Japanese fighting is back on HDNet Saturday morning (3 a.m. ET) with DREAM 15 headlined by Shinya Aoki-Tatsuya Kawajiri. You'll remember Aoki as the vastly overrated Japanese star who was easily defeated by Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez. This is a huge fight for Aoki. His reputation has been heavily affected worldwide but he's still revered in Japan. A loss to Kawajiri and he sinks even further. It's hard to see Kawajiri doing anything but employ a gameplan similar to Melendez. Melendez did a brilliant job of punching and moving, simply avoid all clinch situations with the submission specialist. The USA Today/Bloody Elbow rankings have Aoki at No. 7 and Kawajiri at No. 8.
Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem was also scheduled for the card but the promoters tried to put together a ridiculous fight against Ricco Rodriguez and Overeem backed out. Jake O'Brien's situation is a bit dicey. He couldn't make weight, which is a lovely problem to deal with as you're prepping for a fight against top-10 light heavyweight Gegard Mousasi. The fight was scheduled as part of DREAM's 2010 light heavyweight grand prix.
Update: Sherdog reports
According to sources, O’Brien never made the weight limit, as he clocked in at 226 pounds. Still, the light heavyweight tournament bout against Mousasi appears as if it will go forward. Dream has not yet released O’Brien’s official weight for the match.
I'm not even sure what to say. O'Brien is 226?
DREAM 15 weigh-in (Courtesy Bloody Elbow)
Shinya Aoki (154.3 lbs) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri (154.3)
Katsunori Kikuno (154) vs. Gesias Cavalcante (154.3)
Gegard Mousasi (205) vs. Jake O'Brien (did not weigh in; reportedly still cutting)
Tatsuya Mizuno (203.9) vs. Melvin Manhoef (198.4)
Michihiro Omigawa (142.9) vs. Young Sam Jung (142.9)
Mitsuhiro Ishida (143.3) vs. Daiki Hata (143.3)
Kazuhiro Nakamura (184.7) vs. Karl Amoussou (184)