The news of the return of Sakakibara to MMA on New Year's Eve has the entire combat sports world abuzz, especially for the return of Fedor Emelianenko that same night against an opponent that was originally slated to be Jaideep Singh, but has apparently changed to TBA. The kickboxing world will be represented in this show, with there being talk of there being a kickboxing portion of the event, as well as involvement from some of the biggest names in professional kickboxing under MMA rules, with RENA from Shoot Boxing the first name tossed into the hat.
The latest addition to this is K-1 MAX veteran Andy Souwer will finally make his MMA debut after years of anticipation and it will be against another K-1 MAX star in Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima. Nagashima is no stranger to New Year's Eve spectacles, including a mixed-rules bout between himself and Shinya Aoki that saw a mix of kickboxing and MMA rounds.
Souwer is still considered a legend in Japan and while he hasn't been competing there as often will still be fresh in the memories of fans for his past NYE appearances, including Masato's epic retirement bout in 2009.
Edit: Souwer's manager later made a statement to Round1Network claiming that he misspoke about this news. We'll consider this a strong rumor for now because, really, who even has an opponent lined up without there being strong talks?