Shinya Aoki will face former WEC champion “Razor” Rob McCullough at Dream 17. | Photo: Taro Irei
The nascent Dream 17 lineup received two more building blocks on Friday, as promotion officials announced that lightweight champion Shinya Aoki will face former WEC king “Razor” Rob McCullough and onetime Sengoku Raiden Championship titleholder Satoru Kitaoka will locks horns with ex-Shooto champion Willamy Freire.
Three fights are now official for the Sept. 24 event, which will emanate from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. In addition to the recently ratified pair of lightweight confrontations, a previously announced featherweight scrap will also go down at the show, as veterans Caol Uno and “Lion” Takeshi Inoue toe the line.
As recently announced by Dream Event Producer Keiichi Sasahara, Dream 17 will mark the promotion’s transition to three five-minute rounds, as opposed to the traditional 10-minute opening stanza followed by a single five-minute period.
The Sept. 24 event comes on the heels of Dream’s “Fight for Japan” shows, which crowned a Japanese bantamweight tournament winner earlier this month. Dream 17 will feature the start of the promotion’s world grand prix, which will serve to find the promotion's inaugural world bantamweight champion.
By virtue of their showings in the “Fight for Japan” draw, three Japanese combatants have been announced for the world grand prix: Kenji Osawa, Masakazu Imanari and bantamweight tournament winner Hideo Tokoro. Additionally, Sasahara confirmed earlier this week that former Dream featherweight champion Bibiano Fernandes will also participate. The remaining four tournament competitors have not yet been announced for the event, nor have any bracket pairings.