One of Japan's biggest mixed martial arts legends has officially agreed to return to the ring. According to DREAM officials, a welterweight matchup between Kazushi Sakuraba (26-15-1) and Yan Cabral (9-0) has been added to the card of DREAM 17: World Bantamweight GP.
Heading into his 45th career fight, Sakuraba has yet to make an appearance since losing a gruesome championship bout to Marius Zaromskis in December of last year, which was stopped by doctors after a portion of the 42-year-old Japanese superstar's ear ripped off. The setback marked a career-worst three fight losing streak for "The Gracie Hunter," who will record a sixteenth consecutive year of competition with his next bout.
He faces Cabral, an undefeated Nova Uniao prospect out of Brazil. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, the 28-year-old has finished all nine of his opponents by submission, with five coming in the first round. Though Cabral, like Sakuraba, has had an extended layoff, not competing since April of last year.
DREAM 17: World Bantamweight GP is scheduled for September 24th at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Headlining is a foursome of quarterfinal matchups for the DREAM bantamweight tournament, including Hideo Tokoro vs. Antonio Banuelos and Bibiano Fernandes vs. Takafumi Otsuka.
Updated DREAM 17 fight card:
Bantamweight Tournament: Hideo Tokoro vs. Antonio Banuelos
Bantamweight Tournament: Bibiano Fernandes vs. Takafumi Otsuka
Bantamweight Tournament: Masakazu Imanari vs. Abel Cullum
Bantamweight Tournament: Rodolfo Marques vs. Yusup Saadulaev
Featherweight: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Joachim Hansen
Lightweight: Shinya Aoki vs. Rob McCullough
Lightweight: Satoru Kitaoka vs. Willamy Freire
Featherweight: Takeshi Inoue vs. Caol Uno
Middleweight: Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Gerald Harris
Welterweight: Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Yan Cabral