Shinya Aoki and Kuniyoshi Hironaka are both elite grapplers and Japanese MMA legends but the pair once fought in a BJJ match that ended when Aoki broke Hironaka’s arm with a stunning flying armbar. The match took place at the Reversal Cup all the way back in 2004, in the early days of their respective MMA careers. By that time they were both already elite grapplers and BJJ black belts, but neither of them had reached the heights of fame that their careers have since progressed to.
Aoki only began his professional MMA career in 2003 with a pair of fights in a single-night tournament, and it wasn’t until 2006 that he won his first title as the Shooto Middleweight World Champion. This was also just before he made his debut for PRIDE FC and started his incredible rise to the very top of the Japanese MMA scene. From there, Aoki went on to compete in the DREAM Lightweight grand prix and fall just a single fight short of becoming the inaugural Lightweight world champion when he lost in the final that was a rematch against Joachim Hansen.
He was eventually able to win the rubber match against Hansen and add the DREAM Lightweight title to a collection that, by that time, also included the WAMMA Lightweight title. When DREAM dissolved and the landscape of Asian MMA changed, Aoki moved to ONE Championship and had two separate stints as their Lightweight world champion as well as fighting for the Welterweight title at one point. He’s well known for taking on any challenger across several different weightclasses and has even competed in an exhibition match against Heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko at one point in time.
Kuniyoshi Hironaka is equally well-travelled and has competed for the UFC, DREAM, and Pancrase during a career that started back in 2001. Although he was more experienced than Shinya Aoki when the pair met in a grappling match, he fell victim to Aoki’s patented flying armbar and ended up with a devastating break to his arm. The pair met again in 2005 in an MMA match, but Hironaka was on the losing end once again thanks to a cut that he suffered during the fight. He did however also go on to become a champion during his career, finally capturing the Shooto Lightweight world championship in 2011.
The footage of Shinya Aoki landing the flying armbar against Kuniyoshi Hironaka that resulted in the devastating break to his arm was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of Jiu Jitsu World:
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