Shinya Aoki returns to the Strikeforce cage on April 9. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The men with the fanciest pants in MMA are set to swap swatches on April 9, as Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki and once-beaten prospect Lyle Beerbohm have agreed to meet at Strikeforce “Diaz vs. Daley.”
The bout will be part of the Showtime-televised main card of the event, which takes place at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego.
Sherdog.com has confirmed with a source close to the fight that bout agreements are in place. News of the matchup was first reported by MMA-Japan.com on Monday.
Aoki will return to the American promotion’s cage for the first time since a lopsided, five-round decision loss to Strikeforce 155-pound champ Gilbert Melendez in April 2010. The 27-year-old “Tobikan Judan” has not lost an MMA bout since, defending his Dream strap with an impressive first-round submission of Tatsuya Kawajiri last July, and subsequently besting Brazilian vet Marcus Aurelio and Thai boxing convert Yokthai Sithoar.
Despite his MMA success, Aoki’s last trip inside the ring ended disastrously. In a mixed rules bout with cosplaying kickboxer Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima on New Year’s Eve, Aoki was knocked cold by a knee just four ticks into the MMA portion of the fight, after fleeing from Nagashima for the duration of the striking-only first stanza.
Beerbohm, 32, will look to rebound from the first loss of his career. The Spokane, Wash., native was nearly submitted and ultimately outpointed by tough veteran Pat Healy on Feb. 18 in the main event of Strikeforce Challengers 14.
Prior to the defeat, “Fancy Pants” had won 15 straight professional contests, 13 of those by way of stoppage. Wins over Duane Ludwig, Rafaello Oliveira and Vitor Ribeiro anchor Beerbohm’s resume.