Consider it an early Christmas present.
Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki, two of the world’s top four lightweights, have verbally agreed to fight one another at K-1 "Premium 2008 Dynamite" on Dec. 31 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Monte Cox, who manages Alvarez, confirmed the news to Sherdog.com on Monday.
Alvarez (15-1) and Aoki were on track to meet in the final of the Dream lightweight grand prix in July, but the American was unable to continue in the tournament after his grueling semifinal victory over Tatsuya Kawajiri. Aoki, meanwhile, went on to lose to alternate Joachim Hansen, the man Alvarez defeated in the quarterfinals.
A budding superstar and former Bodog Fight welterweight champion, Alvarez has made quite an impact since moving down in weight. Based out of Philadelphia’s Fight Factory, the 24-year-old has rattled off five straight wins since suffering the only defeat of his career -- a technical knockout loss to Nick Thompson in April 2007. Knockout victories over Brazilian Andre Amade and UFC veterans Aaron Riley and Derrick Noble anchor his impressive resume.
Alvarez, who married in September, still plans to compete at an Extreme Challenge show next month in Atlantic City, N.J. No opponent has been named.
One of the world’s premier submission grapplers, Aoki (18-3) last competed in September, when he submitted World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Todd Moore in 70 seconds at Dream 6. More than half (10) of the 25-year-old’s 18 career wins have come by submission. Seasoned by the Pride, Shooto and Deep promotions, Aoki holds notable victories against American Top Team ace Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante, Akira Kikuchi (twice) and Clay French. His loss to Hansen -- whom he also owns a win against -- in July ended a 13-fight unbeaten streak.
The Alvarez-Aoki showdown provides more star power for the traditional end-of-the-year K-1 show, which also includes a non-title lightweight fight pairing Hansen with Cavalcante and a long-awaited matchup between Kazushi Sakuraba and Kiyoshi Tamura. In addition, Dream middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi and Kawajiri will be in action in separate bouts held under K-1 rules.
In related news, Tim Sylvia is looking to fight on the same K-1 Dynamite card or in the Sengoku Jan 4th show:
After losing to Fedor Emelianenko last July, Tim Sylvia plans for a big return.
The former UFC heavyweight champion is prepared to fight in Japan in roughly 30 days. Sylvia’s manager, Monte Cox, is actively seeking a fight for "The Maine-iac" on K-1 and Dream’s co-promoted "Premium 2008 Dynamite" card on Dec. 31 or World Victory Road’s Sengoku event on Jan. 4. Cox said Sylvia has been granted a certificate of eligibility to participate in either promotion.
-Eddie Alvarez (#2 LW in the World)* vs. Shinya Aoki (#3 LW in the World)*
-Joachim Hansen (#4 LW in the World)* vs. JZ Calvancante (#6 LW in the World)*
-Sergei Kharitonov vs. Alistair Overeem
-Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Kiyoshi Tamura
Gegard Mousasi (# 5 MW in the World)* vs. Musashi
Tatsuya Kawajiri (# 5 LW in the World)* vs. Kozo Takeda
K-1 Youth Tournament Semi-Finals
Hiroya vs. Shota Shimada
Tatsuya Kusakabe vs. Koya Urabe
Other Possible MMA Participants:
-Mitsuhiro Ishida (#9 Lightweight in the World)*
-Atsushi Yamamoto (#10 Bantamweight in the World)*
-Hayato "Mach" Sakurai
Also Rumored: Tim Sylvia (# 6 HW in the World)* , Kimbo Slice, Mirko Cro Cop.