A featherweight showdown between Tatsuya
Kawajiri and Michihiro
Omigawa will take place at Dream 18,
promotion officials recently announced.
The bout takes place Dec. 31 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama,
Japan, and is headlined by a non-title affair pitting Dream
lightweight king Shinya Aoki
against onetime UFC veteran Antonio
McKee. The New Year’s Eve card will also see Tachi Palace
Fights featherweight pacesetter Georgi
Karakhanyan face Dream champ Hiroyuki
Takaya, while UFC and Pride veterans Phil Baroni
Sakurai lock horns at welterweight.
Once regarded as one of the world’s best lightweight, Kawajiri made
the cut to featherweight in 2011 following failed title bids
against Aoki and Strikeforce ruler Gilbert
Melendez. “Crusher” has since gone undefeated, earning a trio
of submission victories in his last three fights. The 34-year-old
closed out last year with victories in the Dream ring over Joachim
Hansen and Kazuyuki
Miyata and followed those performances with a win over King of
the Cage titlist Donald
Sanchez this past March at One FC 3.
Omigawa, 36, has lost four of his last five and recently received
his UFC release following back-to-back losses to Iuri
Alcantara and Manny
Gamburyan. Following an ill-fated two-fight stint as a UFC
lightweight from 2007 to 2008, “Michi” rejoined the Las Vegas-based
promotion last year after earning eight wins in nine fights outside
the organization as a featherweight. The Japanese talent dropped
consecutive bouts to begin his UFC career before picking up his
lone Octagon win in his third appearance, outpointing Jason Young
at UFC 138 last year.