Report: Three DREAM.2 Fights Booked; Sakuraba IN After All
Source:Five Ounces of Pain | Your Destination for Insider MMA News and Opinion
Nightmare of Battle is reporting three matchups for the opening round of the DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix:
In one fight Kazushi Sakuraba will face Brazilian born Kyokushin Karate fighter Andrews Nakahara. In the second two legends will collide as Kiyoshi Tamura takes on Masakatsu Funaki. In the last announced fight Pride veterans Denis Kang and Gegard Mousasi will meet.
Sakuraba participating in the tournaments comes as somewhat of a surprise. It was reported earlier that the aging superstar seemed hesitant to compete in the Grand Prix though admitted he wanted to fight in April. The assumption was he’d fight at DREAM.2, but in a standard bout outside of the tournament.
The initial hope was for Sakuraba and Kiyoshi Tamura to meet in the first round, the long-awaited fight finally being booked, but matching Sakuraba against an MMA neophyte is almost a sure pass to next round. Nakahara’s Karate background seems like the big player in the fight selection, setting up a likely second round meeting with the winner of Tamura vs. Funaki.
Kang vs. Mousasi will be an interesting fight. Mousasi has been on a tear, riding a 7-fight winning streak entering the tournament. The 22 year-old Armenian has won his last four fights via KO or TKO but is a well-rounded fighter who’s no stranger on the ground. Kang is coming off a knockout loss to another possible tournament participant, Yoshihiro Akiyama. This is far from a rebound fling for Kang, but when his head is right he has the skills and experience to pull out a win over the young Mousasi.
Matchups for the other tournament participants have not yet been announced on DREAM’s website. The prospective list so far includes Akiyama, Ronaldo Jacare, Ikuhisa Minowa, Dong Sik Yoon, Kin Taiei and Shungo Oyama.
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