No offense to Nagata, but let's map out the semis as if Aoki did what he's expected to do: Aoki meets Philadelphia's
But does the American really have a chance to take the whole thing?
While the bout could easily go the distance, Aoki, unlike Kawajiri, isn't the kind of fighter that enjoys wailing away from the canvas. Athleticism and experience should help Alvarez survive, but against Aoki there's certainly no guarantee he'll stay safe in the fight.
Of the four men remaining (again, sorry to Nagata for looking past him), both Kawajiri or Alvarez appear to be the guys you'd like to stay away from as action heads into the semis. In fact, I'm not too fond of any of the remaining fighters against Kawajiri. Tournaments aside, a one-off bout between, perhaps, the best ground-and-pound fighter in MMA and Alvarez, who relies on quickness and a nice whizzer to stay off his back, just doesn't bode well for the Nagata at this point.
Alvarez has a lot to gain if he can keep up his current pace, particularly with contracts from Dream, EliteXC and Adrenaline already in play. His first post-tourney destination would be on a ProElite-promoted event in September. And that could easily mean a primetime spot on CBS.
(By the way, I put Kawajiri in the finals because I don't believe Uno would have much of a shot if they tangled. Both former Shooto champions at 154 pounds, Uno-Kawajiri is a potentially historic fight in Japan, but beyond that, Uno deserves to be a sizable underdog.)
Uno's surprising win over
1. Tatsuya Kawajiri
For anyone not named
Beyond the distractions of his on-again, off-again bout, Diaz delivered the kind of punching power at Dream 3 on Sunday that few thought he was interested in dishing out. Looks like those long hours in the gym sparring with 2004 Olympic gold-medalist boxer
Going to the body as much as the head, Diaz was diverse in his attacks. He worked takedowns when it suited him, but Diaz has always been, and will continue to be, a guy who prefers to stand and fight. Still healthy in the aftermath of the one-sided affair in Japan, Diaz is officially in line to fight
Once again, expect Diaz's boxing to be on display against the punch-happy Corbbrey. During Sunday's Dream telecast on HDNet,
But the major key for Diaz's ability to fight regularly will come from surgery that shaved down bone and removed scare tissue around his eyes. Against Inoue, Diaz's face held very up well. Based on his disposition in the cage and how much he gets hit, the aftermath of the surgery could make or break Diaz going forth.
Remembering what FEG's first effort with ProElite looked like last June for the ill-fated "Dynamite! USA" card in L.A., I wouldn't get too excited about the companies' recently voiced relationship.
Discussed heavily during the negotiations over Diaz's appearance on Dream 3, the idea is essentially a fighter exchange played out over several events. While EliteXC eyes the likes of
FEG-contracted fighters competing for an EliteXC belt would depend a great deal on the kind of options ProElite negotiated for itself.
It was nice to see