Sherdog.com has learned that a clash between Bellator and Dream's respective lightweight champions Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki is being targeted for early 2012 in the Bellator Fighting Championships cage.
Bout agreements have been distributed, and both fighters are expected to sign shortly. Sherdog.com confirmed the news with sources close to the situation on Wednesday.
Though both men are reigning champions in opposite organizations, neither title will be up for grabs if and when they clash.
Alvarez and Aoki met on New Year's Eve 2008. The Japanese submission specialist ended the American's night early, slapping on a tight heel hook and forcing Alvarez to submit in just 92 seconds.
Since that defeat, Alvarez has yet to lose, rattling off seven straight victories in Bellator and Dream. The Philadelphia Fight Factory export won Bellator's lightweight title in 2009, running through the promotion's inaugural 155-pound tournament to capture the championship.
Alvarez has defended his title successfully once thus far, earning a hard-fought unanimous decision over Pat Curran this past April. Up next for the champion is another title defense this fall, as Alvarez will put his strap on the line against Season 4 tournament winner Michael Chandler at Bellator 54 on Oct. 15.
Aoki has won eight of his last nine fights, including five straight victories. The 28-year-old most recently submitted former UFC talent Rich Clementi, battering the American at Dream “Fight for Japan” on May 29 en route to a second-round finish via neck crank.
As Dream's lightweight champion, Aoki is no stranger to crossing the sea and fighting on American soil. “Tobikan Judan” has competed in Strikeforce twice in the last two years with mixed results.
Aoki is currently scheduled to meet former WEC champion Rob McCullough at Dream 17 on Sept. 24.