The veteran lightweight needed just a single takedown against fellow former ONE champion Eduard Folayang to advance his position and then set up a fight ending armbar before the first round was finished. The end came at just 4:20 in the opening round as Aoki notches his fourth win in a row overall since losing the lightweight title to Christian Lee in 2019.
Afterwards, Aoki paid tribute to Folayang after clashing three times in their careers while also turning his attention to a couple of new potential opponents.
“Five years ago, I lost to Eduard Folayang,” Aoki said. “Today, I got the win. If I have the chance, I would like to have [a fight] with him again.
A consummate grappler, Aoki wasted no time closing the distance and swooping inside to look for the takedown to bring the fight into his world on the ground. Aoki actually faked pulling guard momentarily, which then allowed him to fall into a deeper shot as he dragged Folayang to the ground.
Aoki almost immediately fell into the mount but he was methodical while shredding Folayang’s defense as he bludgeoned the Filipino fighter with elbows from the top. Once Aoki finally moved into position, he grabbed onto the arm and fell down into the submission, which led to Folayang tapping out to prevent any possible damage.
Aoki has remained near the top of the lightweight division in ONE Championship since he first arrived in the promotion and now he’s built another impressive win streak with his latest victory. He was originally scheduled to face Sage Northcutt on Wednesday but the former UFC fighter was forced off the card due to lingering issues after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
It appears Aoki would still like the chance to face him or possible square off against Akiyama, who was actually scheduled to face Folayang at ONE on TNT 4 before he also pulled out due to injury.