Three Fights Now Official For DREAM.17 In SeptemberThree bouts have now been officially confirmed for the upcoming DREAM.17 event on September 24th in Saitama, Japan. DREAM Lightweight Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki will face former WEC champion “Razor” Rob McCullough in one of the featured matchups announced for the card.

Also confirmed for the event today was a lightweight bout between former Sengoku ace Satoru Kitaoka and ex-Shooto champion Willamy “Chiquerim” Freire. The fights join a previously announced matchup between Caol “Uno Shoten” Uno and “Lion” Takeshi Inoue, which was booked earlier this week.

Aoki (28-5-0, 1 NC) has won back-to-back fights in 2011 by way of neck crank submission, and five straight overall. The shock of his embarrassing knockout loss to Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima in a mixed-rules bout on New Year’s Eve has faded, but Aoki’s options remain relatively limited in bouts in Japan. He will face his third straight American opponent of the year after dispatching of Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm and Rich “No Love” Clementi. Aoki’s DREAM belt is not expected to be on the line in September.

McCullough (19-7-0) has struggled in recent years since losing his WEC Lightweight Championship to Jamie Varner in early 2008. The once-feared ruler of the 155-pound ranks in the WEC is 4-3 since his loss to Varner and has even encountered difficulties in some of his recent wins. McCullough made his Bellator Fighting Championships debut in March against Patricky “Pitbull” Freire and fared well until he was stopped by punches in the third round. As he looks to get back on the winning track, the heavy-handed McCullough will make his DREAM debut against Aoki.


Kitaoka (28-10-9) brings a three-fight winning streak into the bout with Freire (19-4-0), whose 11-fight winning streak was recently snapped in his one and only appearance in the UFC. Kitaoka’s leglocks are among the best in the sport, but he suffered a pair of knockout losses in Sengoku in 2009. He holds 15 submission wins to date, while Freire has stopped 13 of his career opponents. Both fighters will make their DREAM debuts on the September card.

Rumoured to be on the verge of retirement following an 0-4-1 streak, Uno (26-14-5) ended speculation for the time being with a big victory over “Wicky” Akiyo Nishiura in May. The Japanese veteran remains one of the more popular fighters in DREAM, but he will face a tough test in Inoue (20-5-0), who has won back-to-back fights by knockout this year after a 1-2 stint in 2010. Inoue has finished 13 opponents to date, but Uno will bring a significant experience edge into the fight.

DREAM.17 takes place on September 24th at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.



(Photo Credit:

  1. Aoki by L.A.P.D sub.