ONE Fighting Championship announced arguably their most high profile fight card in the organisation’s three-year history with no less than four world title bouts slated for August 29 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Three of these matches will feature Japanese cage fighters defending their ONE FC world championship belts, while a fourth contest will be for the vacant middleweight title.
“Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organisation will enter the Middle East for the first time on August 29. Dubai will be treated to a night of adrenaline-pumping mixed martial arts action from world-class mixed martial artists,” ONE FC CEO Victor Cui stated in a news release.
The main event sees revered Japanese lightweight champion Shinya Aoki (35-6-1) make his first title defence against Iranian contender Kamal Shalorus (9-3-2).
Meanwhile, another mouthwatering meet for the yet to be titled fight night is welterweight champion Nobutatsu Suzuki (11-1-2) of Japan taking on undefeated American Ben Askren (13-0), who made a triumphant ONE FC debut in the headline bout of Honor & Glory last month in Singapore.
Featherweight belt holder Koji Oishi (25-9-10) will also be in action against a top prospect to be confirmed at a later date, who will look to steal the Japanese veteran’s accolade.
Former DREAM lightweight champion Aoki is known as one of the most dangerous submission artists in cage fighting today, earning the nickname Tobikan Judan, which translates as the Grand Master of Flying Submissions.
Having captured the ONE FC belt with victory over compatriot Kotetsu Boku at Kings & Champions in Singapore last year, the 31-year-old is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under the legendary Yuki Nakai and boasts 23 wins via submission.
Shalorus studied MMA in both the UK and the US, beginning his career in Austin, Texas, in 2008. After a string of victories at various promotions, the 36-year-old “Prince of Persia: lost all three of his fights at the esteemed UFC before his move to ONE FC, where he has won his two matches to date.
Acclaimed striker Suzuki, 36, has demonstrated the effectiveness of karate in MMA, becoming the inaugural ONE FC welterweight world champion by defeating Brock Larson of the US at ONE FC: War of Nations on March 14 in Kuala Lumpur. Ten of his 11 wins have been knockouts and he will look to add Askren to the list of opponents he has finished.
“Funky: Ben Askren is a legend in collegiate wrestling with four all-American awards and a stellar record of 153-8 during his career at the University of Missouri. He also wrestled on the US Olympics team in 2008 before transitioning to MMA, where he has blazed a trail in the welterweight division.
Oishi, 37, is a former lightweight King of Pancrase and a seasoned fighter who has consistently facing some of the best opposition in the world. He successfully achieved a lifelong ambition of becoming a world champion last year by knocking out Honorio Banario of the Philippines in the second round of their Manila bout. He then defended his title six months later against the same rival and at the same venue with a third-round stoppage.