July has marked a lull for MMA action. Worse yet, some of the most promising action of the month won’t even air live on television in the U.S.

So is the case for Dream’s latest offering, “Fight for Japan: 2011 Bantamweight Tournament Final.” The July 16 event features two title bouts, the finals of the promotion’s bantamweight grand prix, plus a handful of interesting non-title contests.  What it does not feature is a U.S. broadcast outlet.

What will fans on this side of the Pacific miss out on?

Well, light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi will defend his title against virtual rookie competitor Hiroshi Izumi, Hiroyuki Takaya will place his featherweight strap on the line against Kazuyuki Miyata and Masakazu Imanari will battle Hideo Tokoro in the bantamweight grand prix championship bout. Adding to the lineup, UFC veteran Drew Fickett will ply his trade against top lightweight Tatsuya Kawajiri, light heavyweights Trevor Prangley and Tatsuya Mizuno will collide, lightweights Bruno Carvalho and Eiji Mitsuoka will square off, Keisuke Fujiwara and Kenji Osawa will vie for the third-place honors in the bantamweight tourney and Dream welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis will lock horns with Eiji Ishikawa in a non-title catchweight affair.

Fans here in the States might not get to take in the action live, but that won’t stop The MMA Corner from taking a look at all eight bouts scheduled for the event, which takes place at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo.

LW: Bruno Carvalho (6-1) vs. Eiji Mitsuoka (17-7-2)

Carvalho is still in the infancy of his MMA career, having turned pro in December 2009. He’s already competed seven times, posting six wins and currently riding a four-fight winning streak. His foe, Mitsuoka, is a seasoned veteran who has fought for both Pride and Sengoku.

Carvalho’s record might look like that of a true prospect, but a closer inspection adds some doubt to the mix. Of his six wins, only two have come against fighters with winning records – and in those cases, the records were 2-1 and 5-3. His two most recent wins have come against opponents with a combined 0-7 record. Meanwhile, the one time he did face a veteran fighter, then 8-2 Felipe Oliveiri, he suffered his only loss via first-round submission.  Carvalho has thus far fed on inexperienced and sub-par competition.

The revelation of his competition and the fact that his only veteran opponent was able to quickly submit Carvalho puts this fight into perspective. The CM System product will have to overcome an even more experienced nemesis who brings a wrestling and submission background to the bout, and has also posted wins against some impressive competition.

Mitsuoka’s wrestling will allow him to get Carvalho down, and from there a submission will soon follow.

LW: Drew Fickett (41-14) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri (27-7-2)

Fickett suffered through a rough patch in 2008 and 2009 where he lost eight out of 10 fights. He emerged in 2010 to begin a five-fight winning streak, including taking three fights via submission in one night to top the field in the Shine Fights lightweight grand prix. His last outing saw him return to the loss column though, as he fell to Brian Cobb via TKO at MFC 30.

Kawajiri has suffered his recent losses against the world’s best – Eddie Alvarez, Shinya Aoki and Gilbert Melendez. The Pride veteran is also considered among the top 155-pounders in the world, currently sitting at No. 8 in the USA Today/SB Nation Consensus MMA Rankings.

Kawajiri brings an unusually solid wrestling game to the table for a Japanese fighter, and also packs some brutal ground-and-pound. He’ll have to watch out for Fickett on the ground, however, as the UFC veteran’s specialty lies in his submission game. While Kawajiri doesn’t always find his hand raised, it is important to look at his submission losses. They’ve come against Aoki and Takanori Gomi, during the “Fireball Kid’s” prime in Pride. His only other submission defeat came in his pro debut.

Fickett might be a submission specialist, but his opportunities are going to come while he’s on his back taking a beating from Kawajiri. While Fickett will throw up some submission attempts, this fight should be a display of Kawajiri’s ground-and-pound arsenal, as “The Crusher” scores a second-round TKO.

LHW: Trevor Prangley (23-7-1) vs. Tatsuya Mizuno (8-7)

Prangley has spent the last couple of years competing under the Shark Fights and Strikeforce banners with mixed results. During that five-fight span, the UFC veteran produced just two wins against two defeats and a draw. That’s a disappointing showing after going 10-1 over his previous 11 fights prior to his Shark Fights debut. It might be that the American Kickboxing Academy product is on the downside of his career – he turns 39 in August, after all.

