(Video courtesy of YouTube/BellatorMMA)
It looks like Patricky “Pitbull” Freire didn’t get permission from Bellator to face DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki. Instead Bjorn Rebney and Co. are sending “Razor” Rob McCullough over to Japan to face “T?bikan J?dan” in a non-title affair at DREAM 17 September 24 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
DREAM announced the match-up on Friday. MMAJunkie.com was the first site to report the news.
A former WEC lightweight champion, McCullough (19-7) is 2-1 since being released from the Zuffa-owned promotion. His only loss in that time came against Freire in last season’s Bellator lightweight tournament quarterfinal. Prior to the loss he was riding a two-fight winning streak with “Ws” over Isaac DeJesus (9-3) and UFC veteran Corey Hill (4-4). McCullough’s most notable wins were against Josh Thomson and Rich Crunkilton.
Aoki, who last tasted defeat at the hands of Strikeforce lightweight kingpin Gilbert Melendez, will take a five-fight win streak into the DREAM cage with him against McCullough, that includes wins over Tatsuya Kawajiri, Rich Clementi. He also holds wins over Eddie Alvarez, George Sotiropoulos, Joachim Hansen and Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante.
DREAM also announced that Aoki’s original rumored opponent, UFC veteran Willamy “Chiquerim” Freire (18-4) will also fight on the card, opposite ex-Sengoku lightweight champ Satoru Kitaoka (28-10-9).