Shinya Aoki Submits James Nakashima in Co-Main Event of ONE: Unbreakable

Shinya Aoki and James Nakashima at ONE Championship: Unbreakable
Shinya Aoki submits James Nakashima at ONE Championship's Unbreakable on January 22, 2021 Credit: ONE Championship

Japanese star Aoki sets ONE submission record with standing choke of Nakashima.

ONE Championship’s first event of 2021 went down live on Friday in Kallang, Singapore, and one of the standouts on the six-fight card was Japanese veteran Shinya Aoki. Aoki, a PRIDE and Dream veteran, has long been one of the best lightweights out of Japan. Not to mention one of the best lightweights outside the major promotions.

He reminded MMA fans why, picking up his third straight victory, this time against James Nakashima in the co-main event of ONE: Unbreakable. Nakashima, a former welterweight title challenger in the organization, was moving down a weight class for the fight.

Aoki opened the affair with a number of high kicks, connecting to the body several times. That led to a clinch along the cage, with Nakashima in control initially. But it was Aoki breaking free, and later landing a sharp right hand. It wasn’t too long after that that Aoki mounted the back of his opponent, while still standing. Soon enough, he had a body triangle locked in. The rear-naked choke, at a nasty-looking angle, locked in seconds later, and Nakashima quickly tapped!

The win, Aoki’s 46th, put him in the lead for most submissions in ONE Championship history, with eight. The 37-year old veteran looked sharp throughout the fight, and appears to have no plan to slow down just yet. The Japanese star was seen wearing a shirt following the bout proclaiming “age is just a number.”

Official Result: Shinya Aoki def. James Nakashima by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 2:42