Now that Eddie Alvarez, Will Brooks and Gilbert Melendez are all members of the UFC roster, Shinya Aoki stands out as one of the best lightweights – if not the best lightweight – outside the organization. Only current Bellator champ Michael Chandler and reigning WSOF lightweight king Justin Gaethje can challenge his reputation as such.
Early Friday morning (Friday night in Singapore), however, Aoki’s rep as a top-flight lightweight took a bit of a hit, as he was mashed by a largely unsung opponent in Filipino puncher Eduard “Landslide” Folayang.
In the first portions of this bout, Aoki was in vintage form, repeatedly threatening Folayang with the wiry jiu jitsu skill that has made him one of respected grapplers in mixed martial arts competition. In the fight’s third round, however, Folayang was able to turn Aoki around against the cage, at which point he blasted the Japanese great with a knee to the forehead, and put him away with a meteor shower of ground and pound.
With the win Folayang becomes the new ONE Championship lightweight king. See his title-winning stoppage at the top of this post.
The win marked Folayang’s 10th trip into the One Championship cage. Over the course of his 10 bouts with the Singapore-based organization, he’s assembled a respectable 7-3 mark, coming up short to Ole Larson, Kamal Shalorus and Timofey Nastyukhin, and defeating game opposition like A-Sol Kwon, Vincent Latoel, Kotetsu Boku, and of course, Aoki. The new champ’s overall record now sits at 17-5.
Aoki, meanwhile, has competed six times in the ONE cage. In his second fight with the organization, he submitted Kotetsu Boku to win the organization’s lightweight title. He would then defend this title against Kamal Shalorus and Koji Ando, before surrendering it to Folayang in this most recent fight. The Japanese legend owns an overall record of 39-7.
What do you think of Folayang’s big win over Aoki? Sound off, PENN Nation!