With title-defenses already expected from champs Gilbert Melendez and Nick Diaz, Strikeforce’s upcoming card on April 9 is continuing to take final form with recent news Japanese fighters Shinya Aoki and Hiroyuki Takaya are expected to be dressed for action in San Diego although against who remains a mystery.
Word of their addition was first reported by MMAWeekly where it was also mentioned discussions are ongoing to possibly air preliminary bouts on HDNet and Sky Perfect TV in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Aoki’s last official MMA fight occurred in October and resulted in an opening round submission of Yokthai Sithar. However, the colorful, often polarizing lightweight old suffered a knockout in the Mixed Martial Arts portion of a “special rules” feature against kickboxer Yuichiro Nagashima on New Year’s Eve at Japan’s annual “K-1 Dynamite!!” extravaganza. He holds an overall record of 26-5 including highly respectable wins over Gesias Cavalcante, Joachim Hansen, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Eddie Alvarez. The 27-year old has fought once before under the Strikeforce banner in a one-sided outpointing by Melendez a little more than a year ago.
Unlike Aoki, Takaya will be making his promotional debut on the California card. The 15-8-1 striker is currently riding a three-fight winning streak including a recent unanimous decision victory over Bibiano Fernandes. He has also beaten standouts like Hansen, Yoshiro Maeda, Hideo Tokoro, and Hatsu Hioki over an eight-year career.
PHOTO CREDIT – ESTHER LIN / STRIKEFORCE