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MMA: Fakhreddine wins, Sakuraba to face Henderson in Oct

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MUMBAI: MMA legends Dan Henderson and Kazushi Sakuraba will finally face off, though we won’t see any “H-Bomb” right hands being thrown.

Hassan Fakhreddine from Lebanon, making his mixed martial arts debut, meantime became the first athlete from the Middle East to win a bout in Mexico when he beat Rodrigo Reyes in the second round during Bahrain-based Brave Combat Federation’s Brave 7: Untamed on Saturday at Casino Caliente in Tijuana. The mega event featured 10 bouts involving athletes from five nations - the US, Mexico, Lebanon, the Philippines and Costa Rica.

Sakuraba and Henderson will meet in a grappling rules contest scheduled for 15 October at a RIZIN show in Fukuoka, Japan. The Henderson-Sakuraba exhibition match was announced during the RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2017 1st Round event in Saitama on Sunday, and Sakuraba later celebrated the booking with a shot of himself and Henderson on Instagram.

This is essentially a dream match for fans of these two warriors who rose to stardom in Japan’s famed PRIDE organization. Henderson held both the PRIDE welterweight and middleweight titles simultaneously before joining the UFC, while Sakuraba engaged in countless classic battles with member of the Gracie family and various opponents who typically dwarfed him in size.

In the main event, Alejandro Martinez continued his winning streak as he forced his opponent Fabian Quintanar to submit (rear-naked choke) in the second round. It marked his second victory following his defeat of Brazil’s Paulo Silva in the ‘Brave in India’ edition. Brave’s next event will be on 12 August in Brazil with two championship titles on the line.

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