Shinya Aoki will defend his One FC lightweight title on Aug. 29. | Dean Marchand/Sherdog.com
There will be plenty of gold on the line when One Fighting Championship makes its initial foray into Dubai.
The promotion on Thursday revealed two of four title bouts expected to take place at One FC 19, which will be held at the World Trade Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Aug. 29. Reigning lightweight king Shinya Aoki will defend his crown against Kamal Shalorus, while welterweight champion Nobutatsu Suzuki will attempt to hold on to his title against former Bellator ruler Ben Askren. The other two championship fights have yet to be revealed.
Aoki captured promotional gold at One FC 8, submitting Kotetsu Boku with a rear-naked choke in the second round. “Tobikan Judan” made a successful venture to 145 pounds in his next outing, as he outpointed Cody Stevens at One FC 11. Most recently, the Strikeforce, Dream and Pride Fighting Championships veteran tapped Toshikatsu Harada in 49 seconds at IGF “Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye” on New Year’s Eve.
A former WEC and UFC talent, Shalorus is 2-0 under the One FC banner. The36-year-old Iranian debuted with a unanimous verdict over Eduard Folayang at One FC 9 before outpointing Ariel Sexton in his most recent outing this past March.
Suzuki, 36, has been defeated just once in 14 professional appearances. After stopping Phil Baroni via first-round TKO in his initial One FC bout, the Tokyo native captured a five-round verdict over Brock Larson at One FC 14 to become the organization’s inaugural 170-pound champion.
After a dominant nine-fight run in Bellator MMA, Askren parted ways with the promotion last year. The Roufusport product’s stint as a high-profile free agent took an unexpected turn when “Funky” signed with One FC in December. Askren cruised in his first promotional appearance, submitting Bakhtiyar Abbasov with an arm-triangle choke 4:21 into the opening stanza at One FC 16. Often criticized for his lack of finishing ability, the 29-year-old has now stopped his last three opponents.