Royce Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba at Dynamite!! USA
Despite speculation that the promotion is on the brink of collapse, Dream officials are releasing fights for its annual New Year’s Eve Dynamite!! extravaganza. The event takes place Dec. 31 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The promotion has already announced a featherweight title defense for champion Bibiano Fernandes, who defends his belt against Hiroyuki Takaya and a bout pitting Tetsuya Yamamoto versus Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura.
Not surprisingly, trying to survive, the promotion has called on extremely popular Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba, putting him in a title fight against current welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis.
Sakuraba has fought sparingly the past couple of years, and enters the fight coming off of back-to-back losses to Jason Miller and Ralek Gracie. He remains, however, one of the most popular MMA fighters ever in Japan.
Zaromskis hasn’t fared much better than Sakuraba recently. He had lost two of his last three fights, and had a no contest due to an eye poke in the other. All three of those fights were under the Strikeforce banner, however, so he has retained his Dream title.
Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki will fight in a special mixed-rules match, combining MMA and K-1 into one bout, against Yuichiro Nagashim.
Also fight at Dynamite!! is former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson, who will square off with highly regarded Japanese fighter Tatsuya Kawajiri. This bout has been one that hardcore fans have been clamoring for, although Strikeforce fans were hoping it would take place in the U.S.