Opinion: Aoki Can Keep Japanese MMA Alive
By Michael Hatamoto
Lightweight grappler Shinya Aoki will have an opportunity to capture yet another MMA championship when he meets Kotetsu Boku in a lightweight championship fight.
Aoki next fights Boku for the One Fighting Championship lightweight title next week during the OFC 8 “Kings and Champions” MMA event.
Boku is the current ONE FC lightweight champion but Aoki is not surprisingly the favorite heading into the fight on April 5.
It will be interesting to see what happens when Aoki and Boku meet, as I fully believe Aoki can get the submission – but Boku believes he will be able to touch Aoki’s chin.
Even if Boku has worked on his takedown defense, I believe Aoki will be able to find a way to drag the fight down to the ground.
It’s true that Aoki has floundered against top-level western MMA fighters – and he doesn’t want to compete in the UFC – but he certainly doesn’t need to. Since a unanimous decision loss to Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez in 2010, Aoki has 9-1, picking up wins against the likes of Lyle Beerbohm, Antonio McKee, Marcus Aurelio, and Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Aoki does seem to have an issue with strikers, but if he doesn’t agree to any bizarre “special rules” fights, I think he’ll be fine while fighting in Japan. Boku has fought some decent competition – mainly Japanese opponents – but Aoki has fought against a much better list of fighters.
Prediction: Aoki by submission, to capture the ONE FC lightweight championship, after surviving an early scare from Boku.