Perhaps a trip to Japan and a fight against a competitor whose record barely sits above the .500 mark will help get Prnagley back on track. Mizuno is just 8-7, and has lost his last two outings to Sergei Kharitonov and current Dream light heavyweight kingpin Mousasi. In fact, Mizuno’s only significant career win was a 2010 submission victory over the one-dimensional striker Melvin Manhoef.

Mizuno’s biggest advantage is that he is nine years the junior of his foe. He’s also shown aggressiveness despite his less than spectacular record. Prangley just hasn’t shown that desire to win lately and often appears tentative. Still, Prangley should be viewed as a favorite due to his experience and resume. Despite his recent losses, Prangley’s setbacks have come against the likes of Roger Gracie, Tim Kennedy and Jorge Santiago. Mizuno isn’t exactly in that class. Given Prangley’s recent performances, it is hard to rule out an upset win for Mizuno, but Prangley should still be capable of defeating someone of Mizuno’s caliber. Prangley via decision.

BW GP Third Place Bout: Keisuke Fujiwara (11-3-4) vs. Kenji Osawa (17-10-2)

Fujiwara and Osawa share one thing in common: both men lost to bantamweight tournament finalist Masakazu Imanari on the eve of May 29. While Imanari used this pair as stepping stones on his path to the tourney’s championship bout, Fujiwara and Osawa will look to at least claim the honor of finishing in third place in the tournament.

While Fujiwara has competed twice under the Dream banner, his primary home is the Zst organization, where he reigns as the bantamweight champion. He tends to finish his opponents in whatever manner is available to him, with five wins via some form of knockout and four by way of submission. His last two victories have come via triangle choke.

Osawa is a decision machine. Eleven of his wins and 18 of his fights overall have gone to the judges’ scorecards. With stints under the WEC, Shooto and GCM banners, Osawa has clashed with a higher level of competition than Fujiwara. His three most recent wins have all come by way of split decision.

Would it be too easy to choose Osawa via a split verdict? Probably, but it’s not hard to imagine. Osawa has proven he’s a tough finish, having only been stopped three times in his career. Without finishing ability of his own, he’ll likely be left fending off the more aggressive attack of Fujiwara and doing just enough to outpoint him along the way. This one will be close, but Fujiwara won’t be able to put an early end to Osawa’s night and will instead find himself on the losing end of either a split or majority decision.

BW GP Finals: Masakazu Imanari (23-8-2) vs. Hideo Tokoro (29-23-1)

Masakazu Imanari (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

It’s fun to watch Imanari fight. The former Deep bantamweight champion will roll for heel hooks and footlocks at almost any opportunity. While Imanari’s submission game is amazing, his striking skills are absent and he can be a very unmotivated fighter at times.

Tokoro is a grappler as well, but he’s worked on improving his standup recently. While Imanari marched through Fujiwara and Osawa on his way to the tourney finals, Tokoro scored wins over Yoshiro Maeda and Atsushi Yamamoto to arrive in the championship bout. Tokoro does have four career wins via some form of knockout, including the corner stoppage of Maeda.

Imanari is a showman. While his attitude has been questioned, it’s hard to see the unmotivated version of “Ashikan Judan” showing up when there’s a title on the line. Tokoro will need to keep this fight standing, where he should clearly hold the advantage. Imanari doesn’t possess the best pure takedown skills, but he can be creative and make things interesting when his head is in the fight.

While it is quite possible that this could turn into a disappointing battle where Imanari butt-scoots around the ring in an attempt to invite Tokoro to partake in a grappling affair, we have to hope both men decide to engage instead. Imanari will stay creative and prove why he consistently ranks among the top fighters in his weight class, as he submits Tokoro late in this bout.

174-pound Catchweight: Marius Zaromskis (14-6) vs. Eiji Ishikawa (22-16-2)

Last minute changes always throw a wild card into any fight analysis. Until the middle of fight week, Zaromskis was preparing for a showdown with Hayato “Mach” Sakurai. Then Sakurai was forced out with an injury and in steps Ishikawa.

