Japanese Stars Aoki, Hirata, Okami, Wakamatsu Added To ONE 163 On November 19
Four massive MMA bouts have officially been added to ONE 163 on Saturday, November 19.
It was previously announced that Japanese star Hiroki Akimoto will defend his ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title against Thai striker Petchtanong Petchfergus in the main event.
And on Monday, ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong confirmed a quartet of matchups that will feature more of Japan’s biggest names – Shinya Aoki, Yushin Okami, Itsuki Hirata, and Yuya Wakamatsu.
Japanese legend and #5-ranked lightweight contender Shinya Aoki will take on #4-ranked Saygid Izagakhmaev in a clash between two of the division’s most dominant grapplers.
As a former ONE Lightweight World Champion, “Tobikan Judan” will be the toughest test of Izagakhmaev’s career so far, bringing a fearsome ground game that could combat the Russian’s imposing wrestling and top control.
The Japanese judo and BJJ black belt is one the most potent submission specialists in MMA history, while Izagakhmaev is eyeing divisional king Christian Lee after a pair of decisive victories in his first two promotional appearances.
An impressive win for either man would keep them in the rankings – and the World Title conversation.
Middleweight icons Yushin Okami and Aung La N Sang will finally duke it out after teasing the battle for a long time.
The pair have respectfully called each other out several times in the past, and now, the bout will come to fruition on November 18.
“The Burmese Python” is a former two-division ONE World Champion, while Okami made his name as one of the most successful Japanese exports to North America.
For Aung La N Sang, it’s a chance to get back on track following a tough run of results, although fans know he owns the firepower to defeat any rival at his best.
Meanwhile, “Thunder” got his first ONE win over Agilan Thani last time out, but he’ll be pushed hard against an opponent who’s been much more active inside the Circle.
Itsuki Hirata and Ham Seo Hee will square off in the women’s atomweight division, with a potential shot at ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee on the line.
Hirata bounced back from her first career defeat with a win over Lin Heqin in August, and Sityodtong stated that the popular Japanese athlete would challenge “Unstoppable” if she gets past #2-ranked Ham.
However, the South Korean star will want to book her own shot at Lee by building on her perfect 2-0 ONE record, and she’ll bring her aggressive striking and extensive experience into this matchup with “Android 18.”
Finally, former ONE Flyweight World Title challenger and current #3 contender Yuya Wakamatsu is aiming to bounce back against a fellow heavy hitter in South Korean Woo Sung Hoon.
The Tokyo-based slugger lost to then-divisional king Adriano Moraes in March, ending his five-fight winning streak, but at 27, he’s still got plenty of time to earn another challenge.
On the other side, Woo had a successful ONE debut when he stopped Yodkaikaew Fairtex in February, but he dropped a decision to Windson Ramos in his last contest.
“Dynamic” knows that a win over Wakamatsu would propel him into the flyweight division’s upper echelon, but not many can go toe-to-toe with “Little Piranha” and emerge with their hand raised.
For more updates on the ONE 163: Akimoto vs. Petchtanong card, stay tuned to onefc.com.