Japanese submission wizard Shinya Aoki will defend his One FC Lightweight title for the first time as he faces WEC and UFC vet Kamal Shalorus as part of the triple header at One FC 19 – Reign of Champions on August 29 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The former Shooto Welterweight champion and DREAM Lightweight king, Aoki has long been considered as the most dangerous grappler in Asian MMA today. He has an incredible 35-6-1 pro MMA record with most of his victories is coming off perfectly executed submission holds. He has faced and beaten some of the toughest dudes in the business and established himself as one of the greatest MMA fighters to ever come out of Asia.
Aoki currently trains at Evolve MMA in Singapore, honing his striking skills with some of the planet’s most dangerous muay thai champions of our era.
Aoki made his One FC debut two years ago at One FC 6 against the French slugger Arnaud Lepont. He made quick work of Lepont, making him tap in less than two minutes of the very first round.
After an imposing One FC debut, Aoki challenged his fellow Japanese fighter Kotetsu Boku for his Lightweight title at One FC 8.
The story of that night against Boku was all about Aoki’s world-class grappling as he bullied the champion from the opening round until he finished him in the second by way of a rear naked choke thus becoming the new Lightweight Champion of One FC.
On October 13, 2013, Aoki dropped down to the featherweight division to face Cody Stevens. He wanted to prove that he can be a champion at two different weight classes in the future.
Though everyone failed to see a stoppage from Aoki, he still displayed an impressive performance in his 145 pound debut against the American fighter and won by way of unanimous decision. It was evident that Aoki looked less powerful against Stevens; maybe the main reason was the weight cut, but all in all, he did prove that he can also be a legit threat in the featherweight division.
This will be Aoki’s first fight in eight months after submitting Toshikatsu Harada last December of 2013 in just 49 seconds at IGF – Bom-Ba-Ye 2013 and it won’t be an easy one as he will face a guy who is very powerful in the clinch and has a solid wrestling pedigree: Kamal Shalorus.
Shalorus is a powerful wrestler with a knockout blow in both of his fists. Unlike other wrestlers who transitioned to MMA, Shalorus’ style of fighting isn’t a mind-numbing one. He likes to mix things up with his much improved striking and his commanding grappling skills.
One FC witnessed the resurgence of Shalorus’ career. Before he made his One FC debut last May of 2013, Shalorus struggled to get a win in the UFC as he went 0-3 against some of the top ranked lightweight fighters in the world today.
Just when everyone thought he was done, Shalorus proved his doubters wrong whe he defeated top Filipino lightweight prospect, Eduard Folayang, at One FC 9 in the Philippines.
Shalorus went on to face Costa Rica’s submission ace Ariel Sexton last March and has proven that he still got it in him as he cemented his second straight win by way of a unanimous decision.
This fight is a battle of two grapplers who have different goals come fight night; it is crystal clear that Shalorus wants the respect he has lost over the years and dethroning Aoki is definitely going to do it , while Aoki wants to validate himself as the greatest lightweight in Asia.
Both fighters are well-versed on the ground and possess good cardio. Aoki will surely look to take the fight down but expect Shalorus to try to stuff those attempts. Shalorus’ advantage would be his punching power, while Aoki his ground skills – way better ground skills – but you can’t count Shalorus out. I think he’s the hungrier fighter in this match up. This is bout is a going to be a very technical one but won’t go the distance.