Hayato Sakurai Injured, Out Of Saturday's DREAM EventA leg injury has forced Japanese veteran Hayato “Mach” Sakurai out of his rematch against DREAM Welterweight Champion Marius “The Whitemare” Zaromskis on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. Sakurai has been replaced on the card by Eiji Ishikawa. News of the change was made official today.

Sakurai had looked to avenge his stoppage loss to Zaromskis from just over two years ago, but will now be forced to watch from the sidelines due to the untimely injury. Ishikawa now enters the bout on just two days’ notice as a significant underdog, but he has won seven of his last nine fights.

Zaromskis (14-6-0, 1 NC) has met with mixed success since his victory over Sakurai. He would go on to capture the DREAM Welterweight Championship later in the night on July 20, 2009 and stopped Myung Ho Bae with his trademark head kick at Dream.12 three months later. Zaromskis is winless in four bouts in North America since the beginning of 2010, however. His lone victory in recent outings came against fading Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba on New Year’s Eve.

Ishikawa (22-16-2) suffered five straight losses during a tough patch from 2006 until mid-2008, but has performed better in recent outings against lesser opposition. The decision king has gone the distance 28 times in his career and is coming off of a pair of Majority Decision victories in Pancrase. However, Zaromskis will be one of Ishikawa’s toughest opponents in over three years and the 11-year veteran will be a major underdog in his DREAM debut.

DREAM: “Fight For Japan – 2011 Bantamweight Tournament Final” takes place on July 16th at Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo, Japan. The event features the final of the 2011 DREAM Japan Bantamweight Tournament between Masakazu “Ashikan Judan” Imanari and Hideo Tokoro. The fight between Zaromskis and Ishikawa will take place at a 79kg catchweight.


DREAM: “Fight For Japan – 2011 Bantamweight Tournament Final” Fight Card (subject to change):

– Hiroyuki Takaya vs Kazuyuki Miyata [DREAM Featherweight Championship]
– Gegard Mousasi vs Hiroshi Izumi [DREAM Light Heavyweight Championship]
– Masakazu Imanari vs Hideo Tokoro [DREAM Japan Bantamweight Tournament Final]
– Kenji Osawa vs Keisuke Fujiwara [DREAM Japan Bantamweight Tournament Third Place]
– Todd Duffee vs Nick Gaston
– Eiji Mitsuoka vs Bruno Carvalho
– Marius Zaromskis vs Eiji Ishikawa
– Tatsuya Kawajiri vs Drew Fickett
– Tatsuya Mizuno vs Trevor Prangley



(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)