Kazuo Misaki To Face Kazushi SakurabaLess than one week after leaving the Sengoku promotion and his long-time home at the Grabaka Gym, top star Kazuo Misaki has agreed to face Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba in a featured middleweight bout on the massive K-1 Dynamite!! “Power of Courage 2009” card on New Year’s Eve.

The blockbuster fight between two of the top Japanese stars in the sport will be part of the latest edition of the yearly Dynamite!! spectacle, which could feature as many as 20 total mixed martial arts and kickboxing bouts in a single evening.

Misaki (22-9-2, 1 NC), formerly known as the “Grabaka Hitman,” won all but one of his fights inside the Sengoku ring and came incredibly close to capturing the promotion’s middleweight title before succumbing to a fifth-round rear naked choke against Jorge Santiago.

The 2006 PRIDE Welterweight (183-Pound) Grand Prix Champion has lost just once since 2007 and is coming off of a quick victory over the ever-tough Kazuhiro Nakamura at Sengoku: “Ninth Battle.” He has faced and beaten many of the division’s best during his career.

Sakuraba (26-12-1, 2 NC) is the most legendary Japanese fighter in MMA history and needs no introduction. He has faced a who’s who of mixed martial arts throughout his illustrious tenure in the sport and most recently picked up an unbelievable comeback victory over Zelg Galesić at Dream.12.

While his career is in its twilight stages, Sakuraba proved in the fight with Galesić that he can still absorb ridiculous amounts of punishment and find a way to win.


The battle is a very interesting one and will be one of the best fights of the year between two Japanese competitors. Misaki, a top star, meets Sakuraba, the living legend.

With his legal and professional problems hopefully a thing of the past, Misaki will aim to pick up a gigantic win at Sakuraba’s expense and would be wise to look for a quick knockout.

The crafty Sakuraba must only weather the initial storm from Misaki so that he can employ his game plan and lure the former Grabaka ace into one of his many traps.


K-1 Dynamite!! 2009 takes place on New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The marathon event will air live on HDNet in the U.S. and Canada.