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Tag: farewell fights

Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Shinya Aoki Reportedly Booked for Next DREAM Event

Kazushi Sakuraba Ricardo Arona photo eye face bloody MMA photos gallery
(Kazushi Sakuraba during his PRIDE glory days in 2005.)

By Elias Cepeda

When does a person not eagerly anticipate the next time one of his favorite fighters competes? When that fighter should have retired years ago due to the damage he’s endured over the years. That’s the way I’ve feel each time Kazushi Sakuraba gets a new match — not excited, but filled with genuine concern for his well-being. The legendary “Gracie Hunter” may be the best MMA fighter the warrior-nation of Japan has ever produced, but he’s lost four fights in a row, hasn’t won a bout since 2009, and has suffered enough beatings for 12 lifetimes. (This guy knows what I’m talking about.)

What makes Saku’s situation worse is that so many of his early losses were the result of savage abuse at the hands of much larger opponents (Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Cro Cop, Ricardo Arona, etc.), leaving him completely broken down at the age of 42. Sakuraba competed just once in 2011 — getting choked out at Dream 17 by unheralded Brazilian prospect Yan Cabral — and has yet to fight this year, while venturing back into pro wrestling just to stay active.

It is now being reported that Sakuraba will return to the ring at Dream’s next event, for a welterweight match against Shinya Aoki. If there’s a silver lining to rolling out Saku for another pay day, it’s that Aoki is foremost a grappler like Sakuraba, so it’s possible that we could see a technical wrestling and Jiu Jitsu match with minimal blunt strikes hitting the legend. Also, Bloody Elbow’s Anton Tabuena is reporting that the fight, now signed according to him, could be Sakuraba’s final MMA appearance.

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Quinton Jackson to Face Mauricio Rua in UFC Farewell Fight


(The calm before the soccer kicks.)

Quinton Jackson will be getting his wish to leave the UFC — but not before fulfilling the final fight on his contract. It was announced on last night’s episode of UFC Tonight that Jackson will be facing Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at an event to be named later. A follow-up statement on UFC.com described Jackson as “disgruntled,” and confirmed that the bout is the last of Jackson’s UFC contract and that he and the UFC are expected to part ways afterwards.

Jackson and Rua’s upcoming meeting will be a rematch of their PRIDE Total Elimination 2005 fight, which Shogun won by vicious first-round knockout. Jackson has lobbied for a rematch ever since, and Rua recently expressed interest in the matchup as well. Rua most recently competed at UFC 139, losing a decision to Dan Henderson in what was widely considered to be the 2011 Fight of the Year, while Jackson is riding the first two-fight losing streak of his career, with losses to Jon Jones and Ryan Bader.

After the jump: The full fight video of Rampage vs. Shogun 1.

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