A trio of bouts has been added to next month's year-end "DREAM: New Year! 2011" event.
In a featured bout, Hayato Sakurai (35-12-2 MMA, 4-4 DREAM) takes on fellow welterweight veteran Ryo Chonan (20-12 MMA, 1-0 DREAM).
Additionally, the final two rounds of this year's world bantamweight grand prix conclude with Bibiano Fernandes (9-3 MMA, 6-1 DREAM) vs. Rodolfo Marques Diniz (14-1 MMA, 1-0 DREAM) and Antonio Banuelos (19-7 MMA, 1-0 DREAM) vs. Masakazu Imanari (24-9-2 MMA, 4-2 DREAM).
The event takes place Dec. 31 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) the event will air on HDNet. However, it hasn't been decided if it'll air live or via delay.
Sakurai and Chonan first fought eight years ago at DEEP 12, where Chonan earned a TKO win due to a cut.
Sakurai, a former Shooto champ and PRIDE veteran, once was one of the sport's top fighters. Now, though, "Mach" is winless since April 2009 and stuck in a four-fight losing skid. The losses, which followed an 8-1 run, have come to notables Marius Zaromskis, Akihiro Gono, Nick Diaz and Jason High.
He looks to get back on track against Chonan, a former UFC and PRIDE fighter who also recently saw his career sputter. However, he's taken on some over-matched competition and is 3-1 in his past four fights, including a recent knockout of Shigetoshi Iwase and a decision win over Naoki Samukawa.
Fernandes, meanwhile, won his opening-round grand-prix bout via submission over Takafumi Otsuka. He looks for his ninth win in 10 fights when he takes on Diniz, who made a successful DREAM debut with an opening-round decision victory over Yusup Saadulaev. He's now won 11 consecutive fights.
Banuelos, a recent WEC and UFC fighter, earned a split-decision victory over Hideo Tokoro in the grand prix's opening round. He now meets Imanari, who looks for his fourth win in five fights (and ninth win in 11 fights) following an opening-round submission victory over Abel Cullum.
The winners of Fernandes vs. Diniz and Banuelos vs. Imanari will meet later in the night in the grand prix's finale.