FightersOnly.com has reported that DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki will next face off against WEC veteran “Razor” Rob McCullough, though his championship belt will not be on the line.
Since challenging Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez for his title in April of last year at Strikeforce: Nashville, Japanese submission specialist Shinya Aoki has gone undefeated in five official contests (Aoki was defeated in a special rules exhibition bout at Dynamite!! 2010, getting knocked out in the second round by K-1 striker Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima), having bested the likes of Tatsuya Kawajiri, Marcus Aurelio, Yokthai Sithoar, Lyle Beerbohm and, most recently, Rich Clementi; only one of those bouts, against Aurelio, went the distance. Aoki finished the rest via submission.
The 28-year-old sports a record of 28-5; he has finished eighteen of his fights via submission.
“Razor” Rob McCullough was once and briefly the king of the WEC’s lightweight division. After remaining undefeated for a nearly three-year stretch, the noted Muay Thai stylist defeated fellow striker-first Kit Cope to inherit the vacant WEC lightweight title. After making one successful defense, against Rich Crunkilton, McCullough lost the title to Jamie Varner. Since that defeat, McCullough has gone 4-3, most recently having a two-fight winning streak snapped by Patricky Freire. McCullough met Freire at Bellator 36 this past March in the opening round of the season four lightweight tourney and was defeated via TKO in the third round.
DREAM.17 is expected to take place on September 24 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.