There are reports surfacing that top welterweight Diego Sanchez will face Pride transfer Hayato “Mach” Sakurai at UFC 74 in August.
Sanchez has long been rumored to be fighting at the event although early reports suggest the event would be held in his home state of New Mexico. The location didn’t pan out but it appears Sanchez is still on the card.
Sanchez’s last UFC effort could be described as lackluster at best as he fell in a very boring and one-sided unanimous decision loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC 69 in April. He had a good excuse for the loss as he had contracted a severe staph infection prior to the fight although it didn’t definitively surface until the day after when a hole opened up in his leg. The loss is the only blemish on his otherwise perfect record making him a large draw.
His opponent, Hayato Sakurai, is a Pride veteran on a 3 figt win streak. He boasts a 30-7-2 MMA record overall while fighting primarily in the Shooto, DEEP, and Pride organizations in Japan. In 2005 he fell to Takanori Gomi via KO in the first but has bouced back with wins in his next 3 fights all coming via the knockout. In his only UFC fight “Mach” he lost to Matt Hughes via TKO at UFC 38.
While the report has yet to be confirmed by the UFC the radio station has confirmed that the report originate from Diego himself adding much more credibility to this rumor.