Ralek Gracie grapples with Katsuyori Shibata. Photo courtesy of FEG.
Ralek Gracie, who was originally slated to take on former UFC and PRIDE heavyweight contender Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in a modified-rules grappling match at this weekend’s DREAM.4 event in Japan, will now serve as a last-minute replacement opponent for Pancrase veteran Alavutdin Gadzhiyev.
DREAM officially announced the change at a press conference yesterday.
Gracie has not competed since submitting Katsuyori Shibata at a K-1 Hero’s show last July. Filipovic was forced to withdraw from the grappling match after aggravating an elbow injury during a recent training session.
The cancellation likely comes as a precaution for Filipovic’s scheduled showdown against fellow former K-1 kickboxer Jerome LeBanner at DREAM’s scheduled July 21st show in Japan. It’s been widely speculated that the Croatian had suffered multiple nagging injuries over the last few months and now wants to time to heal them before the LeBanner bout.
Sporting a current record of 7-1, Gadzhiyev hasn’t lost a fight since dropping a decision to Sergey Burdalenko in his first career bout. Gadzhiyev has spent the last year or so under the Pancrase banner, most recently knocking out colorful veteran Hikaru Sato in March.
Gadzhiyev was originally matched up against IFL light heavyweight Alexandre “Cacareco” Ferreira, who was unable to compete at this weekend’s event due to visa issues.
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