Japan's Fighting Entertainment Group (FEG) today announced two additional match ups for DREAM 7, which features the opening round of its 2009 Featherweight Grand Prix from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on March 8.
Shinya Aoki (19-3) will be back in action fresh off winning the WAMMA Lightweight Championship by making quick work of Eddie Alvarez in December 2008. "Magic Pants" will suit up this time for David Gardner (16-10), which is expected to serve as a tune-up fight for the Japanese mainstay.
That's because Aoki is getting ready to move up in weight to participate in the DREAM 2009 Welterweight Grand Prix that begins in April. The fight between Aoki and Gardner will be fought at a catchweight of 163 pounds.
Also in action will be Mitsuhiro Ishida (17-4-1) up against Daisuke Nakamura (19-9). Nakamura had a very good outing in 2008, winning seven straight -- two of which were flying armbar victories ... an impressive feat to say the least.
He'll take a step up in competition in the likes of Ishida and will certainly have his hands full.
Ishida has also been linked to appear in some capacity on Strikeforce's April card with Gilbert Melendez (14-2) and Josh Thomson (16-2) being strong candidates for opponents. However, that could now be in jeopardy depending on if he's able to make a quick enough turn around to fight again when the Showtime special airs on fight night.
That's it for now. Look for more fights to be added as we get closer to March 8.
Here is the current line-up for DREAM 7:
Featherweight Grand Prix Opening Round
Masakazu Imanari (15-6-1) vs. Atsushi Yamamoto (12-5-1)
Hiroyuki Takaya (9-6-1) vs. Jong Won Kim (0-0)
Yoshiro Maeda (23-6-2) vs. Micah Miller (10-2)
Chase Beebe (11-3) vs. Joe Warren (0-0)
Bibiano Fernandes (3-2) vs. Takafumi Otsuka (8-3-1)
Abel Cullum (13-2) vs. Akiyo Nishiura (9-3-1)
Catchweight (163 pounds):
Shinya Aoki (19-3) vs. David Gardner (16-10)
Mitsuhiro Ishida (17-4-1) vs. Daisuke Nakamura (19-9)