Kikuno and Aoki are still just rumours right now, but these two sweet fights have been confirmed and added:
Two bouts have been added to next month's "DREAM.17: Fight for Japan" event, officials today announced.
They include featherweights Joachim Hansen (21-10-1 MMA, 4-4 DREAM) vs. Mitsuhiro Ishida (20-6-1 MMA, 3-1 DREAM) and Caol Uno (27-14-5 MMA, 1-2 DREAM) vs. Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura (11-6-1 MMA, 1-2 DREAM).
The event takes place May 29 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
As previously announced, the event also features the opening round and semifinals of DREAM's Japan bantamweight grand prix. DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki (27-5 MMA, 11-2 DREAM) and Katsunori Kikuno (14-3-2 MMA, 2-2 DREAM) also are expected to be in action, though their opponent haven't been determined.
As MMAjunkie.com reported, HDNet officials are "optimistic" they'll air the event in North America.
Hansen, a former DREAM lightweight champion, lost his belt to Aoki in late 2009 and then suffered a split-decision defeat to featherweight champ Bibiano Fernandes in his next bout. He then suffered a knockout loss to Hiroyuki Takaya that resulted in the first three-fight losing streak of his career. However, 31-year-old "Hellboy," a former Shooto champ, since has picked up back-to-back submission wins over Hideo Tokoro at DREAM.16 and Sami Aziz at Super Challenge 6.
Ishida, a former PRIDE fighter, has bounced back from an August 2009 Strikeforce interim-title loss to Gilbert Melendez with a pair of decisions victories over Daiki "DJ.taiki" Hata (DREAM.15) and Akiyo Nishiura (DREAM.16). The two fights came at 145 pounds after having spent most of his career at lightweight.
Uno, meanwhile, recently made an unsuccessful drop to featherweight and suffered a decision loss to Kazuyuki Miyata at DREAM "Dynamite!! 2010." It's now part of a career-worse 0-4-1 skid that included a semifinal-round loss to Aoki in the 2008 DREAM lightweight grand prix and an unsuccessful (0-2-1) return to the UFC.
Nishiura has alternated between wins and losses over his past five fights, which included a split-decision loss to Ishida in his most recent bout (DREAM.16). This past December he made his kickboxing debut and fought K-1 veteran Tetsuya Yamato to a draw.
FEG's most recent event was its traditional year-end offering, DREAM "Dynamite 2010!!" The promotion, however, has suffered well-documented financial struggles, and several fighters have in recent months come forward to complain they haven't been paid for recent fights.
DREAM officials plan for the May 29 event to serve as a fundraiser for the April earthquakes and tsunami that ravaged Japan.