The return of DREAM took place at the Saitama Super Arena as the Japanese MMA promotion returned for their New Year’s Eve show in a joint offering with Glory World Series and ONE FC.
The evening’s main event saw long tenured Japanese superstar Tatsuya Kawajiri live up to his “Crusher” moniker as he dominated UFC veteran Michihiro Omigawa for three rounds. While Kawajiri was unable to finish an opponent for the first time since moving to featherweight, it spoke more to the heart of Omigawa, who found himself mounted, smothered, and trapped in two deep armbars, yet managed to survive. “Crusher” continued his undefeated run at featherweight, and once again looked impressive in doing so.
Tachi Palace Fights Featherweight Champion and Bellator veteran Georgi Karakhanyan did battle with DREAM Featherweight Champion Hiroyuki Takaya and came out victorious. While the Armenian-American put together a complete game, “Streetfight Bancho” was successful in firing back with combinations of his own, landing flush on multiple occasions. At the final bell, the judges were split with two in favor of “Insane”.
The evening’s lightweight attraction brought an unexpected finish as Shinya Aoki forced Antonio McKee to tap to a punch. The former DREAM champion played his usual grappling game in the opening stanza, where the submission wizard dominated the former MFC champion. It was in the second, however, where “Mandingo” would call for a no-mas after he was clipped with a winging right hook that sent him into the ropes. The American motioned to the ref to call the bout just 24 seconds into the middle period.
DREAM Bantamweight Champion Bibiano Fernandes put long-tenured Yoshihiro Madea to sleep in seemingly no time. The Brazilian completed a takedown, almost immediately moved to mount, and secured a triangle that would put his opponent to bed at 1:46 of the opening round.
Melvin Manhoef crushed the internal organs of Denis Kang, knocking him out with a knee to the body in just 50 seconds. “Mach” Sakurai took the battle of welterweight veterans as he outpointed Phil Baroni for a unanimous decision victory. Former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion Marloes Coenen took a first round armbar over Fiona Muxlow at 3:29 of the opening round. The evening’s curtain jerker saw undefeated prospect Will Brooks continued to roll as he knocked out former Sengoku Lightweight Champion Satoru Kitaoka at 3:46 of the middle period.
DREAM 18 Results
- Tatsuya Kawajiri defeated Michihiro Omigawa via decision (unanimous)
- Georgi Karakhanyan defeated Hiroyuki Takaya via decision (Split)
- Shinya Aoki defeated Antonio McKee via Submission (punch) at :24 rd 2
- Bibiano Fernandes defeated Yoshihiro Maeda via technical submission (Triangle choke) at 1:46 rd 1
- Melvin Manhoef defeated Denis Kang via KO (knee to the body) at :50 rd 1
- Hayato Sakurai defeated Phil Baroni via decision (unanimous)
- Marloes Coenen defeated Fiona Muxlow via submission (armbar) at 3:29 rd 1
- Will Brooks defeated Satoru Kitaoka via TKO (punches) 3:46 rd 2