Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

Kazushi Sakuraba to be Dragged Back Into the Ring Against Yan Cabral

I couldn’t let this bit of news pass by without giving comment. As reported by Mike Whitman of Sherdog, Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba is going to fight at DREAM 17 on September 24th against Brazilian submission specialist Yan Cabral.

Here’s the problem: Sakuraba is legendary for what he was doing ten years ago. Sakuraba’s days as an elite mixed martial artist effectively ended in 2003. All the way back then, people were saying that Sakuraba should retire from the sport of MMA. Since then, Sakuraba has just kept competing, and when he’s stepped up in competition, it’s usually resulted in him taking a brutal beating, like against Ricardo Arona in 2005. Or against Kestutis Smirnovas in 2006. Or against Melvin Manhoef in 2008.

And yet, Sakuraba just keeps on competing. I haven’t processed Cabral’s SILVA score, but a quick look at his record shows that he hasn’t beaten anybody particularly impressive yet. The fact that he’s a submission-based fighter should mean that he’s a relatively low-danger opponent for Sakuraba. Still… every time Sakuraba competes, I can’t help but be seriously concerned for his well-being, and this mentality of “I would die in the ring” really needs to go away. It’s Japan, so it won’t go away, but it needs to.


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