Though his presence on the card was already expected, submission-savvy lightweight Shinya Aoki officially has an opponent for his in-ring appearance on December 31 at DREAM 18. The “Tobikan Judan” has been a staple of similar shows in the past, fighting on New Year’s Eve from 2006-2009 and again in 2011.
According to a press release, Aoki will mix it up with Antonio McKee at the traditional year-end show in Japan, joining a lineup already featuring Bibiano Fernandes-Yoshiro Maeda and Denis Kang-Melvin Manhoef.
The 31-6 Aoki has tapped out twenty of the foes he’s felled, earning a reputation for himself as one of the most dangerous grapplers in the division. Among the notable opponents he’s beaten are the likes of Gesias Cavalcante, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Eddie Alvarez.
Meanwhile, McKee is 3-0 since being released after his lone appearance in the UFC. He holds an overall record of 28-4-2 with only a single loss since August 2003 (by way of Split Decision no less). Also worth mentioning, the only time he has been submitted in his career came more than a decade ago.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE/MFC