Zaromskis, the current Dream welterweight champion, can at least be relieved in the fact that his belt still won’t be on the line. To top it off, the Strikeforce veteran doesn’t even have to worry about cutting to 170 pounds anymore, as the fight is now a catchweight contest.

What doesn’t bode well for the “Whitemare” is his recent set of performances. Outside of a win over the well past his prime Kazushi Sakuraba, Zaromskis has suffered three defeats since putting his name on the map in 2009 with a series of impressive head kick finishes in Dream’s welterweight tournament. Granted, the first two losses came against Nick Diaz and Evangelista Santos, but the third defeat came against the unheralded Jordan Mein.

Even Mein, at 22-7, has a better career mark than Ishikawa. Ishikawa has battled some significant names during his career, but he tends to lose in those outings. He’s also a fighter who tends to go to decision more often than not.

Zaromskis can’t afford to continue losing. He’s back in the comfort zone of Dream, where he has enjoyed the most success during his career. The “homecoming” of sorts will do Zaromskis good, regardless of his opponent. Look for the champ to get back on track with a knockout victory.

FW Championship: Hiroyuki Takaya (15-9-1) vs. Kazuyuki Miyata (11-7)

Hiroyuki Takaya (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

Featherweight champion Takaya still has to be thinking about what went wrong in his Strikeforce debut. The “Streetfight Bancho” dropped a split decision to Robert Peralta during the preliminary card of Strikeforce’s “Diaz vs. Daley” event. Maybe success on U.S. shores just isn’t meant to be for Takaya, who also lost in his only two appearances under the WEC banner. He’s fared better in Japan, using his striking to capture knockout victories over Chase Beebe and Joachim Hansen, and avenging his Dream featherweight tournament finals loss to Bibiano Fernandes by earning a unanimous decision win in their rematch and capturing the belt in the process.

Kazuyuki Miyata (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

While Takaya’s strength lies in his striking and his right hook, Miyata’s strong suit is his wrestling. If he can get an opponent down, he can control them and work for submissions or a decision. “Little Hercules” is riding a six-fight winning streak that includes decision wins over Takafumi Otsuka, Takeshi Inoue and Caol Uno.

This should be an interesting tussle, with Takaya’s striking versus Miyata’s wrestling. Miyata has posted some impressive wins lately, but his wrestling base leads to fights going the distance. Takaya is a more decisive finisher, but he must keep this fight standing before he can do any damage.

Miyata has only lost once via knockout – a devastating knee from “Kid” Yamamoto that finished the fight almost as soon as it started. Takaya has bounced back from disappointment in the U.S. before to reel off a number of knockout and TKO wins, but he’ll have his work cut out for him here. Miyata’s wrestling will dictate where this fight takes place, and that will be enough to earn the challenger the win via decision.

LHW Championship: Gegard Mousasi (30-3-2) vs. Hiroshi Izumi (4-1)

Hiroshi Izumi (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

After a number of close and competitive fights on this card, the Japanese Dream promotion couldn’t resist throwing in some form of mismatch that will almost assuredly result in a predictable outcome.

Izumi, an Olympic silver medalist judoka, hasn’t exactly breezed through his competition so far, losing his pro debut via TKO to Antz Nansen and scraping past James Zikic via split decision. He has posted a TKO of Ikuhisa Minowa, but that’s hardly a resume worthy of considering him a legitimate threat to Mousasi.

Mousasi’s lack of takedown defense against a wrestler has now been exposed, but Izumi presents a different style for Mousasi. Izumi also isn’t quite at the level of Muhammed Lawal when it comes to mixed martial arts. He won’t be able to follow Lawal’s blueprint for defeating the current Dream light heavyweight champion.

Instead, this will be Mousasi’s chance to add another convincing knockout win to his resume. Mousasi has experienced a lot of success in Japan, and that will continue in this contest. Izumi might be able to score a judo-style takedown here and there, but he won’t be able to assert the same ground control that “King Mo” was capable of, and therefore might find himself in almost as much trouble on the mat as on the feet.

Mousasi’s biggest strength is his striking, but he should win this fight regardless of where it takes place. Given that he’s a kickboxer, look for him to end the judoka’s night via knockout before the fight ever reaches the mat.

Top Photo: Gegard Mousasi (Esther Lin/Strikeforce)