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Pride is Back...Well Sort Of

DREAM MMA
by Stan Leung
MMA betting lines and MMA odds
February 20, 2008


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DREAM Mixed Martial Arts Organization Launches with 16 Man Grand Prix

K-1 owners, Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG) and former PRIDE Fighting Championship executives from Dream Stage Entertainment (DSE) have now formed DREAM to compete with the UFC and bring back to life Pride. Despite the UFC buying out Pride the former workers have now started up their own MMA fight organization and they look to rival Zuffa with a vengeance. Since Pride was bought out the former owners have received a petition including over 3,000 signatures from fans who requested that they find a replacement for Pride.

The promotion, which will also be run by officials involved with Yarennoka! and promoted by the Tokyo Broadcasting System, will now serve as the official successor for the PRIDE and K-1 Hero’s brands. K-1 announced plans for the discontinuation of Hero’s events late last month. President of FEG Sadaharu Tanikawa will also head DREAM and Keiichi Sasahara will be Head and Matchmaker for all events. With a number of superstars already agreeing to sign, the UFC will want to secure a number of their top stars who were former Pride fighters.

With the success of Yarennoka! The FEG and the former DSE staff decided to combine their efforts and form a new Japanese promotion. The result, DREAM and the UFC better watch their backs because their opening kick off event is the 2008 Lightweight Grand Prix to determine the lightweight champion. They have also announced the 16 man 2008 Middleweight Grand Prix to determine the new DREAM’s middleweight champion.

Dream Stage Entertainment

DREAM will start off with 5 weight classes which includes:

  • 66kg/145lbs - Featherweight
  • 70kg/154lbs - Lightweight
  • 76kg/168lbs - Welterweight
  • 84kg/185lbs - Middleweight
  • 93kg/205lbs - Light Heavyweight
  • +93.1kb/+205lbs – Heavyweight

There will also be a new weight class for fighters under 145 pounds to accommodate Kid Norifumi Yamamoto and other fighters.

The M1 mixed martial arts organization has also agreed to let former Heavyweight Champion of PRIDE FC, Fedor Emelianenko, to fight in their events. This leads way for a Fedor and Randy Couture match that everyone had been waiting for. Also Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt and Josh Barnett have agreed to sign on unofficially with the organization.

Although not signed with DREAM, several fighters have stated that they are going to fight in the promotion including the person who started it all for mixed martial Royce Gracie. Also scheduled to fight for the organization are Kazushi Sakuraba, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Norifumi Yamamoto, Sergei Kharitonov, Hayato Sakurai, Ikuhisa Minowa, Denis Kang and Melvin Manhoef.

The middleweight tournament has not been announced but Yoshihiro Akiyama, Denis Kang, Melvin Manhoef, Kazuo Misaki and Matt Lindland are suspected participants which will make this 16 man Gradn Prix the best in MMA history.

The inaugural event will kick off at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on Saturday, March 15, 2008 with the Light Weight Grand Prix First Round with Shinya Aoki from Japan / Paraestra Tokyo fighting JZ Gesias Calvancante from American Top Team fighting. Both fighters are considered to be among the best pound for pound fighters in the world.

Also participating in the lightweight tournament will be Andre Dida, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Caol Uno, Joachim Hansen, Gilbert Melendez, Luiz Buscape  Artur Oumakhanov, Koutetsu Boku, Jung Bu-Kyung , Kazuyuki Miyata and two other fighters to be named later.

DREAM plans to rival the UFC who has had sheer monopoly on the mixed martial arts game since they bought out Pride and acquired all their talent like Anderson Silva, Quinton Rampage Jackson, Dan Henderson, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Paulo Filho and Heath Herring. With the rise of DREAM will these fighters go back to Japan to fight where they were considered Gods and where the MMA audience is more knowledgeable and accepted?

Events
Date
Venue
City
DREAM 1 - Lightweight Grand Prix Opening Round March 15, 2008 Saitama Super Arena Saitama, Saitama
DREAM 2 - Middleweight Grand Prix Opening Round April 29, 2008 Saitama Super Arena Saitama, Saitama
DREAM 3 - Lightweight Grand Prix 2nd Round May 11, 2008 Saitama Super Arena Saitama, Saitama
DREAM 4 - Middleweight Grand Prix 2nd Round Mid-June, 2008 TBA (Yokohama Arena or
anywhere in South Korea)
Yokohama, Kanagawa or
South Korea
DREAM 5 - Lightweight Grand Prix Finals July 21, 2008 Osaka-jo Hall Osaka, Osaka
DREAM 6 - Middleweight Grand Prix Finals End of September, 2008 Saitama Super Arena Saitama, Saitama


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