Kazushi Sakuraba file photo: Sherdog.com
A middleweight bout between Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba has been agreed to for Dream 16 on Sept. 25 Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, according to a source close to the negotiations.
One of the more entertainment-savvy characters in the sport, the 29-year-old Miller has competed in Dream on three separate occasions, earning a first-round knockout against Katsuyori Shibata in May 2008, as well as a loss and a no contest against recently crowned Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in June 2008 and May 2009.
In April, Miller easily steered to a first-round stoppage over Tim Stout at Strikeforce “Nashville,” but garnered more attention later that evening for his involvement in a post-fight, in-cage brawl that broke out after Miller challenged Jake Shields to a rematch following his unanimous decision over Dan Henderson. The Tennessee Athletic Commission suspended Miller for six months; that sentence will be completed prior to the Sept. 25 bout.
Considered the most beloved fighter ever to come out of Japan, the 41-year-old Sakuraba is credited with anchoring the sport’s movement in his nation through benchmark battles against Royce Gracie and a number of his fighting relatives, as well as with Pride champion Wanderlei Silva, who the former pro wrestler met and lost to three times in a dramatic rivalry.
In May, the equally quirky Sakuraba dropped a unanimous decision to Ralek Gracie, nephew to Royce, in his 40th professional bout since debuting in the sport in 1996.
Update: This article was updated at 7:26 p.m. EST to reflect that Miller appeared in three bouts for Dream.