DREAM 17 looks to prove on Sept. 24 that Japanese MMA is still alive and kicking

via cdn3.sbnation.com

Japanese mixed martial arts (JMMA) has recently felt the scorn of critics and been the butt of a multitude of jokes. With the fall of Sengoku and the believed fall (followed by the surprising re-emergence) of the DREAM organization, it hasn't been a good run, as of late.

Whether it's a failure to pay the fighters in a timely fashion (or at all) or an inability to hold onto its larger names, JMMA has been taking a beating.

But they're not ready to tap just yet.

On Sat., Sept. 24, DREAM 17 will take place in the world renowned Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The card will feature some blasts from the past, as well as some current top fighters who have not yet made their way stateside.

The card will feature the opening round in Dream's World Bantamweight Grand Prix. It will also be the first event to showcase DREAM's new rule change, involving a move to the more American-friendly matches with three, five-minute rounds.

Here's why you should watch:

The card features ten fights, all of which feature a potential exciting element. Takeshi Inoue takes on former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Shooto veteran Caol Uno in a featherweight bout. The fight will be Uno's third at this respective weight class.

Highly ranked lightweight Shinya Aoki will square off against former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) standout "Razor" Rob McCullough in a classic "submission specialist vs. striker" match-up.

In a pairing of highly ranked mixed martial artists, Tatsuya Kawajiri will meet Joachim Hansen in the ring for bragging rights. The fight will be Kawajiri's first at featherweight.

Bibiano Fernandes will fight for the first time since losing to Hiroyuki Takaya at on New Year's Eve, 2010 at Dynamite!! 2010. Fernandes will look to right his ship against Takafumi Otsuka.

Also on the card will be a welterweight bout between Welterweight bout between catch wrestling legend Kazushi Sakuraba and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) submission specialist Yan Cabral.

The whole event looks to be well worth watching.

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