by Ricardo Mendoza and Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
DREAM has finalized its next card, DREAM.3 scheduled to take place on May 11 at the Saitama Super Arena featuring the second round of the lightweight grand prix… and a bout including EliteXC fighter Nick Diaz.
After much speculation and doubt about his participation on the card, and EliteXC officials saying that they weren’t going to allow him to participate, Diaz will be allowed to fight against former King of Pancrase Katsuya Inoue in a DREAM welterweight title eliminator. The winner of which will move on to face Hayato “Mach” Sakurai for the welterweight championship on July 21 at DREAM.5.
Earlier in the week, Diaz was pulled off the card by EliteXC because the bout was too close to his scheduled June 14 fight against Muhsin Corbbrey in Hawaii. According to a report on Sherdog.com, Diaz has been given permission by EliteXC CEO Doug DeLuca to face Inoue.
Diaz’s trainer, Cesar Gracie, confirmed as much to MMAWeekly.com, saying, “I pulled an all-nighter with Nick last night, cutting weight, and getting him on the plane. So it’s all good now.”
Although there was talk about possibly putting the bout on at 175-pounds due to all the confusion about whether it would even take place, Gracie said that Diaz is preparing to make 170 pounds, especially since this is a title elimination bout.
“The only sticking point in this whole process is this is (for a title shot). Nick is dropping down from over 180 (pounds). But what people maybe don’t know is he’s never missed weight in anything,” continued Gracie. “He’s preparing to have to make 170 (pounds).”
In another non-tournament bout, Team Grabaka featherweight Takeshi Yamazaki will face off with lightweight King of Pancrase Shoji Maruyama in a featherweight bout.
Yamazaki comes off a submission victory over Daiki Ozaki at Cage Force: EX Eastern Bound as part of the Cage Force featherweight tournament, while Shoji drew with Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Koji Oishi at Pancrase: Shining 3.
DREAM.3 is highlighted by the second round of the lightweight grand prix with three tournament match-ups scheduled to take place. Former Shooto welterweight champion Tatsuya Kawajiri takes on Brazilian lightweight Luis Buscape, former Shooto welterweight champion Joachim Hansen takes on former Bodog Fight welterweight champion Eddie Alvarez, and former Shooto Pacific Rim welterweight champion Mitsuhiro Ishida faces off with K-1 Hero’s veteran Caol Uno.
Other bouts scheduled include former ICON Sport middleweight champion Jason “Mayhem” Miller taking on Japanese pro wrestler Katsuyori Shibata in a middleweight grand prix bout, Dutch striker Melvin Manhoef taking on Korean wrestler Dae Won Kim in a middleweight grand prix reserve bout, and Korean judoka Bu Kung Yung taking on Pride veteran Daisuke Nakamura.