With all the buzz surrounding UFC 135, you might have forgotten that DREAM 17 transpires Saturday, and features a pretty stacked card to boot. Japanese legend Kasushi Sakuraba returns to action for the first time since nearly having his ear torn off by Marius Zaromskis, taking on undefeated submission specialist Yan Cabral. Sakuraba is currently riding a three-fight losing streak including the aforementioned loss to Zaromskis as well as a submission loss to Jason “Mayhem” Miller at Dream 16 and a unanimous decision loss to Ralek Gracie back at Dream 14. “The Gracie Hunter” is in desperate need of a win here to avoid falling into Ken Shamrock territory, though some critics out there feel he already has.
Also on the card, Shinya Aoki takes on Rob McCullough in a lightweight bout. Aoki has technically gone 5-0 fight win streak since his loss to Gilbert Melendez at Strikeforce: Nashville; this is of course excluding his embarrassing knockout loss to Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima in a mixed rules match at Dynamite!! 2010. But hey, if Sherdog doesn’t count it, then it never happened. McCullough on the other hand recently had a two fight win streak snapped by the heavy hands of Patricky Friere back at Bellator 36.
DREAM 17 also features the promotional debuts of UFC vets Antonio Banuelos, Gerald Harris, Willamy Freire, and Kazuhiro Nakamura. UFC veteran Caol Uno and inaugural DREAM lightweight champion Bibiano Fernandes will also be on the card, taking on Takeshi Inoue and Takafumi Otsuka, respectively.
And if that lineup hasn’t yet convinced you, Pride veteran Joachim Hansen will be taking on Tatsuya Kawajiri in a rematch of their 2006 Shooto welterweight title fight that ended just 8 seconds in due to an illegal groin strike by Hansen. With all these intriguing match-ups, DREAM 17 is looking to be one of the most promising outings for Japanese MMA in quite some time. Check out the new “fight order announcement” trailer below…