Shinya Aoki managed to beat one of the top ONE Championship bantamweight fighters, John Lineker, on less than one day’s notice at ONE 165 on January 28th, 2024. It was one of the most bizarre turn of events to come from a major MMA promotion, as Aoki not only lost his opponent but also gained a new one in incredibly short time. He was originally scheduled to fight against Sage Northcutt at the event, but two of Northcutt’s cornermen reportedly experienced visa issues and could not make it to the fight. He did later explain that the promotion offered him replacement cornermen but he did not feel comfortable taking the fight on that basis.
With Sage Northcutt out and barely any time left before the fight was due to happen at ONE 165, it left both Shinya Aoki and ONE Championship in a very difficult situation. Somehow the promotion managed to convince UFC veteran and former ONE bantamweight champion John Lineker to face Aoki in an openweight fight. Aoki accepted the fight and showed exactly why he’s such a legendary figure in Japanese MMA. He got to mount against Lineker and rained down light punches that forced him to turn, before using that to take his back and sink in the rear-naked choke. Lineker tried to stand to escape but Aoki simply held on and managed to finish the choke in a standing position regardless.
It was a great night for elite grappling action all around really, as Garry Tonon also put on an impressive display earlier on in the main card. He also won his fight by rear-naked choke in the very first round, and he earned a huge $50,000 bonus for his efforts. Even after both of these fights, there was still the matter of the lightweight submission grappling title-fight between Kade Ruotolo and Tommy Langaker. It was a great match with plenty of action and although he couldn’t find the finish inside the ten minutes that he had with Langaker, Ruotolo was able to get a convincing decision win.
ONE 165 Full Results
Superlek Kiatmuu9 defeats Takeru Segawa via Decision – Unanimous (Round 5, 3:00)
Kiatmuu9 retains the ONE Championship flyweight kickboxing title
Ruotolo retains the ONE Championship lightweight submission grappling title
Shinya Aoki defeats John Lineker via Submission – Rear-naked Choke (Round 1, 3:00)
Nieky Holzken defeats Yoshihiro Akiyama via TKO – Punches (Round 1, 1:40)
Marat Grigorian defeats Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong via KO – Knee and Punch to the body (Round 3, 1:20)
Garry Tonon defeats Martin Nguyen via Submission – Rear-naked Choke (Round 1, 4:41)
Ayaka Miura defeats Itsuki Hirata via Decision – Unanimous (Round 3, 5:00)
Yuya Wakamatsu defeats Danny Kingad via Decision – Unanimous (Round 3, 5:00)
Rade Opacic defeats Iraj Azizpour via Decision – Unanimous (Round 3, 3:00)
Bokang Masunyane defeats Keito Yamakita via Decision – Unanimous (Round 3, 5:00)
Gustavo Balart defeats Hiroba Minowa via Decision – Split (Round 3, 5:00)
The full ONE 165 live event replay, including Shinya Aoki submitting John Lineker in the first round of their fight, is available to watch as a PPV here.