One of Japan’s top MMA promotions, DREAM, has announced current number 1 ranked lightweight Shinya Aoki (19-3) will return to fight March 8th on their DREAM 7 card. Originally slated to return at the April 5th DREAM event, now Aoki will fight on both the March 8th and April 5th cards.
Aoki will be taking part in one of two superfights on the card that also features a Featherweight Grand Prix tournament. His opponent is American fighter David Gardner (16-10) from Detroit, Michigan. Gardner’s last fight was in November were he won a split decision over Kenneth Alexander. Although Gardner is not that well known, he has fought Brian Cobb who made his UFC debut at UFC 95. Gardner lost the fight to Cobb by unanimous decision but he does hold wins over UFC vets Doug Evans and Rich Clementi.
Gardner will most certainly have his hands full as he is fighting one of the slickest ground fighters in the world. Aoki is known for his unique submissions having tapped out Joachim Hansen with a gogoplata, Clay French with a flying triangle, and most recently Eddie Alvarez at the K-1 Dynamite New Year’s Eve show by heel hook.
With Aoki fighting at DREAM 7 in March and again at DREAM 8 in April, one would have to wonder how big a risk this could be. Yes Aoki is clearly the favorite and there is a good chance he will submit Gardner, but there is always risk of injury or maybe even David Gardner coming in with nothing to lose just lets it all hang out and truly shocks the world.
Athough Gardner has beaten solid competition before, this fight is not just against solid competition, it is against arguably the number one ranked fighter lightweight in the world (although BJ Penn may have something to say about that).
Regardless the risk and outcome, fans should be thankful as they will see one of the most entertaining fighters in the game today. The DREAM 7 fight card takes place March 8th at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. While both fighters are considered lightweights this fight is rumored to be at 163lbs.
By: Dusty Adams