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Shinya Aoki has achieved great heights in mixed martial arts. Learn more about Aoki through the numbers below.
5: Fights in DEEP, with a record of 4-1. Aoki started his professional MMA career with the local promotion in 2003. He joined the tournament and defeated Dai Okimura and Yasutoshi Ryu in one night to come out on top. Both fights ended in an armbar submission. For his third bout, he tapped out Seichi Ikemoto before losing to Jutaro Nakao via TKO. It took him around seven years to appear in the DEEP cage again, but it was well worth the wait as he later submitted Yokthai Sithoar.
7: Fights in Shooto where he became the welterweight champion by defeating Akira Kikuchi. He beat Kikuchi again for his first and last title defense before Aoki later vacated the title. The budding superstar lost only once at Shooto, and that was to Hayato Sakurai.
4: Fights in Pride where he went undefeated. His victims include Jason Black, Clay French, Joachim Hansen and Brian Lo-A-Njoe. All fell prey to his aggressive ground game.
15: Fights in Dream, with a record of 12-2 and one no contest. Aoki competed in the Dream lightweight Grand Prix but was knocked out by Hansen in the final. He later moved up and joined the promotion’s welterweight Grand Prix but lost to Hayato Sakurai in the opening round. “Tobikan Judan” then returned to lightweight and defeated another high-level grappler in Vitor Ribeiro to challenge Hansen for the lightweight belt. In what was their trilogy fight, Aoki won and became champion after an armbar win. He would defend the belt twice.
11: Fights at One Championship, with a record of 9-2. Aoki was a dominant force at lightweight, snatching the belt from Kotetsu Boku. After a couple of title defenses as well as fights in different divisions, Aoki met his match in Eduard Folayang, who beat him by TKO to become the new champion. For his next fight, the Japanese fighter faced Ben Askren and once again lost by TKO. However, a four-fight winning streak followed which was capped off by Aoki reclaiming the belt from Folayang after submitting him earlier this year.
2: Fights with Eddie Alvarez. Aoki first met the future Bellator and UFC champion at Fields Dynamite!! 2008 and won the inaugural WAMMA lightweight championship after a heel hook submission win. The two top lightweights rematched at Bellator 66, and Alvarez was able to exact revenge with a TKO win.
28: Wins by submission, with one of them coming via strikes. The elite grappler has done all sorts of moves, from the regular armbar and rear-naked choke to fancy ones like the flying triangle choke, twister, and gogoplata.
3: Wins by KO or TKO. Great as he is with submissions, Aoki also turns to strikes when the opportunity presents itself. His knockout victims include Kuniyoshi Hironaka, Shannon Wiratchai and the legendary Kazushi Sakuraba.