results:

Yusuke Kawaguchi def. James Thompson via Split Decision
Mitsuhiro Ishida def. Akiyo Nishiura via Split Decision
Kazuyuki Miyata def. Takeshi “Lion” Inoue via Unanimous Decision
Joachim Hansen def. Hideo Tokoro via Submission Round 2 (Triangle Choke)
Michihiro Omigawa def. Cole Escovedo via Submission Round 2 (Inverted Armbar)
Hiroyuki Takaya def. Chase Beebe via Knockout Round 1 (Strikes)
Satoshi Ishii def. Ikuhisa “Punk” Minowa via Unanimous Decision
Shinya Aoki def. Marcus Aurelio via Unanimous Decision
Jason “Mayhem” Miller def. Kazushi Sakuraba via Submission Round 1 (Arm-Triangle Choke)
Gegard Mousasi def. Tatsuya Mizuno via Submission Round 1 (Arm-Triangle Choke)

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