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Renzo Gracie won't underestimate ‘unorthodox’ Kazushi Sakuraba at Metamoris 5

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Kazushi Sakuraba was the first fighter to defeat Renzo Gracie at PRIDE, and he did it by breaking his arm with a kimura. Fourteen years later, they will meet again.

Sakuraba and Gracie, who haven’t competed in since 2011 and 2010, respectively, agreed to meet in a 20-minute submission-only grappling match at Metamoris 5 on Nov. 22, and the Brazilian veteran is happy to finally earn a chance to avenge that loss to "The Gracie Hunter."

"I dropped everything I was doing to take this match," Gracie told MMAFighting.com. "I was so busy you wouldn’t believe it, and I dropped it all to do this."

"It doesn’t matter to me," he said of the 20-minute time limit. "They could do a match with no time limit. I compete under any rules, and in this case, it’s a 20-minute submission-only match. Submission or draw, 20 minutes. It’s going to be fun."

Renzo Gracie was already scheduled to meet another MMA veteran in Matt Hughes at ADCC 2015 in Brazil, so he had no trouble finding the best training partners for Metamoris 5.

"My training camp was amazing. I’m in excellent shape, feeling great," he said. "I can’t wait to go there and grapple with him. I want to test myself against Sakuraba and see how this goes after 14 years of waiting.

"My gym is big, so I had a lot of training partners. I focused on submission grappling, no-gi jiu-jitsu training for the last three months. I rolled with Neiman, Igor, Gregor, Rolles and Daniel. I’m feeling great, training with everybody. It’s going to be a spectacular match to watch."

Sakuraba has fought the who’s who of MMA from middleweight to heavyweight, but his lack of experience in grappling competition is a complicating factor for Gracie.

"His game is focused on MMA, so it’s hard to train for someone like that," he said. "He’s always dangerous. You can’t underestimate a guy like that. He’s dangerous from any position. He’s unorthodox, he doesn’t follow a clear line of attack. He does whatever goes in his mind, so that makes him unpredictable. It’s a challenge.

"I talked to a lot of guys I know that trained with him, and everybody talked about the quality of his grappling, that he’s dangerous all the time," he continued. "It’s going to be a 20-minute war. It’s going to be fun.

"He has some dangerous leg locks. He’s a dangerous guy. I have some good guillotines, some good armbars. I have some good attacks."

Both fighters should weigh-in at 185 pounds for the match, and that’s something Renzo Gracie only found out during his interview with MMAFighting.com.

"Man, I have no idea. … Let me check the contract here," he said about the weight limit. "Well, it says it’s at 185 pounds. I had no idea there was a weight limit, but that’s not a problem. I’m already at 186 pounds."