ONE FC has started off announcing the card for “Kings and Champions” at the top – Kotetsu Boku‘s first Lightweight title defense will be against Japan’s cream of the crop, Shinya Aoki. At ONE FC 6, Boku was a surprise title contender for the inaugural Lightweight Championship belt against the highly touted Zorobabel Moreira. Zoro came in with a huge reach advantage and looked to use his ever-improving MMA game in a stand-up battle against the natural LW “No Face”. Boku took the punishment handed out, kept to his boxing strength and pulled off a stunning upset with a knock down that was like felling a redwood.
Aoki recently felled his own foe by way of TKO – actually verbal submission – in DREAM 18 against Antonio McKee, who took a punch to the eye and signaled it was over. Ironically the same fate befouled Eric Kelly in his Featherweight title match up with Honorio Banario at ONE FC 7, that quick left hook sealing Banario’s triumph when Kelly sat on the canvas covering his eye. All these recent big wins coming by way of punches adds another dimension to the Championship fights at ONE FC. Boku versus Aoki will be like watching a back and forth Wimbledon match, waiting to see which fighter closes the distance first to seal the deal, and with what.
Also announced for the card by both fighters will be Evolve MMA’s proclaimed prodigy Eddie Ng returning from rehab to face Arnaud Lepont, “le roi” of Muayfit Malaysia. It will be a clash of styles not from a technique standpoint, but from an approach to the whole game: whether or not Lepont’s heart and come-from-behind sprint to the finish can best Ng’s impressively executed game plan in the cage.
On Sherdog, the two Bantamweight Tournament semifinal matches have been posted. In the first, it will be Jens Pulver taking on Masakatsu Ueda. Pulver has become a darling of ONE FC fans, and has proven he’s still a powerful punching contender in the cage. Ueda, on the other hand, is a rocket who’s only been stopped twice in his entire career, and will know not to stand in front of Pulver’s pulverizing.
The second semifinal will be Kevin Belingon versus Thanh Vu. Belingon’s recent fight history reads like a soap opera. Undefeated, he took the challenge against Masakazu Imanari and predictably got leg locked. Then he was Kim SooChul‘s stepping stone on the way to the Bantamweight Championship. Belingon got back on track with a huge win over international journeyman Yusup Saadulaev, and this set him on the track back to title contention. He’ll face relative newcomer Thanh Vu who defeated a 48-hour stand in at ONE FC 7, which wasn’t much of a showcase of the skills he possesses to land him in the tournament.
Two of the non-tournament bantamweights ONE FC has in the stacked division are still ranked and said to face each other. The aforementioned Saadulaev and former title challenger Leandro Issa will most likely put on an entertaining match that pits the suplex submitter in Saadulaev against the incredibly technical and speedy jiujitsu of Issa. Full card and press release below.
Fight card (from Sherdog)
KOTETSU BOKU (20-7-2) versus SHINYA AOKI (32-6-0)
Eddie Ng (5-1) vs Arnaud Lepont (9-2)
Leandro Issa (10-3) vs Yusup Saadulaev (9-2-1)
Bantamweight Tournament Semifinal Match 1
Jens Pulver (27-17-1) vs Masakatsu Ueda (16-2-2)
Bantamweight Tournament Semifinal Match 2
Kevin Belingon (10-2) vs Thanh Vu (3-1)
ONE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP™ ON 5 APRIL 2013 IN SINGAPORE TO BE HEADLINED BY A LIGHTWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE FIGHT
KOTETSU BOKU TO DEFEND TITLE BELT AGAINST SHINYA AOKI
AT ONE FC: KINGS & CHAMPIONS
CATCH ALL THE ACTION LIVE ON STAR SPORTS IN ASIA AND ON PAY-PER-VIEW AT WWW.ONEFC.LIVESPORT.TV AROUND THE WORLD
TICKETS ON SALE NOW AT WWW.SISTIC.COM.SG
XX February 2013 – Singapore: ONE FC Lightweight World Champion Kotetsu “No Face” Boku makes his first ever title defense against current number one contender and one of the greatest submission grapplers the sport of MMA has ever seen, Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, on Friday, 5 April 2013, when ONE Fighting Championship™ (ONE FC) returns to the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Kotetsu Boku defeated Brazilian contender Zorobabel Moreira at ONE FC: RISE OF KINGS in October 2012 to earn the inaugural ONE FC Lightweight World Championship title belt while Aoki earned his shot at the title following a devastating submission victory over Arnaud Lepont.
ONE FC: KINGS & CHAMPIONS will be broadcast live on STAR SPORTS across Asia. This historic moment will mark the first time ever a live Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event will be broadcast on the network. ONE FC: KINGS & CHAMPIONS will be available in 28 countries to an estimated 500 million viewers.
Fans from around the world can also witness the action online via livestreaming at www.onefc.livesport.tv. The undercard fights are available for viewing free-of-charge and the main card fights will be available for purchase at just US$9.99.
Tickets for ONE FC: KINGS & CHAMPIONS are now on sale at SISTIC (www. SISTIC.com.sg). Tickets categories begin with the full Red Carpet and cage-side experience for VIPs at $S348 followed by Arena – $S148, Terrace – $S68 and Balcony – $S38. All applicable service charges apply.
CEO of ONE Fighting Championship™ Victor Cui stated, “ONE FC will make history again on 5 April when we go live on STAR SPORTS for the first time across 28 countries to an estimated 500 million viewers. This is a huge step in the progress of ONE FC and is a testament to our ever-increasing following all across Asia. This event will be the biggest in ONE FC history and features the top names in MMA, headlined by a Lightweight World Championship showdown between submission ace Shinya Aoki and our reigning world champion Kotetsu Boku. Close to 12,000 fans will pack out the Singapore Indoor Stadium to witness the greatest sporting spectacle in Asia. Don’t miss it!”
ONE FC Lightweight King Kotetsu Boku is no stranger to adversity. He is a tenacious competitor who has never backed down from a tough fight. Boku ignited the crowd at the sold-out Singapore Indoor Stadium at on 6 October 2012 with a massive come-from-behind victory over Zorobabel Moreira at 0:31 seconds of round 3, earning him the first ever ONE FC Lightweight World Championship title. With six wins in his last seven fights, Boku is enjoying one of the most successful spells of his career. There is no doubt that the fight on 5 April will be his toughest test to date when he squares off against Shinya Aoki.
Shinya Aoki is the DREAM Lightweight Champion and has beaten MMA legends like Tatsuya Kawajiri, Marcus Aurelio and Rich Clementi. He holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo which has earned him a reputation as one of the most dangerous submission artists the sport of MMA has ever seen. His last outing with ONE FC saw him put Arnaud Lepont “to sleep” by triangle choke in front of his adopted home of Singapore, earning him the opportunity to fight for the ONE FC Lightweight Title. The famed “Grandmaster of Flying Submissions” is looking forward to showcasing his legendary skills once again to his fans when he enters the ONE FC cage at ONE FC: KINGS & CHAMPIONS.
For more updates on ONE Fighting Championship™, please visit www.onefc.com and follow on Twitter @ONEFCMMA and Facebook at www.facebook.com/ONEFCMMA.
About ONE Fighting Championship™
Headquartered in Singapore, ONE Fighting Championship™ (http://www.onefc.com) is Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organization. ONE Fighting Championship™ hosts the best Asian mixed martial artists and world champions on the largest media broadcast in Asia. ONE Fighting Championship™ has partnered with STAR Sports, the number one leader in sports content, for an unprecedented 10-year cable television deal with a coverage that spans across 28 countries in Asia.