Frank Shamrock replaces injured Dan Henderson at RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2017

Frank Shamrock replaces Dan Henderson, will face Sakuraba under grappling rules

It is often said that whatever is meant to happen, will happen. For the fight fans, there have been numerous dream fights that failed to materialise in the past. One of them, at least in the early 2000’s, was between Frank Shamrock and Kazushi Sakuraba.

This fight in many ways is similar to the hype around Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett. In their heyday, Shamrock was one of the scariest fighters in North America, while Sakuraba was arguably the biggest name in the sport in the Far East.

There was a time when this fight was considered to be inevitable. During the often reminisced PRIDE days, Shamrock confronted Sakuraba, leading to the fans dreaming about a showdown between two of the best pound for pound fighters at the time. However, that fight never materialised, and their career trajectories started going in a similar, albeit unfortunate direction.

At 48 and 44 years respectively, Sakuraba and Frank aren’t exactly in their prime years. However, just the fact that we now have the opportunity to witness both the fighters engage under grappling rules is reason enough to tune in. RIZIN’s grappling matches last for 15 minutes, and aren’t scored like other grappling competitions.

The competition either ends by submission or by draw, and won’t have sudden death rules. Shamrock’s last grappling match came in ’97, when he submitted Dan Henderson in under a minute. Sakuraba, on the other hand, faced Wanderlei Silva last year, with the match ending in a draw, when neither man could submit the other at RIZIN FF 1.

Frank Shamrock retired from the sport of MMA in 2009, with his last fight against Nick Diaz ending in a TKO loss. Shamrock lost the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship in his penultimate fight to Cung Le, and was forced to retire due to a series of injuries.

While Shamrock previously contemplated coming out of retirement, his interest in fighting Tito Ortiz didn’t amount to much, with Tito then going after the Light Heavyweight Championship in Bellator MMA. Frank revealed that he got the call last week to fill in for Dan Henderson, who was originally scheduled to face Sakuraba.

Henderson was forced to pull out of the match due to a neck injury, which opened doors for Frank Shamrock to make the once dream match a reality.

Below is the entire card for RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2017 on October 15th, in Fukuoka

Super Atomweight (49 kg) – Rena Kubota versus Andy Nguyen

Super Atomweight (49 kg) – Kanna Asakura versus Sylwia Juśkiewicz

Super Atomweight (49 kg) – Maria Oliveira versus Alyssa Garcia

Super Atomweight (49 kg) – Miyuu Yamamoto versus Irene Cabello Rivera

Bantamweight (61 kg) – Erson Yamamoto versus Manel Kape

Bantamweight (61 kg) – Shintaro Ishiwatari versus Akhmed Musakaev

Bantamweight (61 kg) – Je Hoon Moon versus Kevin Petshi

Grappling Match (84 kg) – Kazushi Sakuraba versus Frank Shamrock

Catchweight (63 kg) – Tatsuya Kawajiri versus Gabriel Oliveira

Flyweight (57 kg) – Tenshin Nasukawa versus Yamato Fujita

Lightweight (70 kg) – Akiyo Nishiura versus Andy Souwer

Openweight – Jerome Le Banner versus Roque Martinez

Catchweight (75 kg) – Reina Miura versus Crystal Stokes

K-1 Catchweight (51 kg) – Issei Ishii versus Jin Mandokoro

K-1 Catchweight (58 kg) – Ryota Renseigym versus Yoshihisa Morimoto

K-1 Catchweight (62 kg) – Yuuki versus Kurogi Darvish

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