Shinya Aoki (ONE Championship)

Shinya Aoki Discusses His Upcoming Bout with Saygid Izagakhmaev

On Saturday, Nov. 19, ONE Championship will return to the Singapore Indoor Stadium with ONE 163: Akimoto vs. Petchtanong. The spectacle is set to feature a fantastic card, with many Japanese luminaries taking center stage. 

One of the stars of the show will be former ONE lightweight champion Shinya Aoki, who takes on the fast-rising grappling expert Saygid Izagakhmaev in a highly anticipated bout.

During the recent ONE 163 press conference, ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong remarked on the intriguing clash of grappling styles and why it makes the matchup so compelling.


“Why we did this matchup and why we think this is so interesting – Saygid with [Khabib Nurmagomedov’s] style, you know, the whole Eagle’s MMA style is one of takedown and control to ground and pound. Shinya’s style is submissions. So he takes down and finishes via submission, and this is what makes [this] interesting. I believe whoever gets top position first will likely win the fight,” Sityodtong said. 

Izagakhmaev has already made an impact on the lightweight division and sits as the fourth-ranked contender after two impressive wins inside the Circle. If the Russian star can topple Aoki, his status as a title threat will take a massive step forward.

Aoki was complimentary of his opponent when speaking at the media event. Izagakhmaev previously commented on how he plans to send the Japanese legend into retirement when they come face-to-face, but Aoki wasn’t entertaining the trash talk when ask about it by reporters.

“Saygid is a strong fighter. I believe outside of Christian Lee, Saygid is the most dangerous opponent in this lightweight division right now. But for me, it is more like fighting against myself. Fighting is to see how strong you are. That’s how I’ve been fighting for this long in my career. And I believe I can express my strength through this match as well,” Aoki said.

“I know I’m facing a tough opponent. But I know this is something I have to do. That is my position right now. I will do my best. He will send me to retirement? It’s not your business, actually.”

With the lightweight division’s contenders all jockeying for position, Aoki vs. Izagakhmaev will be one of the most important matchups in the closing months of this year.

ONE 163 airs live on at 5:30 a.m. ET. on Saturday, Nov. 19, from the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets for the event are on sale now at Ticketmaster.