by MMAWeekly.com Staff
Fleshing out its Dream 8 fight card, the Japanese promotion on Thursday added an impacting heavyweight bout between Sergei Kharitonov and Jeff Monson. Dream also announced that Murilo “Ninja” Rua – whose brother Mauricio “Shogun” fights for the UFC – would face Dong Sik Yoon at its April 5 event at the Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan.
Riding a three-fight winning streak, Kharitonov marks his first time in the ring since September of last year, when he defeated Jimmy Ambriz at Dream 6. After dropping back-to-back losses in 2006, the Russian fighter has been working his way back into the world spotlight. A win over a veteran like Monson could easily catapult him back into the limelight.
Since dropping a bout to highly ranked Josh Barnett early last year, Monson has quietly made the rounds on smaller promotions, linking together a four-fight streak of victories. Most recently scoring a controversial unanimous decision over former IFL champion Roy Nelson, Monson will face his toughest test since Barnett in Kharitonov. Much like his Russian opponent, a victory would return Monson back to contender status nearly anywhere he fights.
Ninja Rua makes his return to the ring after a losing effort to Benji Radach in October under the EliteXC banner. Yoon – despite a mediocre record – is a tough opponent looking to bounce back from back-to-back losses.
Welterweight Grand Prix Opening Round:
-Hayato “Mach” Sakurai vs. Shinya Aoki
-Yuya Shirai vs. Jason High
-Marius Zaromskis vs. Seichi Ikemoto
-John Alessio vs. Andre Galvao
Featherweight Grand Prix Opening Round:
-Hideo Tokoro vs. Daiki “D.J. Taiki” Hata
Non-Grand Prix Bouts:
-Katsuyori Shibata vs. Ikuhisa Minowa
-Dong Sik Yoon vs. Murilo “Ninja” Rua
-Andrews Nakahara vs. Shungo Oyama
-Sergei Kharitonov vs. Jeff Monson