Having sat on this rumour for about three weeks, it’s good to finally put to paper.
A bout between Evolve MMA’s superstar and the man with more top 10 wins at lightweight than any other, Shinya Aoki, versus pound-for-pound demi-God of Mixed Martial Arts and the pick of many longtime fans for the #2 spot behind Fedor Emelianenko as the sport’s greatest ever, Kazushi “The Gracie Hunter” Sakuraba.
With Sakuraba basically fighting open-weight throughout his career, including against such men as Mirko Cro Cop, Igor Vovchanchyn, Quinton Jackson, Wanderlei Silva (3x), Ricardo Arona, Melvin Manhoef and Kevin Randleman, who would have thought that he would ever face off against a man well and truly confined to the lighter weights?
The rumour was initially for the next DREAM card, sometime this summer.
Sakuraba, who was once considered by many to be the greatest fighter in the sport's history, has lost six of his last eight fights, and has of late suffered beatings that leave even the casual fan concerned about his health.
Aoki meanwhile has only lost two of his last twelve fights, to Eddie Alvarez and Gil Melendez, two of the best in the world.
Mixed Martial Arts is not a sport like Golf where the greats in steep decline can step in on occasion and face the best talent of the moment to the delight of the crowd, with the worst thing that happens being an old, bruised ego.
In MMA the two fighters are trying to hurt each other. Sakuraba is 42 years old, reportedly lives a liver-unfriendly lifestyle, and has been fighting professionally for over 15 years, generally against much larger fighters.
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