by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
Japanese star Kazushi Sakuraba has been cleared by doctors to fight on the October 9th Hero’s show at the Yokohama Arena, according to the promoters of Hero’s, who added that an MRI revealed no brain damage or injuries.
Fans will recall Sakuraba’s last controversial fight, in which the former Pride star appeared to be knocked out by Kestutis Smirnovas. The referee stepped in when Sakuraba was under the ropes to reposition the fighters, allowing Sakuraba extra time to recover and continue the match, which he eventually won by submission. Hero’s executive Akira Maeda publicly stated after the event that the Sakuraba-Smirnovas fight should have been stopped.
Though specific match-ups have not yet been announced, Sakuraba is one of the final four competitors in the 187-pound tournament that Hero’s started on August 5th. The other three semi-finalists are Melvin Manhoef, Yoshihiro Akiyama, and Shungo Oyama.
Hero’s did announce the semi-final match-ups for its 154-pound tournament, as UFC veteran Caol Uno will face Ivan Menjivar, while Gesias “JZ” Calvancanti will face Rani Yahira.