K-1 parent company FEG held a press conference earlier this week to officially announce that Kazushi Sakuraba and Masakatsu Funaki will meet for the first time in their careers on New Year’s Eve at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan.
Rickson Gracie was originally rumored to be on the card but will now most likely fight early next year according to FEG officials, against the winner of Sakuraba-Funaki:
“I want to have Rickson fight as soon as possible next year,” said FEG President Sadaharu Tanigawa. “Even if it is not in our ring, even in another organization, I would send these champions to fight.”
Gracie was originally set to take on Funaki for the second time in his career at the event but it was Funaki who decided that he would rather face a different opponent:
“I’ve already lost once to Rickson, so Sakuraba is the better choice,” Funaki said.
Other fighters Tanigawa mentioned as possibilities to fight on the card include Hidehiko Yoshida, Kid Yamamoto, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Ikuhisa Minowa, Katsuyori Shibata, and Masato Kobayashi.
K-1 parent company FEG announced that Japanese legends Kazushi Sakuraba and Masakatsu Funaki will clash for the first time on December 31st at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!!
Sakuraba (22-10-1-2) is 2-1 so far in 2007, submitting Yurij Kiseliov and Katsuyori Shibata while losing an unanimous decision to long-time rival Royce Gracie over the summer.
Funaki (38-11-1) has not fought since May of 2000 when he was submitted my Rickson Gracie at C2K: Colosseum 2000.
Speaking of Rickson Gracie, he is rumored to also be on the card, possibly making his return against Hidehiko Yoshida.
Japanese news outlet Daily Sports is reporting that PRIDE representative Nobuhiko Takada has stated that PRIDE’s next show will take place on October 11th, not the originally rumored date of August 18th. Takada apparently made the announcement at a local Tokyo high school yesterday.
Takada said that the card will feature an all-star cast of fighters and that the organization is currently attempting to have Rickson Gracie fight on the card. October 11th would mark the 10th anniversary of PRIDE’s first show, an event where Takada and Gracie fought each other.
No one from Zuffa’s side of things have confirmed anything about PRIDE returning at this point.