It appears Shinya Aoki is one step closer to having a definitive opponent for Dream 17 “Fight for Japan,” as sources tell Sherdog.com that Antonio McKee has signed a contract to face the lightweight ace at the end of May.
Aoki was originally rumored to face UFC veteran Willamy Freire at the event, but visa issues reportedly ruled out the Brazilian as a potential foe. Then McKee was thrown into the mix, but it appeared that the same issues that plagued Freire would also prevent the former MFC champion from competing against Aoki.
As Sherdog.com previously reported, one-time WEC champ Jamie Varner was then brought up and looked to be the most likely candidate to face the Japanese submission specialist, but a source close to the fighter told Sherdog.com that the fight is now off.
Sherdog.com then spoke with a source close to McKee, who asserted that the IFL veteran had signed a contract Thursday to fight Aoki on May 29 at Saitama Super Arena Hall near Tokyo.
Though a source shared that the fighter has signed on the dotted line, he is still in the middle of acquiring a visa that will allow him to fight in Japan.
Dream 17 “Fight for Japan” will feature the opening round of the promotion's eight-man bantamweight grand prix, as well as a pair of quality featherweight contests, as Caol Uno meets Akiyo Nishiura and Mitsuhiro Ishida squares off with Joachim Hansen.