Saygid Izagakhmaev has been looking outstanding since arriving at A championship with two dominant performances. To ONE 163: Akimoto vs Petchtanongthe No. 4 ranked lightweight contender will have the chance to add the biggest name to his resume when he meets Shinya Aoki. The Russian promised to send the Japanese legend into retirement with his third straight ONE victory.
Unsurprisingly, Aoki refuted her claim. The No. 5 ranked contender does not plan to be his stepping stone to the title. At the ONE 163 press conference, the longtime submission ace responded and noted the tough matchup ahead of him on November 19.
“I know I’m facing a tough opponent. But I know it’s something I have to do. This is my position at the moment. I’ll do my best. He [Izagakhmaev] will send me to retirement? It’s none of your business, actually,” Aoki said.
The grapplers game is the one that excites ONE president and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. The promotion frontman was also present at the press conference and livened up the fight as he broke down the clash of styles. It will be Izagakhmaev’s stifling fight against Aoki’s ruthless jiu-jitsu.
“Why we did this match and why we think it’s so interesting – Saygid with Khabib’s style, you know, Eagle’s whole MMA style is all about takedown and ground control and hammering. Shinya’s style is submissions. So he picks up and ends up in submission, and that’s what makes [this] interesting. I think whoever gets first place will probably win the fight,” Sityodtong said.
Izagakhmaev holds a professional record of 21-2 and has won eight of his last nine showings. The fight against Aoki is unquestionably his biggest test yet. Although the Japanese star had some stern remarks about his claims to pull it off, Aoki complimented his skills within the Circle.
As the Russian attempts to put himself in a position to challenge Christian Le for the ONE Lightweight World Championship, Aoki puts himself in his sights. For him, the fight is to show his skills, not for gold or glory. He hopes to continue showing those skills with his 31st career submission.
“Saygid is a strong fighter. I believe that aside from Christian Lee, Saygid is the most dangerous opponent in this lightweight division right now. But for me, it’s more a fight against myself. To fight is to see how strong you are. This is how I have fought for so long in my career. And I believe I can express my strength through this match as well,” Aoki said.
ONE 163 will be streamed live on watch.onefc.com at 5:30 a.m. EST/2:30 a.m. PST on Saturday, November 19, from the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets for the event are on sale now at ticket master.