Japanese MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba will look to rebound from back-to-back losses when he returns to action on short notice at Tuesday’s DREAM 11 event against professional boxer Rubin Williams, who will be making his MMA debut in the bout.
DREAM 11, which takes place at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan, features the finale of the promotion’s featherweight tournament as well as a lightweight championship bout between title-holder Joachim Hansen and Shinya Aoki.
Sakuraba (24-12-1) earned the nickname “Gracie Hunter” for his numerous wins over members of the Gracie family, including Royce and Renzo Gracie, and also hols notable victories over Vitor Belfort, Quinton Jackson, Guy Mezger, Kevin Randleman, and Ken Shamrock. “The IQ Wrestler” followed up three-straight wins with back-to-back losses to Melvin Manhoef and Kiyoshi Tamura in 2008.
Williams (0-0), a cast member on season 3 of The Contender, is 29-8-1 since making his boxing debut in 2001, with notable fights including a loss to IBF super middleweight champ Jeff Lacy in 2005 and a draw in 2007 with contender Antwun Echols, but is 0-6 since 2008. “Mr. Hollywood” said at a Sunday press conference in Japan that he’s been training MMA for over a year and is ready to display what he’s learned in the Tuesday matchup.
With the addition of Sakuraba-Williams, DREAM 11 now features (in reverse bout order):
- Fernandes-Warren vs. Takaya-Tokoro
2009 Featherweight Grand Prix Final
- Joachim Hansen (c) vs. Shinya Aoki
DREAM Lightweight Championship
- Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Rubin Williams
- Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Melchor Manibusan
- Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Bob Sapp^
- Hong Man Choi vs. Ikuhisa Minowa ^
- Bibiano Fernandes vs. Joe Warren*
- Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Hideo Tokoro*
- Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Daiki “DJ.taiki” Hata+
^ Super Hulk Tournament Semifinal
* 2009 Featherweight Grand Prix Semifinal
+ 2009 Featherweight Grand Prix Reserve Bout