Shinya Aoki holds up a Fight for Japan banner in celebration of his victory over Lyle Beerbohm. Photo by Esther Lin, Strikeforce.
On Sunday, DREAM officially announced that Japanese lightweight kingpin Shinya Aoki would face MFC and UFC veteran Antonio McKee at the 'Fight for Japan' charity event on May 29th at Saitama Super Arena. A bout featuring Aoki was heavily rumored for the last couple of weeks, initially involving either Jamie Varner, Antonio McKee, or Willamy Freire. Sherdog.com confirmed that the contracts had been signed on Friday, but McKee's visa status was still unclear. It appears those concerns have been remedied with the official announcement.
Aoki has won his last four bouts, recently defeating touted Strikeforce prospect Lyle Beerbohm via neck crank in April at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley. He had previously defeated Yokthai Sithoar, Marcus Aurelio, and Tatsuya Kawajiri in impressive fashion following his loss to Gilbert Melendez at Strikeforce: Nashville in April of last year.
The contest will be McKee's first since being released from the UFC following a split decision loss to Jacob Volkmann at UFC 125 in January. McKee was riding a fifteen-fight winning streak heading into his UFC debut, defeating notable names such as Carlo Prater, Luciano Azevedo, Derrick Noble, and Marcos Aurelio. McKee's methodical wrestling style has received criticism from many fans as being unexciting to watch, but it's no secret that it has effectively gained him a tremendous amount of wins over the years. Unfortunately, Aoki's creative submission game may be able to take full advantage of McKee's willingness to sit in top control.
Bantamweight Quarterfinals (Bantamweight Semifinals on same night)
Masakazu Imanari vs. Keisuke Fujiwara
Hideo Tokoro vs. Yoshiro Maeda
Kenji Osawa vs. Takafumi Otsuka
Darren Uyenoyama vs. Atsushi Yamamoto