by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
At a press conference today in Yokohama, Japan, Shooto announced a highly anticipated rematch between Shinya Aoki and Akira Kikuchi. The fight will take on place on Shooto’s upcoming February 17th ‘Back To Our Roots’ show. The current 167-pound Shooto Champion Shinya Aoki will be making the first defense of his title since winning it last February. Aoki defeated the Killer Bee fighter to claim the Shooto Middleweight belt and the rematch will take place exactly one year later from their first meeting.
Since defeating Kikuchi, Aoki has defeated his four subsequent opponents, including a very impressive submission victory over Joachim Hansen at Pride Otoko Matsuri 2006. Kikuchi successfully rebounded from his loss with a win over Ronald Juhn at Shooto Champion Carnival. Aoki is currently the #6 MMAWeekly ranked lightweight while Kikuchi is #8 at welterweight.
2/17 Shooto ‘Back To Our Roots’ card so far:
Shooto Middleweight Championship fight:
Shinya Aoki (Paraestra Tokyo) vs. Akira Kikuchi (Killer Bee)
Shooto Welterweight Pacific-Rim Championship fight:
Mizuto Hirota (GUTSMAN Shooto Dojo) vs. Takashi Nakakura (Shooting Gym Osaka)
Shooto Lightweight Pacific-Rim Championship fight:
Tenkei Fujimiya (STG Yokohama) vs. Akitoshi Tamura (Tsudanuma Dojo)
Yusuke Endo (GOKITA GYM) vs. Ganjo Tentsuku (Purebred Omiya)
Koutetsu Boku (Killer bee) vs. Kenichiro Togashi (Paraestra Hiroshima)
Takeshi Inoue (STG Yokohama) vs. Hiroyuki Abe (AACC)