Japanese icon Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki (41-8, 1 NC) is one of the most feared and respected figures in mixed martial arts.
After racking up 50 professional bouts, he is showing no signs of slowing down. If anything, he is ready to speed things up.
The former ONE Lightweight World Champion has been working his way back to the belt, and he can secure a title shot if he were to defeat Malaysian contender Ev Ting (15-4) at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES, which takes place in Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday, 6 October.
Ahead of this massive showdown at the Impact Arena, take a look back at the 35-year-old’s amazing year inside the ONE Championship cage so far.
A Stunning Submission Victory
Shinya Aoki picks up an emotional rear naked choke victory in what was a masterpiece grappling affair!TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | PPV: Official Livestream at oneppv.com
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, January 20, 2018
The Japanese warrior is known for his relentless grappling style.
He has black belts in judo and jiu-jitsu, and he showcased just how dynamic his skills are in a Grappling Super-Match against former ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov at ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE in January.
Gafurov’s rise to prominence was largely due to his prodigious submission capabilities, but against Aoki, he had no answer to the Japanese mat wizard’s world-class ground game.
“Cobra” started aggressively and looked to secure his go-to submission technique – the rear-naked choke – early in the contest, but Aoki had the Dagestani well scouted, and he was able to fend off his rival’s attacks.
After using constant pressure to tire Gafurov, “Tobikan Judan” saw his opportunity. With four minutes remaining in the 15-minute, one-round contest, he transitioned to his opponent’s back and locked up a rear-naked choke of his own to claim victory.
It was a masterful display that showed the Japanese star is still among the world’s very best on the mat.
A Dynamic Return To The Lightweight Division
Submission magic from Shinya Aoki!Bangkok | 6 October | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneheroes18
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, September 9, 2018
After losing his ONE Lightweight World Title in November 2016, Aoki dabbled with other challenges, including a Grappling Super-Match against Garry Tonon and a World Title bout at welterweight.
However, when he returned to his natural weight class following his victory over Gafurov, he committed to a second run toward the lightweight belt.
The Japanese combatant’s grappling attack was a sight to behold, as he launched into a flying armbar attempt that brought his rival to the mat, and then transitioned to an omoplata.
Once he effortlessly moved to the mount position, “Tobikan Judan” locked up a mounted triangle choke, rolled to his back, grabbed the Russian’s arm, and forced the tap in a performance that demonstrated his total dominance on the ground.
A Quick And Massive TKO
Shinya Aoki showcased supreme grappling skills en route to a TKO win at 2:16 of Round 1! TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, July 27, 2018
Aoki’s return to form at lightweight instantly thrust him back into the mix at the top of the division, and his next bout saw him face another dangerous threat in the form of Thai striking sensation Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS in July.
The match-up looked set to deliver a fascinating grappler versus striker contest, but the Japanese legend barely took a punch in a near-flawless performance.
“Tobikan Judan” closed the distance early, and after a period of clinch work against the cage, he dragged Wiratchai to the canvas. At that point, it seemed clear Aoki would use his submission skills to finish the contest.
However, instead of pursuing a submission, the grappling ace turned to his strikes. He transitioned to mount, where he unloaded a barrage of punches and elbows.
That forced the referee to step in and stop the bout, giving the icon one of the most dominant victories of his career. Now, he looks to maintain his momentum and defeat “E.T” in Bangkok.