If everything goes according to plan, two of the top Japanese stars of the generation are going to do battle in the coming months. A bout between top 10 ranked lightweight, Shinya Aoki (30-6), and MMA pioneer, Kazushi Sakuraba (26-16) is in the works for the next DREAM show.
Word about the contest was first mentioned by Daniel Fletcher as a rumor, and separate sources from the region have confirmed to BloodyElbow.com that the bout is indeed in the works for a future DREAM event and it has been agreed upon by at least one party.
Sakuraba returned to pro-wrestling or 'puroresu' on DREAM's NYE event, and while people thought he may not compete in MMA again, it looks like the Japanese legend would likely be taking another bout this year. It would be a showcase match pitting a current star with an aging legend, but it's definitely the kind of spectacle that one could expect to see in Japan.
UPDATE: Sources tell me that the fight has been signed and is set to go for DREAM's next event, and it is billed as Saku's farewell fight.
The 42-year-old Sakuraba started his career back in 1996 and has fought the who's who in MMA during his heyday. Even at the tail end of his career, "The Gracie Hunter" has still faced a chain of top opponents, losing his last 4 bouts including 2 at welterweight.
Aoki on the other hand, is still at the prime of his career at 28 years of age, and has shown an improved MMA game since moving his training camps to Singapore. Coming in to this bout though, Shinya will be looking to rebound from a loss on that rematch against Eddie Alvarez, which snapped his 7-fight winning streak.
The bout is likely to be contested at welterweight, although more details should be available in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more updates.
I hope Sakuraba finds the fountain of youth so he can destroy Aoki.