Shinya Aoki vs Satoru Kitaoka At DREAM: "Genki Desu Ka"Long-time training partners Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki and Satoru Kitaoka will face off for Aoki’s DREAM Lightweight Championship at DREAM: “Genki Desu Ka” on December 31st in Saitama, Japan. was first to report on the bout earlier this week and the promotion announced it today.

Aoki has posted submission wins in a pair of non-title bouts for DREAM this year and has won six in a row overall. Kitaoka formerly held the Sengoku Lightweight Championship and has won four straight fights since a pair of defeats in late 2009. The fighters have combined for 34 submission wins.

Aoki (29-5-0, 1 NC) is unbeaten in MMA since an April 2010 decision loss to Strikeforce champ Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez, but he was knocked out in embarrassing fashion by Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima in a mixed-rules bout on New Year’s Eve last year. He has fought and won three times this year, with all victories coming via neck crank submission. The reigning DREAM champion is known for his varied arsenal of submission holds, which includes crippling leglocks perfected while training with Nippon Top Team stablemate Kitaoka, whom he now faces next month.

Kitaoka (29-10-9) struggled at times early in his career, but tasted defeat just twice over an 18-fight span from 2005 to mid-2009. Along the way, he totalled notable wins over Carlos Condit, Paul Daley, Kazunori Yokota and former long-time PRIDE ace Takanori Gomi. The quick victory over Gomi earned Kitaoka the Sengoku lightweight strap, but he lost the title to Mizuto Hirota in his first defence. Since then, he has won four of five fights and was victorious in his DREAM debut against Willamy “Chiquerim” Freire at Dream.17 in September.

Aoki and Kitaoka will face off in a bout scheduled for five, five-minute rounds.

DREAM: “Genki Desu Ka” is set for December 31st at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The uniquely-titled event – which translates to “How Are You?” – is named after a popular phrase used by general producer Antonio Inoki and replaces the traditional K-1 “Dynamite!!” New Year’s Eve card.



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