(It’s all fun and games until Melvin Manhoef kicks you in the head.)
Someone at Dream hates Kazushi Sakuraba. The Japanese organization announced some of the match-ups for their fourth offering, including the second round of their middleweight tournament scheduled for June 15, and while Jayson “Mayhem” Miller and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza promise to put on an interesting show, pitting walking highlight reel Melvin Manhoef against an aging and battered Sakuraba seems almost irresponsible.
Then again, if Pride taught us anything it’s that Japanese MMA organizations love a mismatch almost as much as they love to see a game Sakuraba take fights he really shouldn’t. It’s not just that Sakuraba probably should consider retiring for good, though he should. It’s also that Manhoef is a bad style match-up for him. He’s an explosive striker with the potential to really hurt you if you stand in front of him for too long. And how long is too long? Well, unless the fight starts on the mat, Sakuraba is in trouble.
You’d think that if Dream wanted to see Sakuraba in the ring so bad they’d put him up against a grappler, where at least we could see an interesting ground war. Instead, they seem to want to see him battered mercilessly while his loyal fans look on in horror. To each his own, I guess.
The rest of the dream card is shaping up like this: