Shinya Aoki stepped into the ONE Championship cage in Singapore on Friday, 18 May with the perfect game plan to defeat Rasul Yakhyaev
In victory, the Japanese submission artist turned his fortunes around at ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS after losing his last two mixed martial arts contests.
It wasn’t long until Aoki was smiling once again, holding up two ‘V’ for victory signs with his hands, and a winner’s medal hanging from his neck.
The former lightweight champion controlled a short bout with aggression and grappling expertise.
“Tobikan Judan” pressed his opponent backwards in the opening moments of the match before changing levels and charging forward for a takedown.
Yakhyaev defended the initial attempt but couldn’t pry himself free from Aoki’s grasp.
Moments later, Aoki was able to drag the battle to the mat and begin looking for an omoplata to sweep.
From there, he worked on top for a moment, attempting to pass his Chechen opponent’s guard with heavy hip pressure and head-and-arm control.
It wasn’t long before the 35-year-old deftly hopped over and passed directly into a mounted triangle choke position against the cage.
Yakhyaev attempted to answer back by reversing position and pressing Aoki against the cage, but the Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert stayed composed and kept his legs locked.
Unable to posture up or escape the hold cleanly, Yakhyaev attempted to use strikes to damage and distract Aoki enough to let go of the choke, but to no avail.
The former ONE Lightweight World Champion was able to pivot away from the fence, isolate Yakhyaev’s punching arm and hold it in place as he squeezed to force the tap.
After the referee recognized the submission and stopped the match, Aoki jumped to his feet, and then onto the fence, proudly raising his arms.
The win improved Aoki’s record to 40-8-1. Yakhyaev falls to 11-7.