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Hayato "Mach" Sakurai: "Aoki underestimates the welterweight."

DREAM had a press conference on February 12 and announced participants in the welterweight tournament which started at DREAM.8 on April 5. Hayato "Mach" Sakurai, Shinya Aoki, and a winner of Seichi Ikemoto vs Hideki Kadoma at "DEEP 40 Impact" on February 20 are announced. Dream event producer Keiichi Sasahara said, "8 fighters (4 Japanese and 4 foreigners) participate in, and the semi-final and final are at Saitama Super Arena on July 20. Mach defeated Aoki by decision in 2005, and I'm considering their rematch in this tournament."

Hayato 'Mach' Sakurai:
"This tournament means a lot to me. I absolutely want to win this tournament. If I can choose my opponent, I want to fight top foreign fighters such as Nick Diaz and Jake Shields. Is Aoki serious about fighting in March as well? I consider he just underestimates the welterweight. I understand he developed himself since we fought 4 years ago, yet he is definitely not taking this seriously."

Shinya Aoki:
"I accepted this offer because I though I was the one who could put enthusiasm into the tournament. I also believe I need this experience to be a better fighter. BJ Penn couldn't do good in the Welterweight. Although, I have a confidence that I can win in this class if I give my all. I'm comfortable fighting in the light weight, and this is my one-time challenge"

DREAM.8 Welterweight GP 2009 1st Round
Date: April 5, 16:00~
Place: Gaishi Hall, Aichi

Welterweight GP:
- Hayato "Mach" Sakurai
- Shinya Aoki
- A winner of Seichi Ikemoto vs Hideki Monma at "DEEP 40 Impact" on Febryary 20

One match:
- Minowaman

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