Photo via FIGHT! Magazine
That didn't last long.
Just days after announcing that Shinya Aoki would fight mouthy mixed martial arts journeyman, Antonio McKee, at DREAM 17: "Fight for Japan," it seems as though "Mandingo" is already a last-minute scratch.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 alum, Shane Nelson, who apparently has zero visa issues unlike McKee, had agreed to take on the DREAM Lightweight Champion on super short notice, but Aoki turned down the proposed match-up in favor of an alternate scrap against Rich Clementi.
DREAM 17 takes place on May 29, 2011, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Aoki is currently riding a four-fight win streak and has won six of his last seven bouts, dating back to July 2009. The only setback during that span for "Tobikan Judan" was a lopsided unanimous decision loss to Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez in April 2010.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard most recently submitted Lyle Beerbohm with a neck crank at Strikeforce: "Diaz vs. Daley" last month. He'll have a significant advantage over Clementi, who holds seven submission losses on his record, come fight night.
"No Love" is 2-3 over his last five fights after an unsuccessful debut under the Bellator FC banner last September. The former UFC lightweight was last seen on the losing end of a unanimous decision to Reza Madadi at SC 7: "Rise of Champions" back on April 30.
This fight against Aoki will undoubtedly serve as one of the toughest tests of his professional mixed martial arts career.
DREAM 17 will also feature the opening round of the promotion's 135-pound grand prix tournament, which includes bantamweights Hideo Tokoro, Masakazu Imanari, Yoshiro Maeda, Keisuke Fujiwara, Darren Uyenoyama, Kenji Osawa, Takafumi Otsuka and Atsushi Yamamoto.
For the current DREAM 17 "Fight for Japan" fight card and line up click here.