DREAM officials let the fans pick the matchups for the second round of the middleweight tournament and everyone picked Saku’s long time rival Kiyoshi Tamura. Great, right? Not really. Tamura has pulled out of the tournament with a broken finger, and Melvin Manhoef was selected as his replacement. So in effect, the fans who voted to see Sakuraba finally face the guy he’s been chasing for years have actually put him in MORTAL FUCKING DANGER.
I’m not going to say Manhoef is the greatest fighter ever … Sakuraba certainly has a decent chance of winning this fight, but I wonder if he’ll be able to do it without getting the shit kicked out of him in the process. We all saw what happened in the Smirnovas fight: a brain jarring smack down that made Rocky 4 look like patty cake. Considering all his talk of not wanting to participate in the tournament, I’m amazed he agreed to this after Tamura pulled out.
All the same I’ll be watching this fight closely. Either it’s going to be an epic beatdown or Saku is gonna pull things off in spectacular fashion. Or both.