lightweight champion Shinya Aoki
will square off with Antonio
McKee in a non-title affair at Dream
18, promotion officials announced Friday.
The Dec. 31 event takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in
Saitama, Japan, and also features a middleweight showdown between
former Cage Rage light heavyweight king Melvin
Manhoef and UFC veteran Denis Kang.
Promoted by Glory World Series parent company Glory Sports
International, the event will also showcase a single-night, 16-man
heavyweight kickboxing tournament, as well as a 139-pound
catch-weight contest pitting Dream bantamweight king Bibiano
Fernandes against Deep champion Yoshiro
Aoki and McKee were previously expected to square off at Dream
“Fight for Japan” back in May, but that booking was eventually
scrapped. Instead, Aoki faced Rich
Clementi at the event, submitting the UFC veteran with a
second-round neck crank. Though “Tobikan Judan” would kick off 2012
with a knockout loss to former Bellator champion Eddie
Alvarez, Aoki rebounded with a win in his most recent outing,
forcing French talent Arnaud
Lepont to take a nap courtesy of a vise-like triangle choke at
One FC 6.
McKee, meanwhile, has not competed since this past March,
undergoing knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus after picking up
a win under California’s Extreme Fighters World Championships
banner. Known for his wrestling and judo skills, McKee has lost
just once in the last nine years, falling via split decision to
Volkmann last year at UFC 125.