Sakurai Struggles with Dream 10 Weight Cut

By Tony Loiseleur Jul 19, 2009
TOKYO -- The pre-fight press conference for Dream 10 proved far from business as usual on Sunday at Hotel East 21. Welterweight grand prix semi-finalist Hayato Sakurai was notably absent, unable to attend because of problems with his weight.

“Unfortunately, Mach is not here with us because he’s trying very hard to cut weight,” said Dream event producer Keiichi Sasahara. “I am confident he will be at the best condition tomorrow for the fight.”

When asked how much Sakurai had left to cut at the time of the presser, Sasahara reported that “he re-weighed himself at 2:30 p.m. and still had to 600 to 700 grams. We will weigh him again soon, but I am pretty sure he will be fine by then.”

According to Dream’s official Web site, Sakurai made weight on his third attempt at 7:36 p.m., as he came in at 167.6 pounds.

Sakurai’s opponent, Marius Zaromskis, seemed less than thrilled with the pre-fight process, though he claimed Mach’s struggle to make weight did not bother him.

“I don’t mind. I’m just waiting for tomorrow,” Zaromskis said in halting fragments. “That’s it. It’s only ... a couple grams.” On the other side of the welterweight tournament bracket, Jason High and Andre Galvao expressed confidence that they would leave with the belt at Dream 10.

High surprised with a rehearsed but nearly perfect delivery, all in Japanese, of the phrase, “I will win the championship. I will try my best.”

Though Galvao, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, had no such surprise in store, his comments reflected High’s self-confidence.

“I think tomorrow we’ll have a great party,” he said, “and I’ll be having the greatest party because I’ll be bringing the belt back home.”

After the semi-finalists squared off for the cameras, High remained respectful and complimentary towards Galvao.

“You know, this isn’t the first time I’ve been face-to-face with Andre,” High said. “I look forward to fighting with him, though, and I plan on being in one of the ‘Fights of the Night.’ We’re gonna put on a show.”

The 26-year-old Galvao has won all three of his fights by submission.

“We are both prepared for tomorrow. That’s how I feel,” he said. “However, I’m confident and even surer that I will be the champion tomorrow and bring the belt back home.”

In advance of one of the event’s most anticipated super fights, former Shooto 154-pound world champion Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro had nothing but compliments for his opponent, Shinya Aoki.

“I’m happy to be fighting in Japan again,” he said. “Tomorrow, we have a lot of Brazilian fighters, and I’m really happy to be a part of that. My opponent is very good -- good standing and good on the ground.”

Aoki, the current Shooto 168-pound world champion, kept it classy and simple.

“Thank you very much, Mr. Shaolin, for saying such nice things about me,” he said. “Tomorrow, I’ll fight a very Shinya Aoki-like fight, so I hope that my fans will leave the event happy.”

When asked for some background behind his new tattoos, former World Extreme Cagefighting middleweight champion Paulo Filho delivered a cryptic response, though it remains unknown if it was intentional or if his answer was simply lost in translation. He will face Melvin Manhoef at Dream 10.

“Well, I’m back, and I can fight, so I just decided to get a new tattoo to express how happy and how joyful I am. That’s all,” he said. “About the pit bull, well, I like pit bulls. They’re one of my favorite animals. And also, fighters, you know, go all over the world, and we only want to get one thing -- to achieve our goals -- and that’s expressed in my tattoo.”

Awarded the chance to greet Deep lightweight champion Katsunori Kikuno in his Dream debut, Andre Amade was direct with his pre-fight comments.

“I’ll finish him before the first round is over,” he said.

In other Dream-related news, Sasahara revealed that Dream 11 would be held at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan, on Oct. 6, contrary to prior plans to hold the event in September.

Sasahara also called Monday’s K-1 bout between Tatsuya Kawajiri and Masato Kobayashi “a great fight” and indicated he has hopes to one day bring that match into “the MMA ring,” where it would “make history.”
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