Though it was far from a vintage performance, Shinya Aoki did more than enough to maintain his hold on the One Championship lightweight crown.
Aoki scored effectively on the feet and worked some of his magic on the ground, as he claimed a five-round unanimous decision over Koji Ando in the One Championship 27 headliner on Friday at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. The 32-year-old champion has put together eight consecutive victories, the second longest streak of his career.
Ando (11-4-2) spent the majority of his time on defense. Aoki executed takedowns in the first, third and fourth rounds, and he pulled guard in the fifth, routinely forcing the challenger into his wheelhouse. He did his best work in round three, where he mounted Ando, piled on the punishment with face-shredding elbows and threatened to finish it with an armbar. Aoki (38-6) did more of the same in the fourth -- there, he maneuvered into position for a rear-naked choke attempt -- before coasting to the finish line in the fifth.
In the co-main event, Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke captured the inaugural One Championship strawweight title with a technical unanimous decision over Roy Doliguez. A three-time Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai world champion, Amnuaysirichoke has won all five of his MMA fights.
Outside of a few takedowns Doliguez (6-2) never posed a serious threat. Amnuaysirichoke put his extensive striking arsenal on display for much of the bout, as kicks, punches, knees and elbows flowed freely. He was effective at a distance and in close quarters and even enjoyed some success on the ground. Doliguez saw his best chance pass by in the fourth round, where he grounded the Evolve MMA-based Thai, moved to the north-south position and fired knees to the head. An inexplicable restart from referee Joey Lepiten stymied his momentum and allowed Amnuaysirichoke to set up shop on the feet.
In the fifth round, Amnuaysirichoke (5-0) wobbled the Filipino with a kick upstairs and landed a clean elbow behind a flying head kick and flying knee. The blow staggered Doliguez and, believing it to be a head butt, had him signaling for a timeout. Lepiten waved off the fight but called no foul, and, after several confusing moments, sent it to the judges. Their job was easy.
Meanwhile, onetime M-1 Global titleholder Marat Gafurov made his case as the No. 1 contender for the One Championship belt at 145 pounds, as he submitted Ev Ting with a first-round rear-naked choke in a featherweight showcase. Ting (9-3) conceded defeat 4:30 into round one.
Gafurov (11-0) wasted no time in getting down to business. The 30-year-old Dagestani brute backed up Ting with a brutal kick to the midsection, struck for a takedown and went to work with his ground-and-pound, targeting the body with a horrific sequence of punches and elbows. Ting escaped to his feet for a brief moment, only to hit the canvas again. There he would stay. Gafurov passed from side control to full mount and then shifted to his fading adversary’s back, securing his position with a body triangle. The choke came next, as Ting rolled to his stomach in desperation, the tapout following soon after.
Elsewhere, former King of the Cage champion and prized Hawaiian prospect Lowen Tynanes cruised to a unanimous decision over Kuat Khamitov in a featured lightweight pairing. Tynanes (7-0) remained undefeated, as he went the distance for the first time since his pro debut in September 2011.
Khamitov (18-4-1) had little to offer. Tynanes denied all but one of his takedown attempts, trapped the Kazakhstani fighter on the feet and teed off. Punches mixed with knees and leg kicks were his primary focus, especially early in the match. In rounds two and three, Tynanes turned up the heat with takedowns and ground-and-pound, navigating the Khamitov guard with ease. The 24-year-old achieved full mount in the second round and transitioned to the back in the third, his superiority never in doubt.
The defeat halted Khamitov’s run of six straight wins.
In other action, Costa Rican export Ariel Sexton (10-3) submitted Eddie Ng (7-3) with a rear-naked choke 70 seconds into round two of their showdown at 155 pounds; Thailand’s Shannon Wiratchai (4-1) eked out a split decision against Amir Khan (3-2) in their three-round featherweight duel; Angela Lee (1-0) submitted Aya Saber (3-6) with an armbar 1:43 into the second round of their battle at 115 pounds; Heili Alateng (4-3) put away Stephen Langdown (2-2) with punches and soccer kicks 51 seconds into round two of their bantamweight encounter; Benedict Ang (1-0) took a unanimous decision from Waqar Umar (3-3) in their three-round clash at 145 pounds; and Chinese prospect Jianbing Yang (4-0) submitted Ali Yaakub (0-2) with an armbar 49 seconds into the second round of their flyweight scrap.