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DREAM 8 Preview

The card for Japan's Fighting & Entertainment Group (FEG) next event, "DREAM 8" has been finalized and is set to go down this Sunday, April 5, from the Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan.

For fans in the states it will be broadcasted on HDNet at a later date -- Friday, April 10, at 10 p.m. ET.

The event will kick off the promotions upcoming welterweight grand prix, which will, of course, boast the highly anticipated meeting between Japanese mainstays Shinya Aoki and Hayato "Mach" Sakurai.

The two have fought once before back at Shooto: "Alive Road" in 2005, which would see Sakurai garner a close decision victory over the "Tobikan Judan."

Aoki will get his shot at trying to avenge that loss and will also be looking to make a statement as he moves up in weight from Lightweight (154 lbs.) in a quest for Welterweight (168 lbs.) supremacy.

Also competing in the tournament will be jiu-jitsu ace Andre Galvao, whose ground game may be able to give Aoki's a run for it's money should they meet somewhere down the line.

Galvao will first have to get past veteran of the sport John Alessio, which is no easy task especially for someone who's still somewhat new to the world of mixed martial arts.

Rounding up the rest of the tournament will be Yuya Shirai clashing with Jason High and also Seichi Ikemoto up against Marius Zaromskis.

Important to note that Shirai and Ikemoto actually had to fight there way into the Tournament. With Shirai defeating Yoon Young Kim at DEEP "clubDEEP Tokyo: Protect Cup Final" While Ikemoto earned his spot by destroying Hidetaka Monma (15-9-3) at DEEP "40 Impact."

Heading up the non-grand prix portion of the card will be submission specialist Jeff Monson who makes a quick return to action against Sergei Kharitonov. This will be Monson's third fight in just 2 weeks.

He recently competed on Roy Jones Jr.'s boxing & mixed martial arts hybrid card 'March Badness' where he scraped a controversial decision over Roy Nelson (13-4) on March 21.

Then only a week later he would end up submitting Sergej Maslobojev (3-4) by anaconda choke at "Cage Wars Championship: Decade."

Now he’s been put up to the task of facing off against the very dangerous Sergei Kharitonov. Who unlike Monson has had adequate time to rest for the bout ... seven months to be exact. His last outing saw him give Jimmy Ambriz (13-11-1) a stern thrashing at 'DREAM 6' last September.

Featherweights Hideo Tokoro and Daiki Hata will conclude the opening round of the 2009 Featherweight Grand Prix that was held at DREAM 7.

"DJ.taiki" needed the extra month to recover from a recent eye injury, thus pushing his bout with Tokoro to April 5.

In his first trip to Japan since the demise of PRIDE, Murilo "Ninja" Rua will make his debut for DREAM against DEEP veteran Riki Fukuda after Strikeforce reportedly opted to pass on his acquired EliteXC contract.

Also on the card will be Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro who makes a long awaited return back to fighting.

He has not been seen on the mixed martial arts circuit since 'K-1 Hero’s 10' which took place in September of 2007. Where he would end up being the victim of a quick and thorough beatdown courtesy of Gesias "JZ" Calvacante.

The punishment received in that bout would result in a detached retina that required surgery and has kept Ribeiro on the sidelines ever since.

Now he 'eyes' a return to action and will meet Olympic Greco-Roman silver medalist Katsuhiko Nagata.

Here is the official card for "DREAM 8:"

Welterweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals:

Shinya Aoki (20-3) vs. Hayato "Mach" Sakurai (34-8-2)
Andre Galvao (2-0) vs. John Alessio (24-12)
Yuya Shirai (15-7) vs. Jason High (6-1)
Marius Zaromskis (8-2) vs. Seichi Ikemoto (18-14-5)

Featherweight Grand Prix opening round bout:

Hideo Tokoro (21-15-1) vs. Daiki Hata (10-5-3)

Main card:

Sergei Kharitonov (16-3) vs. Jeff Monson (29-8)
Ikuhisa Minowa (41-29-8) vs. Katsuyori Shibata (2-6-1)
Murilo Ninja (16-9-1) vs. Riki Fukuda (13-4)
Andrews Nakahara (1-1) vs. Shungo Oyama (7-11)
Vitor Ribeiro (19-2) vs. Katsuhiko Nagata (4-4-1)

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