Dream 12: Caged Event, Kikuno vs. Alvarez

September 29, 2009

This week Japanese promotion Dream unveiled its design for a new hexagonal cage that it plans to use once every year for a special event.

Dream made the announcement at a press conference for Dream 12 in which it not only revealed the design of the cage, but that the event would feature two hotly anticipated lightweight match-ups: Katsunori Kikuno vs. Eddie Alvarez and Won Sik Park vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka.

Additionally, the organization announced that they would be altering the time limits on each round: event bouts will consist of three rounds of five minutes each, as opposed to the usual Dream standard of one ten minute round and another five minute.

Payout Perspective:

Dream’s plans for a yearly cage show are interesting from a business perspective for a number of reasons:

  • I suppose first and foremost there’s always been the prevailing thought that a cage is better for the fighters, but that a ring is better for the fan experience. It’s very difficult to judge how the Japanese fan base will react, but the rise and fall of Japanese MMA tells me that those still following the sport are the die hards that will watch the event regardless; and at that point, it doesn’t hurt Dream to take a chance for one event and experiment a little.
  • Bloodyelbow’s Leland Roling also points out that Dream’s working relationship with Strikeforce could be the impetus for not only the switch to a cage usage, but also the adoption of three, five minute rounds. The organizations may be seeking to bring both organizations closer together – from a marketing and product perspective  – while maintaining their individual brands. It may benefit the fighters – and the fans – to see action inside the cage, and from that future opportunities may arise out of this partnership.
  • Finally, the move to a cage and adoption of the three rounds may ironically symbolize the fall of Japanese MMA. It’s a move designed to generate interest and help grow MMA within Japan once again, but in order to do so the country’s largest promotion will be switching from the original Japanese format to one popularized (and heavily monetized) in North America.

One Response to “Dream 12: Caged Event, Kikuno vs. Alvarez”

  1. Joseph on September 30th, 2009 10:49 AM

    Sengoku will still hold their events in a ring, so there will still be some pretty good variety in Japan. Most events are still held in a ring, sans the Cage Force events. Sengoku and DREAM will be hitting some growth spurts within the next year.

    Both have problems, but both have incredible potential as well. Sengoku has been losing a good amount of money, but have great people and sponsors backing them up. DREAM has had some trouble paying their fighters, but their business model, partnerships, and TV deal always make them a threat. Either way, it has been a tough battle for both promotions since MMA has been on a decline in Japan after the fall of PRIDE.

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