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Shinya Aoki and Hayato Sakurai set for DREAM welterweight Grand Prix

The Fighter Entertainment Group (FEG) has released a partial list of fighters who will compete in their welterweight Grand Prix which will begin on April 5 at Dream.8.

Newly crowned WAMMA lightweight champion Shinya Aoki, fresh off a submission victory over Eddie Alvarez at FEG’s New Years’ Eve event, will make the jump to welterweight to compete in the Grand Prix. You may recall that Aoki made it to the finals of last year’s lightweight Grand Prix only to lose to Joachim Hansen, who was a replacement for an injured Alvarez.

Also confirmed for the grand prix is Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, who was defeated Katsuyori Shibata by first round TKO at “Dynamite!!” on New year’s Eve.

A qualifying match for entry into the Grand Prix between Hidetaka Monma and DEEP champion Seichi Ikemoto will also take place on the DEEP 40 card on February 20.

Ikuhisa Minowa will be fighting on the Dream.8 card as well, although no opponent has been named. Minowa, who is 41-29 in a career that dates back to 1996, recently defeated Errol Zimmerman on the same NYE”s card.

Minowa has fought a who’s who of mixed martial artists including Evan Tanner, Paulo Fihlo, Ricardo Almeida, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Wanderlai Silva, Kazushi Sakuraba and Mirko Cro Cop. However, Minowa went winless in all of the aforementioned matchups.

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