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Shinya Aoki to move up to welterweight

Shinya Aoki, widely considered to be the number two lightweight in the world, will move up to welterweight to participate in the 2009 DREAM Welterweight Grand Prix.

Aoki (19-3) was crowned the WAMMA lightweight champion on New Year's Eve with a 92-second submission win over Eddie Alvarez.

Two other participants for the tournament are Hayato "Mach" Sakurai, who once challenged for the UFC welterweight title against Matt Hughes, and the winner between Hidetaka Monma vs. Seichi Ikemoto at DEEP 40 on Feb. 20.

The DREAM welterweight tournament kicks off at DREAM 8 on April 5 and will be televised live in the US on HDNet.

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