Zaromskis scores two KO victories for DREAM championship

Publish date:

In front of an estimated 20,000 fans at the Saitama Super Arena, MariusZaromskis became the DREAM welterweight champion by winning the DREAM Welterweight Grand Prix in impressive fashion, knocking out both of his opponents.

In the final of the DREAM Welterweight Grand Prix, Zaromskis survived some early trouble to violently knock out American wrestler Jason High. He came out flying with a knee to start the fight, but soon found himself on his back. After some grappling, Zaromskis reversed out and ended up on top of High. The two made it back to their feet and Zaromskis pounced, landing a vicious high kick that dropped High to the canvas. He landed a couple of more punches for good measure as the referee jumped in to stop the fight.

Japanese lightweight Shinya Aoki got back in the win column, defeating former Shooto champion Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro. In a shocking turn of events, Aoki kept the fight on the feet. He landed dozens and dozens of kicks to Shaolin's arms and body, marking up his forearms. Shaolin landed several stiff jabs, but was frustrated by Aoki, as he tried on several occasions to take the fight to the ground without success. It wasn't until halfway until the second round that Shaolin got the fight to the ground; from there, he landed sporadic ground and pound until the end of the fight. When it was all said and done, Aoki's dominance on the feet swayed the judges to give him the unanimous decision.

Ultimate Fighter participant Jesse Taylor was victorious in his Japanese debut against Korean judoka Dong Sik Yoon, but the fight ended on a disappointing note. Taylor immediately took the fight to the ground, slamming Yoon to the mat. After some grappling, however, Yoon indicated to both Taylor and the referee that he couldn't continue. During the slam, Yoon seemed to have broken his ankle and was unable to continue after the injury, giving Taylor the stoppage victory.

After a shaky start, former WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho submitted a game Melvin Manhoef. Manhoef came out aggressive like always, tagging Filho with punches, and hurting the Brazilian, who was unable to get the fight to the ground. He poured on the punches and dropped Filho, but was unable to finish him off. Filho managed to get back to his feet. Then, out of nowhere, took the fight the ground, mounted Manhoef, and locked on an armbar that forced the tap.

DEEP lightweight champion Katsunori Kikuno dispatched Brazilian wunderkind Andre "Dida" Amade. The two started slugging it out and Dida dropped Kikuno with a punch. Kikuno was able to recover and effectively slow the fight down to his liking. As the fight slowed, Kikuno landed a vicious body kick that hurt Dida. The fighters went to ground, Kikuno immediately mounted Dida and then took his back, where he viciously grounded and pounded him until the referee saved Dida from any further punishment.

Jason High won a disputed split decision over decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter Andre Galvao in the second semi-final of the Welterweight Grand Prix. High started off strong, landing some decent punches that hurt Galvao. As the round wore on, Galvao was finally able to get the fight to the ground, where he took over, switching from position to position, getting High's back, and going for the choke several times. To High's credit, he survived Galvao's relentless ground attack and made it out of the round.

High again came out strong and dropped Galvao right off the bat in the second, putting the pressure on. Galvao desperately wanted the fight on the ground. He recovered, but was still being tagged on the feet by High, as they finished the fight slugging it out. At the end of the day, the judges were impressed with High's strong second round, awarding him the split decision and a spot in the final.

In a back and forth slugfest, Zaromskis upset tournament favorite Hayato "Mach" Sakurai. These two wasted no time as Zaromskis came out flying with punches, knees, and kicks. Sakurai responded with solid low kicks and good one-two combinations that found their mark. Zaromskis winged wild punches that also found a home, as he bloodied Sakurai, opening two cuts around his left eye. He was starting to get the better of Sakurai when the fight was halted to check Sakurai's cuts. Once restarted, Zaromskis continued his onslaught and landed a flush left high kick that dropped Sakurai, finishing him off with punches to advance to the final.

In the opening fight of the night, undefeated Team Quest welterweight TarecSaffiedine won a unanimous decision over DEEP welterweight champion Seichi Ikemoto in the welterweight reserve match. All throughout the fight, Saffiedine was able to land crisp combinations on the feet to Ikemoto's single punches. Towards the end of the fight, he took it to the ground and mounted Ikemoto, who reversed out and finished the fight trying to pound on Saffiedine, but it was to no avail, as he lost the judge's decision.

-Marius Zaromskis def. Jason High by KO, R1 -Shinya Aoki def. Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro by Unanimous Decision, R2 -Jesse Taylor def. Dong Sik Yoon by TKO (Injury), R1 -Paulo Filho def. Melvin Manhoef by Submission (Armbar), R1 -Katsunori Kikuno def. Andre "Dida" Amade by TKO, R1 -Jason High def. Andre Galvao by Split Decision, R2 -Marius Zaromskis def. Hayato "Mach" Sakurai by TKO, R1 -Tarec Saffiedine def. Seichi Ikemoto by Unanimous Decision, R2