According to HDNet’s twitter feed MMA icon Kazushi Sakuraba will return to take on Ralek Gracie on May 29th at DREAM 14.
Sakuraba has of course had a storied rivalry with the Gracies. He became the first man to beat a member of the family in MMA when he defeated Royler back in 1999. He went on to beat several of the other top Gracie fighters – including Royce in a legendary 90 minute battle – and earned the moniker the Gracie hunter. He remained undefeated against Gracie opposition until 2007 when he lost a rematch to Royce at Dynamite USA (the same show Brock Lesnar made his MMA debut).
We haven’t seen enough of Ralek at this stage to really know what he brings to the table. He has only had two fights; winning both by quick submission against Katsuyori Shibata and Alavutdin Gadzhiyev.
Sakuraba is coming off a surprising victory over Zelg Galesic at DREAM 12. I have said it before, but if Sakuraba is going to continue fighting, I would much rather he’s put in matches where he wont take a huge amount of punishment. I assume this will be predominantly a grappling contest, so I’m completely fine with it. Usually when Saku is matched against inexperienced opponents, he can just rely on his savvy and ring craft to catch them out (Andrews Nakahara, Katsuyori Shibata). It’s an intriguing match up, and it will add another chapter to one of MMA’s most famous rivalries.
Also scheduled for the show is Nick Diaz vs. “Mach” Sakurai and Joachim Hansen vs. Hiroyuki Takaya. Although this is DREAM and the card is subject to (and more than likely will) change.