Okay guys, for real this time.
Within the week, DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki has been set to face three separate opponents. When a bout with Antonio McKee dematerialized for what McKee will only say “is definitely my responsibility,” unheralded lightweight Shane Nelson stepped up in his place.
Aoki apparently felt that the four-time UFC vet wasn’t quite up to snuff, so he declined that bout before eventually accepting one against another UFC vet in Rich Clementi.
Never mind the fact that Willamy Freire and Jamie Varner were also at one point rumored to be facing Aoki — Aoki vs. Clemente is the match up everyone will now witness at DREAM.17. Probably.
DREAM’s American rep Mike Kogan tweeted the following: “Rich Clemente is gonna fight Aoki now.”
The fight isn’t yet official, but has apparently been verbally agreed to by both men.
A consummate veteran of the sport, 40-19-1 Rich Clementi has gone 7-5 in various promotions since being cut from the UFC in 2009. “No Love’s” most recent bout — which took place at Superior Challenge 7 this past April in Stockholm, Sweden — ended in a unanimous decision loss to Reza Madadi.
Aoki is technically on a four-fight winning streak since losing a decision to Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez, though he was defeated by K-1 fighter Yuichiro Nagashima via knockout in an embarrassing special rules bout in his second-to-last appearance. In his most recent outing, Aoki displayed a return to form in taking out Lyle Beerbohm via first round submission.
DREAM.17 is going down this May 29 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.