According to a report from MMAWeekly, Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki will face off against Willamy Freire at Dream 17 “Fight for Japan.” The card takes place May 29 at the Saitama Super Arena Hall in Saitama, Japan.
*Sherdog has reported that Freire will not be able to compete, because his passport has expired and he will not have enough time to get a new one.
It unknown at this time if the bout will be for Aoki’s Dream title. A title fight seems unlikely considering Freire is coming off a loss.
It took Aoki less than two minutes to even his Strikeforce record at 1-1. After dropping a title fight to Gilbert Melendez in 2010, the “Tobikan Judan” returned to the promotion earlier this month and submitted Lyle Beerbohm. The victory extended his current MMA winning streak to four fights. However, Aoki was knocked out by Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima in a mixed Dream/K-1 rules bout on New Year’s Eve.
Freire defeated Kenichiro Togashi at Vale Tudo Japan 2009 to claim the Shooto World Welterweight title. He successfully defended the title with a split-decision victory over Yusuke Endo in 2010, but immediately relinquished the belt to fight in the UFC.
“Chiquerim” made his UFC debut last January and dropped a decision to Waylon Lowe. Zuffa promptly released him from his contract.
Dream 17 will host the first and semifinal rounds of the Japan Bantamweight Tournament. The top-three finishers will advance to the World Bantamweight Tournament later this year.
*Updated at 9 p.m. ET to reflect Freire’s passport situation.