Japanese legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki will finally have his chance to reclaim his lost crown as he is scheduled to challenge Eduard “Landslide” Folayang for the ONE Lightweight World Championship in a rematch at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan on March 31.
Both men initially crossed paths at ONE: Defending Honor in November 2016, with Folayang pulling off a stunning upset victory over Aoki.
Branded as a heavy underdog in the first bout, “Landslide” defied the odds by executing a perfectly-devised game plan en route to a third-round technical knockout to capture the ONE Lightweight World Title.
Aoki had to work his way back up the ladder since losing to Folayang, winning three consecutive matches in 2018 to earn a shot at the Filipino’s ONE Lightweight World Title.
Touted as the most decorated lightweight in the well-entrenched history of Asian mixed martial arts, Aoki made quick work of former ONE World Title contender Ev “E.T.” Ting in his last outing at ONE: Kingdom of Heroes this past October.
The Japanese submission specialist needed just 57 seconds to send the Malaysian-Kiwi spitfire into sleep with an arm-triangle choke to secure a date with Folayang for the most coveted prize in his weight class.
“I thought that it would be a tough fight. I am fortunate to be able to come out victorious,” said Aoki in reference to his match with Ting.
“As soon as I took down him down, I was setting up a choke and was confident I could get the submission.”
Aoki believes that recapturing the gold-plated will be no walk in the park as a lot of things have changed in their respective professional careers since they first stood opposite each other inside the ONE Championship cage.
“I am happy to get the chance to fight in my home country for ONE Championship,” he stated. “I don’t know what will happen in the rematch. All I know is that it will be a tough fight, and I look forward to it.”
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