Shinya Aoki (27-5 MMA, 11-2 DREAM) finally has an opponent for this month's "DREAM.17: Fight for Japan" event.
Officials recently announced that the DREAM lightweight champion and former Strikeforce title challenger will meet ex-UFC fighter Antonio McKee (25-4-2 MMA, 0-0 DREAM) at the May 27 event.
DREAM.17 takes place at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and serves as a fundraiser following earthquakes and a tsunami that recently ravaged the country.
The event also features the opening round and semifinals of DREAM's Japan bantamweight grand prix.
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) recently reported, HDNet officials are "optimistic" they'll air DREAM.17 in North America.
Aoki long has been on the card, though officials had struggled to find an opponent. McKee ultimately got the call only after visa issues nearly kept him out of the country.
Aoki enters DREAM.17 with a four-fight win streak and seven victories in his past eight fights. Most recently, he scored a 93-second submission victory (due to a neck crank) over Lyle Beerbohm at April's "Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley" event. However, mixed in with the recent run was an embarrassing (and sometimes baffling) second-round KO loss to K-1 kickboxer Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima in a "special rules" bout at "DREAM Dynamite!! 2010."
McKee, a former MFC champion and 41-year-old IFL vet, recently made his lone UFC appearance after posting a 15-fight unbeaten streak (14-0-1). However, he then suffered a split-decision defeat to Jacob Volkmann at UFC 125 in January and then received his promotional release. It was the California-based wrestler's first defeat in eight years.
The full DREAM.17 card (in reverse bout order) includes:
* Uyenoyama/Yamamoto winner vs. Maeda/Tokoro winner (Japan bantamweight-tourney semifinal)
* Fujiwara/Imanari winner vs. Osawa/Otsuka winner (Japan bantamweight-tourney semifinal)
* Shinya Aoki vs. Antonio McKee
* Katsunori Kikuno vs. Daisuke Nakamura
* Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura vs. Caol Uno
* Takeshi Inoue vs. Koichiro Matsumoto
* Joachim Hansen vs. Mitsuhiro Ishida
* Kenji Osawa vs. Takafumi Otsuka (Japan bantamweight-tourney first round)
* Keisuke Fujiwara vs. Masakazu Imanari (Japan bantamweight-tourney first round)
* Yoshiro Maeda vs. Hideo Tokoro (Japan bantamweight-tourney first round)
* Darren Uyenoyama vs. Atsushi Yamamoto (Japan bantamweight-tourney first round)