Sakuraba returns against undefeated Jiu-Jitsu black belt

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Saku in 2009, during his last submission victory, against Zelg Galesic / Photo: Dream/GRACIEMAG archives

Jiu-Jitsu black belt Yan Cabral (9 wins) will have to decipher an enigma that’s a tough nut to crack for any fighter: how do you beat an opponent not just by no means common but a legend of the sport.

Yan says he’s ready for his encounter with Kazushi Sakuraba (26w, 15l), 42, at the September 24 Dream 17 show in Sakuraba’s homeland.

“I’m so happy to have this opportunity. It’s always been my dream to fight in Japan, and it couldn’t be under any better circumstances, facing a living legend of the sport right off the bat. It’s what my career has been needing, an opportunity to show the world what I can do,” said the Brazilian black belt living in Europe, about to make his debut in a major event, at Dream.

Cabral took to watching the latest performances of his veteran opponent, who has lost five of his last seven bouts, and is unafraid of getting booed.

“He’s very experienced and surely dangerous but I’ve been training a lot and will show up 200% ready to put on a great fight. My dream was always to fight in Japan precisely because they love their heroes. The Japanese seem to me to be very respectful, love martial arts and respect athletes, whoever they may be. So I don’t feel there will be all that much pressure,” he explains.

On his training, Yan recounts how he did his standup training and Thailand and worked on his Jiu-Jitsu in Barcelona, where he lives.

“I started training at Tiger Gym in Thailand. I went there on vacation but ended up getting invited to fight, so I made the most of it. I carried on with training in Barcelona with my team and even went on to train a month in Rio de Janeiro doing some final adjustments to my game with Dedé Pederneiras of Nova União. I’m fortunate to have so many marvelous people on my side, and I’ll be fighting for them too. A special thanks goes out to my friend David Aranda, who trained with me the whole time,” he said in closing.

Dream 17
Saitama Super Arena, Japan
September 24, 2011

Kazushi Sakuraba vs Yan Cabral
Kazuhiro Nakamura vs Gerald Harris
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs Joachim Hansen
Shinya Aoki vs Rob McCullough
Satoru Kitaoka vs Willamy “Chiquerim” Freire
Takeshi Inoue vs Caol Uno

Bantamweight GP
Hideo Tokoro vs. Antonio Banuelos
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Takafumi Otsuka
Masakazu Imanari vs. Abel Cullum
Rodolfo Marques vs. Yusup Saadulaev

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