I am not impress with DREAM / GLORY NYE 2012’s performhance. Other than the participation of one New York Badass and Melvin Manhoef vs Denis Kang, its MMA portion is just another re-jangling of the same damn fighters we see at every DREAM event. That shit didn’t excite anyone back when they did it for DREAM.10 and it certainly doesn’t excite anyone as Zombie DREAM.18.

You can’t blame GLORY too much for going back to the same tiny tired well of Japanese fighters. If your goal is to hold a New Years Eve event with a similar level of success to the 2011 and 2010 events, why not just rearrange the fighters appearing on those cards? Well, sans a big main event like Fedor vs Satoshi Ishii or the participation of stars like Sakuraba and Alistair Overeem. Maybe moving forward they will start trying to build up some desperately needed new stars, but it will not begin at this event.

Amazingly, it’s the UFC giving me stiff nipples with their surprisingly Japanese-appropriate UFC on FUEL 8 lineup, scheduled for March 3rd in Saitama. You may remember us crying like a bunch of butthurt PRIDE fanboys when the lineup for the UFC’s return to Japan was revealed and it might have well been a card held in Columbus Ohio for all the attention it payed to Japan’s particular aesthetics. Sure, they put a bunch of Asians on it. But it was a depressing reminder that yes, PRIDE STILL DEAD. PRIDE not coming back. UFC ≠ PRIDE.

They’re doing much better this time around. The card is amazing for a FUEL event and short of promising Lorenzo Fertitta in a loincloth banging a drum, it hits all the right notes for a Japanese audience:

  • Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann
  • Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve
  • Takanori Gomi vs. Diego Sanchez
  • Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Dong Hyun Kim
  • Riki Fukuda vs. Brad Tavares
  • Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokudome
  • Bryan Caraway vs. Takeya Mizugaki
  • Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres vs. Kyung Ho Kang

The return of Wanderlei Silva to Japan! Really fat guy Mark Hunt vs really tall guy Stefan Struve! A gunslinger bout between Takanori Gomi and Diego Sanchez! Every main card fight thus far is practically guaranteed to deliver fireworks. Now we just have to hope everyone on the card stays healthy for the next two and a half months…