The night kicked off with Kazushi Sakuraba spotlighted in the ring. He sang the praises of retiring kickboxer Masato, while wearing a tuxedo and pro wrestling mask. Sakuraba proceeded to maestro a small choir of children in the ring, which was a precursor to a much larger chorus of hundreds of children on the stage. Some fighters were interspersed in the chorus, singing and dancing until making their way to the ring when announced by "Crazy Pride Lady" Lenne Hardt.
The opening MMA bout was the DREAM Super Hulk Grand Prix Finale between Ikuhisa "Minowaman" Minowa and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. The African Assassin won the first two rounds against Minowaman, but took a big shot to his cheek in the third round, which dropped him and the referee stepped in to award the victory to Minowa. The TKO outcome may have been the same had Sokoudjou been able to continue, but he was not out yet, and was working to defend. The fight should've continued, but shoulda-coulda-woulda, it didn't and middleweight Ikuhisa Minowa, the smallest man in the super heavyweight tournament, is now a genuine, certified giant slayer.
Hiroshi Izumi, a Japanese Olympic Silver Medalist, was embarrassed in his first and only MMA fight, against Antz Nansen at Sengoku 10. In the pre-fight video package for his bout with Katsuyori Shibata, Izumi's fisherman father said if Izumi lost again, he would prohibit him from competing in MMA, thereby tarnishing his Judo legacy. Izumi won a questionable decision over Shibata and will fight again.
Michihiro Omigawa, who's been winning a lot of split decisions recently, earned a victory the old-fashioned way, by knocking out Hiroyuki Takaya. Akihiro Gono pulled off a super slick armbar submission on Hayato "Mach" Sakurai. Melvin Manhoef got a TKO win over Kazuo Misaki in another early stoppage.
The Madman Fight of the Night was the bout with the lowest Madness Level going into Dynamite!! 2009. Jong Man Kim stepped in as a very late replacement for Marlon Sandro against Hideo Tokoro. On just a few days notice, Kim managed to withstand 15 minutes of assault by Tokoro, including a flying triangle transitioned into an armbar attempt that looked like it would have had any normal fighter tapping like Gregory Hines. Kim ended the fight a bloody mess, and on the losing end of a decision, but his impressive performance elevated his status nonetheless.
Tatsuya Kawajiri may have set a record for the longest time holding mount on an opponent without finishing. Kawajiri had Kazunori Yokota mounted for seemingly the entire 15-minute fight, which resulted in a unanimous decision victory for Kawajiri. Masanori Kanehara scored the night's biggest upset with a decision win over Kid Yamamoto, who has now officially fallen from grace. Alistair Overeem and Gegard Mousasi both quickly did away with their old-timer opponents, Kazuyuki Fujita and Gary "Big Daddy" Goodridge, respectively.
In an interpromotional battle of lightweight champions, Shinya Aoki literally broke Mizuto Hirota's arm with a hammerlock submission. Hirota did not tap, and Aoki did not stop. Once the ref stepped in, Aoki proceeded to give Hirota the finger, of which he also turned to the crowd. It appears young Aoki has gone over to the dark side.
In the final MMA bout of the night, the old judoka, Hidehiko Yoshida, outpointed the new judoka, Satoshi Ishii, for the unanimous decision victory. Ishii had been favored in the fight, despite his lack of any MMA experience, based on his highly impressive Gold Medal-winning Judo performance at the 2008 Summer Olympics, but he's still got a lot to learn in MMA.
Complete Results and Madman Awards after the Break