Shinya Aoki won his rubber match with Joachim Hansen Tuesday at Dream 11, getting Hansen to tap out with an arm bar with just seconds remaining in the second round to win the Dream lightweight title.
Aoki took the fight to the ground about 30 seconds into the first round, and that's exactly where he wanted it: He stayed on the ground and on top of Hansen for most of the round, with neither fighter doing much damage to the other. Midway through the first round, Hansen landed two upkicks: One (illegal) to Aoki's groin and a second (before the ref could step in for the illegal blow) to Aoki's head. That led to the fight being halted for several minutes while Aoki recovered, but once the fight resumed it was right back to Aoki controlling it on the ground.
Hansen did shock everyone by attempting a submission late in the first round, putting Aoki in an arm bar, but Aoki looked calm, cool and collected and never seemed to feel threatened by Hansen's submission attempt. And in the second round, when the fight went to the ground again, it was just a matter of time: Aoki controlled the position and eventually caught Hansen in an arm bar, forcing him to tap with less than 10 seconds remaining.
It was the third time Aoki and Hansen have fought. Aoki got Hansen to tap with a gogoplata at Pride: Shockwave 2006, while Hansen beat Aoki by TKO in the final of the Dream lightweight tournament last year at Dream.5. Since that Dream.5 fight, Aoki has stayed active and gone 4-1 in the ring, while Hansen has battled injuries and hadn't fought at all.
In addition to having the Dream lightweight title on the line, this fight was also for the WAMMA lightweight title -- although the next MMA fan I meet who cares about the WAMMA title will be the first. UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn is universally regarded as the best lightweight in MMA, but a strong case can be made for declaring Aoki the best lightweight outside the UFC and the second-best lightweight in the world.
With the win, Aoki improves his record to 22-4, including 13 wins by submission. Hansen falls to 19-8-1.
For more on Dream 11, check our Dream 11 results, and our Dream 11 play by play on Twitter.