Shinya Aoki (28-5) will put his five fight win streak on the line against former-WEC Lightweight Champion Rob McCullough (19-7) at DREAM 17: World Bantamweight GP. The event will take place September 24 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Since his loss to Strikeforce lightweight king Gilbert Melendez last April, Aoki has ripped through the opposition, finishing four off his last five fights via submission. The 28-year-old was last seen at DREAM.17: Fight for Japan, defeating Rich Clementi with a brutal highlight-reel neck crank.
Aoki will square off against Rob "Razor" McCullough, who has fallen on hard times in the last few years. The 34-year-old is 4-4 since 2008, and will enter the bout on the heels of a knockout loss to Patricky Freire at Bellator Fighting Championships 36. Facing such a notorious finisher, McCullough is in danger of recording consecutive losses for the first time since 2002.
Also announced for the card is a lightweight battle between former Sengoku lightweight champion Satoru Kitaoka (28-10-9) and former Shooto welterweight champion Willamy Freire (18-4). After losing consecutive bouts for the first time of his career -- highlighted by the loss of his Sengoku title -- Kitaoka has righted the ship, rattling off a three fight win streak that includes wins over Kuniyoshi Hironaka and Jutaro Nakao. Freire, on the other hand, will look to rebound from his first setback since 2007, after losing via decision to Waylon Lowe at his UFC debut in January.
The updated DREAM 17: World Bantamweight GP card:
Shinya Aoki vs. Rob McCullough
Takeshi Inoue vs. Caol Uno
Willamy Freire vs. Satoru Kitaoka
Also set for the event is the opening round of the DREAM Bantamweight Grand Prix Tournament. Confirmed participants include Hideo Tokoro, Masakazu Imanari, Kenji Osawa, Rodolfo Marques, and Bibiano Fernandes.