Ralek Gracie: “Sakuraba’s good, but not like my brothers”

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Ralek in his win over Sakuraba. Photo: Feg

Ralek Gracie didn’t have the easiest of missions in his third MMA outing. At Dream 14 in Japan, the young fighter faced an old acquaintance of the family, locking horns with Kazushi Sakuraba, who has beaten Royler, Renzo, Ryan and Royce in the past. Still finding his feet in the style, Ralek had an opponent known as “The Gracie Hunter” in his way, adding to the weight on his shoulders. Nevertheless, after three rounds, he secured victory via unanimous decision.

“I’m really grateful to my crew, my cornermen. Everything went according to plan. Sakuraba is really tough, strong, but I was in really good shape and he wore out in the end,” said Ralek in analysis at the post-event press conference.

“He’s good on the ground, but not like my brothers. My training partners got me in great shape to win. He’s tough, has a solid game, so can train with us,” added the Gracie.

At one point Sakuraba caused some discomfort with his traditional kimura lock, which he has used on Renzo and Royler in the past.

“It seemed like he was close (to finishing), but he wasn’t. I felt comfortable,” said the fighter, who said he countered the move just right. Nevertheless, even in victory, Ralek admits that he faced a great opponent, despite Sakuraba’s advanced age.

“He threw some good body shots. I’ve taken some damage around the eye; he hits hard”

The Jiu-Jitsu black belt had nothing but good things to say about the Dream promotion, and remarked that in the future he may drop weight to fight in the division under his, the 88 kg weight class.

“It was a great show and everything went smoothly. I enjoyed it a lot. I’ll probably fight at middleweight in the future,” he said in finishing.

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There are 18 comments for this article
  1. Jordan Burton III at 1:38 am

    Nice read. Would be nice if Sakaraba and Ralek actually did train together. Sakaraba and Gracie go hand and hand:D

  2. Wouter van Straalen at 8:25 am

    Paul Cuzzort Sakuraba always was lighter and smaller, that's one of the reasons he was the underdog in the past. Beside the age difference which is 16 years (!) he is physiology -wise in the down-slope part of his life, as his opponent clearly is in his prime. btw. no disrespect just my opinion as a fan and a doctor.

  3. Paul Cuzzort at 10:14 pm

    Wouter van Straalen ,, Sak wasnt always the smaller fighter. He fought Royler who was alot smalller, Royce, Renzo and Ryan were all within a few pounds but none of them larger. Most commisions wouldnt have sanctioned a fighter with 40+ fights against a guy with 3 fights no matter the ages.

  4. Paul Cuzzort at 7:00 am

    Wouter van Straalen,
    This weekend I witnesses a 42 yr old guy with a pro MMA record of 3-1 totally dominate a larger 21 yr old guy (6-3) for 3 1/2 rds. The 42 yr old won via ref stoppage. Age isnt always a factor.

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