"The Tobikan Judan" is heading back to Japan as DREAM Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki (31-6) takes on the wily Antonio McKee (28-4-2) at the DREAM Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event at Saitama Super Arena on New Year’s Eve.
DREAM announced today that Shinya Aoki's opponent on the DREAM 18 / GLORY 4 card would be American veteran Antonio Mckee. The two had originally been set to fight at DREAM 'Fight For Japan' last year but, for reasons which remain vague, the matchup never materialized.
McKee's record currently stands at 28-4-2 and he has won three straight fights since being cut by the UFC following a split decision loss to Jacob Volkmann on his promotional debut. Aoki is 31-6 and is coming off a quick fire submission win over Arnaud Lepont at ONE FC: 'Rise of Kings' in October.
Aoki was widely reported as being set to face 7-0 American Will Brooks, who even gave media interview in which he talked about having accepted the fight. However, DREAM seems to have decided to give their most recent Lightweight champion a more experienced opponent.
Aged 42, McKee made his MMA debut in 1999 and holds a 2002 win over Heath Sims who is a coach at Evolve MMA in Singapore where Aoki is based and is likely to be in the Japanese fighter's corner on December 31st.
Although Aoki is contracted exclusively to ONE FC last week GLORY joined DREAM in signing up to the ONE FC Network giving them access to the rosters of the various promotions in it and the likes of Aoki, Bibiano Fernandes, Phil Baroni and Melvin Manhoef.
DREAM 18 / GLORY 4, Saitama Super Arena, December 31st, 2012
Shinya Aoki vs Antonio Mckee (not confirmed)
Bibiano Fernandes vs Yoshiro Maeda
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs TBA
Satoru Kitaoka vs TBA
GLORY Grand Slam Tournament:
Semmy Schilt vs Brice Guidon
Sergei Kharitonov vs Rico Verhoeven
Gokhan Saki vs Raomoru
Anderson "Braddock" Silva vs Igor Jurkovic
Remy Bonjasky vs Filip Verlinden
Errol Zimmerman vs Jamal Ben Saddick
Peter Aerts vs Mourad Bouzidi
Daniel Ghita vs Fabiano Aoki