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Cro Cop, Sakurai Get New DREAM Opponents; Gomi/Ludwig to Rematch

(Mach Sakurai works over Mac Danzig at PRIDE 33.)

A lot of news coming from Japan in the wake of Sengoku’s first show and the run-up to next week’s DREAM debut… reports that Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has finally gotten an opponent for the first DREAM show, with only nine days to spare. As Mirko wrote on his official blog: “A little over an hour ago I was contacted by DREAM officials. They informed me that my opponent on March 15 will be Yoshihiro Nakao from Japan. It was very important for me to fight as soon as possible and I’m happy that DREAM was able to find the opponent for me.” You may remember Nakao as the dude Heath Herring knocked out after a tender expression of affection was misinterpreted as an insult; hopefully Nakao won’t make that mistake again. DREAM1 goes down next Saturday at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

— Hayato “Mach” Sakurai has also locked down an opponent for the DREAM show. As SukiMMA translates from his blog: “I fight Hidetaka Monma from Keisyukai. One foreign fighter and one Japanese fighter canceled and finally I got an opponent!” Monma has a 14-7-3 record, with notable wins over…well, basically nobody. The Sakurai/Monma fight doesn’t seem to be a part of the lightweight Grand Prix that’s also going down at DREAM1, but it should be an ugly rout just like the Cro Cop/Nakao feature.

SukiMMA also reports that Takanori Gomi wants another fight with Duane Ludwig after their bout at Sengoku was stopped prematurely due to face-explosion. Writes Suki:

After the fight, Gomi said, Ludwig was a very good fighter. This victory was brought by an accident and I will fight him again. Thank you for coming to see my fight held on a weekday. I have good company to work with and….

He was in tears and couldn’t continue. He got the applause of fans and said, I will train hard and continue fighting. Thank you for supporting me.

It seems like a strange moment to break down in tears, but if you knew how precious weekdays were to the Japanese, you’d understand. Sengoku’s second event will be held on May 19th in Tokyo, and will be headlined by Kevin Randleman and Roger Gracie.

— Though Gomi seemed to be in top form at Sengoku, The Fireball Kid doesn’t think he’d be ready for a re-match with BJ Penn. Of course, that match is totally hypothetical at this point, considering the UFC cocked up negotiations with him, but Gomi said this at the post-fight press conference:

“I just came back to fight after a long layoff and I’d like to make myself more fit and more of a complete fighter before fighting B.J. Penn. For this fight [with Ludwig], I sparred and did weight training. I was concerned about the physical aspects of my body. I want to perfect [it] before a fight with B.J. Penn.”

In the same article, Gomi asks WVR if he can have New Year’s Eve off, while Josh Barnett says he’d prefer not to fight Kevin Randleman and takes the time to plug his April 12th pro-wrestling gig in Osaka.

Cagepotato Comments

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aaron- March 6, 2008 at 11:56 am
gomi doesn't have a chance???? And chuck liddel is the greatest fighter ever to compete in "ultimate fighting" .... knob
Chris- March 5, 2008 at 9:14 pm
Look at the two ladies in the audience. Nice interest in the sport I say!
Tanner- March 5, 2008 at 6:40 pm
Charles, nah he stands a good chance of getting choked, rear naked preferably
charles- March 5, 2008 at 6:21 pm
Gomi will never stand a chance against Penn.