Hayato “Mach” Sakurai needed just 27-seconds to knockout Shinya Aoki on Sunday at the Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan, pinning him in the corner of the ring before unloading a series of knees and punches that forced the referee to intervene before 30-seconds had elapsed in the DREAM 8 main event.
Sakurai improves to 35-8-2 with the victory and now advances to the semifinals of the promotion’s 2009 welterweight grand prix while Aoki, who falls to 20-4 with the loss, is likely to return to the lightweight division for his next bout.
With victories at DREAM 8, Jason High, Marius Zaromskis, and Andre Galvao also advanced to the welterweight semis.
The opening round of DREAM’s featherweight grand prix, which got underway with six bouts at DREAM 7, concluded on Sunday as Daiki “DJ.taiki” Hata advanced with a win over Hideo Tokoro.
Notables Jeff Monson and Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro also picked up wins in non-tournament action, while Murilo “Ninja” Rua dropped an exciting unanimous decision to late-replacement Riki Fukuda.
The official DREAM 8 results were:
- Hayato “Mach” Sakurai def. Shinya Aoki via TKO (strikes) — Round 1, 0:27*
- Jason High def. Yuya Shirai via technical submission (rear naked choke) — Round 1, 0:59*
- Marius Zaromskis def. Seichi Ikemoto via unanimous decision*
- Andre Galvao def. John Alessio via submission (armbar) — Round 1, 7:34*
- Daiki “DJ.taiki” Hata def. Hideo Tokoro via unanimous decision^
- Jeff Monson def. Sergei Kharitonov via submission (north-south choke) – Round 1, 1:42
- Riki Fukuda def. Murilo “Ninja” Rua via unanimous decision
- Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro def. Katsuhiko Nagata via TKO (cut) – Round 1, 7:58
- Andrews Nakahara def. Shungo Oyama via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:00
- Katsutori Shibata def. Ikuhisa “Minowaman” Minowa via unanimous decision
* 2009 DREAM Welterweight GP quarterfinals bout
^ 2009 DREAM Featherweight GP opening round bout
Hayato “Mach” Sakurai vs. Shinya Aoki
Jason High vs. Yuya Shira
Jeff Monson vs. Sergei Kharitonov