(Shinya Aoki: Always prepared for a chilly afternoon.)
Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki were supposed to have their showdown in the finals of DREAM’s lightweight GP in July — instead, Alvarez was declared unfit to advance after getting his right eye messed up during his thrilling quarterfinal bomb-fest against Tatsuya Kawajiri, which allowed alternate Joachim Hansen to step in and whip the already-exhausted Aoki. Now the two top-five fighters may finally get a chance to test themselves against each other, as a fight between Alvarez and Aoki is in the works for "Fields Dynamite!! 2008" on New Year’s Eve.
Cross your fingers that it actually comes together. Simply put, Aoki vs. Alvarez would be the most important lightweight fight you’d find outside of the UFC, as well as one of the best grappler vs. striker showcases in any weight class, in any organization. Though Alvarez hasn’t competed since the DREAM tournament, Aoki snuck in a quick submission victory over Todd Moore at DREAM 6 in September; his loss to Hansen snapped a three-year-long undefeated streak that saw him go 12-0 with one no-contest.
Hansen is slated to appear in a headlining bout at Dynamite!! against JZ Calvancante, alongside bouts between Kazushi Sakuraba and Kiyoshi Tamura, and Mousasi vs. Musashi. According to MMA Weekly, other rumored participants include Tatsuya Kawajiri, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Masakazu Imanari, Nick Diaz, Hayato Sakurai, and Ikuhisa Minowa.