It’s Christmas come early for every old school JMMA and Catch Wrestling fan in the world and Akira Maeda is playing Santa. RINGS announced on Wednesday that one of RINGS greatest icons, Mr. Volk Han finally has found an opponent for his retirement match that has been talked about since RINGS return. A number of possible opponents have been talked about and a few fighters flat out begged to give the legend his send off.
However Maeda has really outdone himself. Tasking his former UWF compatriot, current AJPW Triple Crown champion and absolute legend in MMA, Masakatsu Funaki with the job of taking on Volk in his last match in Yokohama on December 16th; A dream match 20 years in the making.
Volk was the most popular foreign fighter in the early years of RINGS, bringing one of the most jaw dropping styles of grappling ever seen at the time, seamlessly fusing Sambo and Catch to create the ultimate style for turning humans into twisted pretzels and he also blazed a trail for many fighters to follow, like Fedor Emelianenko.
Funaki was also reinventing the wheel around the same time as Volk and listing all his accolades would take all day. Funaki was the #1 Japanese fighter in the world during the early 90′s and is widely regarded as one of the greatest Catch Wrestlers to ever walk the earth. He is responsible for forming Pancrase and training some of the greatest fighters in the early days of the sport, cheif among them being Bas Rutten and Ken Shamrock.
Sadly the paths of the two gentlemen never crossed in the early 90′s when it was one of the most wished for dream matches but the two will finally meet under original RINGS rules no less, one 15 minute round with rope escapes on submission holds. Color us giddy!!