Shinya Aoki is back in fine form despite being 37 years old as he just won his fifty-seventh professional MMA fight at ONE on TNT 4 with a stunning first round submission. Originally, Aoki was scheduled to face Sage Northcutt at the event before the young fighter was forced to withdraw from the fight due to the lingering effects of a Coronavirus infection. As a result, Aoki was given the chance to put his rivalry with Eduard Folayang to bed instead as the pair of fighters previously shared a win over each other.
Back in 2016, Folayang ended Aoki’s 9-fight win-streak and his reign as ONE FC Lightweight World Champion with a TKO in the third-round. After moving up in weight to challenge Ben Askren for the Welterweight title unsuccessfully, Aoki then rattled off three first-round finishes in his original division to earn a rematch. The second fight between the pair didn’t go as well for Folayang as Aoki submitted him in the first round to regain a title he would quickly lose again to one of the ever-growing Lee dynasty, Christian.
Now, after reaching the incredible milestone of thirty submission victories in professional MMA earlier this year, Aoki is one again at the forefront of title contention for the promotion. In the post-fight interview, Shinya Aoki referenced the ONE on TNT 4 match being the conclusion to the trilogy between him and Folayang, and then announced the two men he’d like to compete against next: “Five years ago, I lost to Eduard Folayang. Today, I got the win. If I have the chance, I would like to have [a fight] with him again… I would like to fight two fighters, one is Sage Northcutt. Another is Yoshihiro Akiyama. What are you doing now? I would like to fight Akiyama one day.”
Footage of the finish comes courtesy of the official Twitter account of ONE FC: