The 20-year-old from Singapore has moved up a weight class to face a legend of mixed martial arts who is a four-time ONE Lightweight World Champion and has twice as many submission wins as he has had professional bouts.
However, as friends and Evolve teammates, Aoki and Lee have shared the mats for sparring sessions many times, and “The Warrior” believes he knows how he can gain the edge on his opponent on Friday, 17 May.
These could be the keys to victory when they face off at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
#1 Aoki – Keep It Tight
There's only one reason why Japan's most decorated martial artist, Shinya Aoki, keeps grinding EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!Singapore | 17 May | 5:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, May 11, 2019
“Tobikan Judan” is a grappling specialist, and every opponent he comes up against knows what his plan is. However, that does not mean they can stop it, no matter how much they prepare.
The 36-year-old judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt will attempt to close the distance, push his rival to the fence, and then stick to them like glue until he can drag them to the canvas.
Aoki’s chain offense allows him to have a high success rate when he goes for takedowns once he has forced his way into the clinch. There is no single effective defense because he moves effortlessly between attacks on different levels. If he cannot bring the bout to the mat using control of the upper-body or trips, he can go low and attack with single-leg or double-leg attempts.
#2 Lee – Diversity Is Key
Christian Lee channels his inner Bruce Lee!Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, April 19, 2019
“The Warrior” is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but, where Aoki is a grappling specialist, the Singaporean is part of the new generation of mixed martial arts athletes that grew up cross-training in every area.
Because of that, he is more of an all-rounder and has the striking skills to trouble “Tobikan Judan” if the contest stays standing.
Lee has a long reach and uses it well to maintain distance. He likes to use lead leg side kicks to the knee which can make an opponent think twice about advancing into his range, and he also makes use of feints and jabs that could make Aoki more hesitant to advance.
If Lee can keep his rival away for long enough, he will open up more opportunities to land his punches, which pack enough power to send opponents to the canvas.
#3 Aoki – All Roads Lead To Chokes
Will Shinya Aoki add another highlight-reel finish to his resume this Friday?Singapore | 17 May | 5:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, May 12, 2019
Once Aoki has secured top position, he is notoriously hard to shake off, and the more his rivals try, the further they sink into the quicksand. He stays tight to keep control, and uses leg rides and guard passes to maintain his positional dominance and set up his submissions.
With a rival’s legs pinned, Aoki can control them for ground strikes and then move to take the back when they try to stand up against the cage. Once in that position, he is clinical – his rear-naked choke is never far away.
If “Tobikan Judan” can flatten his foe with shoulder pressure, their only option is frame-up with their arms to create space. However, the grappling grandmaster is adept at exploiting that defensive maneuver to set up the arm-triangle choke, as Ev “E.T.” Ting and Eduard “Landslide” Folayang have found out in back-to-back contests.
#4 Lee – All-Out Offense
Christian Lee goes for ONE lightweight gold this Friday! ????Singapore | 17 May | 5:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, May 12, 2019
Thanks to his familiarity with the intricacies of “Tobikan Judan’s” ground game, as well as his own BJJ acumen, Lee could be more inclined than most to test Aoki in the grappling exchanges.
Aoki’s opponents usually try to maintain their distance at all costs, so he may be surprised if Lee comes forward to initiate a takedown. He is particularly effective when he shoots a double-leg takedown behind a flurry of punches, which will also help him avoid upper body tie-ups with the Tokyo native.
If he can secure top position, “The Warrior” is still unlikely to pass Aoki’s guard to submit him – nobody has managed that feat in 52 professional mixed martial arts contests – but his ground and pound is punishing.
The 20-year-old challenger has shown how dominant he can be with first-round TKOs in his last two matches against Kazuki Tokudome and Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly, who could not handle the pressure once he let rip with punches and elbows.