While he may have been one of the sport's top lightweights for years, Shinya Aoki decided to make a weight class change. His featherweight debut took place Friday at One FC 11 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore where he successfully defeated Cody Stevens via unanimous decision.
The co-main event bout was no walk in the park, however. Aoki looked sluggish at times and suffered from a severe groin kick in the first round that nearly had the bout stopped when it appeared the Japanese fighter couldn't continue. Aoki eventually regrouped and his went on to use his trademark trip takedowns and smothering top control to keep Stevens on the defense for virtually the entire fifteen-minute affair.
"I wasn't 100 percent," Aoki said of the first round after the groin kick via translator. "It was warrior spirit [that kept him going]. I just gotta do it, man."
The judo and jiu-jitsu black belt indicated he'd be staying at featherweight for his next bout. He moves to 34-6 with 1 no-contest with the victory on Friday. Stephens falls to 11-6 in professional MMA.
In the main event, Bibiano Fernandes had a tougher time with Soo Chul Kim than many expected. In what was a unification bout between the One FC bantamweight and interim bantamweight championships, Fernandes was able to keep Kim on the defensive with his mix of takedowns and top control, but faded as the fight went on. There were few submission attempts and by the fifth round, Kim was able to land heavy shots on the feet, score quick takedowns of his own and stop most of the offense from the Brazilian.
Still, it was too little, too late. The judges all awarded Fernandes the bout making him the undisputed bantamweight title holder.
"He's very tough kid," Fernandes said after the bout. "I knew I was going to have a tough fight, but I prepared myself." Fernandes jumps to 15-3 in professional MMA while Kim drops to 7-5.
Elsewhere on the card, Eddie Ng made quick work of Tiger Muay Thai's Peter Davis, stopping the model/actor at 1:46 of the first frame. In a brutal slugfest, DREAM veteran Tatsuya Mizuno hung on against the experienced Rafael Silva to earn a unanimous decision victory. Frenchman Sylvain Potard pulled the upset of the evening, stopping Evolve's Jake Butler in the second round with a series of strikes.
In more controversial and graphic action, Shannon Wiratchai used a punch as well as a series of soccer kicks to stop Mitch Chilson in the first frame. In addition, Khim Dima used a number of illegal elbows to the back of Rene Catalan's head to come from behind and earn the second-round TKO stoppage.
Full One FC 11 results are available here.