Aoki vs. Aurelio, Two Additional Fights Official For DREAM 16
By MATT BOONE
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer
lightweight pride of Japan, Shinya Aoki, will be in action on September 25th for his next fight. Unfortunately for Aoki, the man standing across from him at the Nippon Gaishi Hall on 9/25 will not be Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. Despite Aoki's attempts to lure Melendez into a rematch
on the same date, Aoki will find himself competing against the man who derailed the last great Japanese-hope -- Takanori Gomi -- as he battles Marcus "Maximus" Aurelio at DREAM 16 in Japan.
DREAM officials confirmed the Aoki-Aurelio bout earlier this week, in what will be Aoki's second fight after losing in his North American MMA debut at Strikeforce: Nashville
this past April. Aoki (24-5) last stepped into the ring at DREAM 15
on July 10th, defeating highly-regarded Tatsuya Kawajiri by submission in a fight that didn't reach the two-minute mark before Aoki injured Kawajiri's leg
with a vicious achilles lock.
Aurelio (20-8) last saw ring-action at the Fight Festival 27 event, submitting the unheralded Niko Puhakka (an 18-10 MMA fighter) with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their March 13th fight. Prior to the FF 27 match, Aurelio's last appearance on a big-stage saw the Brazilian drop a split decision to Evan Dunham at UFC 102 in August of 2009. The split-decision loss isn't the worst blemish now that Dunham is a legitimate contender in the UFC's transitioning lightweight division. Unfortunately it was still the third-straight loss for Aurelio in the UFC, which leads to his return to Japan, the place he made his name with high-profile PRIDE Bushido victories.