Shinya Aoki makes featherweight debut against Cody Stevens at ONE FC 11

Dan Herbertson, MMA Fighting

ONE FC lightweight champion Shinya Aoki will make his long-awaited featherweight debut when he takes on Cody Stevens in a non-title bout for the co-main event of ONE FC 11, which takes place October 18 at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.

ONE FC officials announced the bout on Friday.

A former DREAM and Shooto champion, Aoki (33-6, 1 NC) underwent a successful test cut in June to gauge the viability of a drop down to 145 pounds, where his 5'11" frame would eclipse that of many of his competitors.

"I am dropping down to featherweight for the first time in my career in this fight. I feel stronger and faster at this weight and I have my sights set on competing against all the top featherweights and lightweights that ONE FC puts in front of me," Aoki said in a statement.

"The weight cut will not be a problem for me and I am definitely ready for this challenge."

The 30-year-old Japanese submission savant has won 10 of his last 11 contests, culminating in a second-round rear-naked choke victory over Kotetsu Boku in April to seize the ONE FC lightweight strap.

He'll now meet Stevens (11-5-1), an American wrestler sporting six submission finishes of his own. The 31-year-old fights out of Phunket's Tiger Muay Thai and is undefeated thus far in 2013, holding consecutive wins over Greg Atzori and Dustin Neace.

Additionally, featherweights Mitch Chilson (4-1, 1 NC) and Shannon Wiratchai (2-1, 1 NC) will meet in a rematch of their 2012 no contest, while flyweight Wushu champion Rene Catalan (0-1) will take on Cambodian kickboxer Khim Dima (0-0).

An updated ONE FC 11 fight card can be seen below.

  • Bibiano Fernandes vs. Soo Chul Kim
  • Shinya Aoki vs. Cody Stevens
  • Eddie Ng vs. Peter Davis
  • Tatsuya Mizuno vs. Rafael Silva
  • Mitch Chilson vs. Shannon Wiratchai
  • Sherilyn Lim vs. Ann Osman
  • Juan Wen Jie vs. Alex Lim
  • Stephen Langdown vs. Mark Marcellinus
  • Rene Catalan vs. Khim Dima

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