Shinya Aoki vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama Set for ONE X

Yoshihiro Akiyama ONE Championship
Yoshihiro Akiyama Credit: ONE Championship

A battle between Japanese veterans has been added to next month’s ONE X card, as Shinya Aoki will face former UFC fighter Yoshihiro Akiyama.

Aoki (47-9, 1NC) confirmed the booking on social media, following an initial report by Ariel Helwani. While that report suggested the promotion would market the match-up as a “legends” fight, Aoki replied by saying “I am not a legend” on his verified Instagram page.

Aoki has been on a run of late, with the 38-year old putting together four straight wins — most recently submitting ex-lightweight champ Eduard Folayang with an arm-bar at ONE on TNT 4 last April. A multi-time ONE Championship lightweight title holder himself, Aoki’s only loss since 2017 saw him lose his belt to Christian Lee at ONE: Enter the Dragon in 2019.

Akiyama (15-7, 2NC) is best known for his UFC run, which saw him win three consecutive Fight of the Night bonuses from 2009 to 2010, in bouts against Alan Belcher, Chris Leben, and Michael Bisping. After struggling against some of the best in the middleweight division, however, “Sexyama” saw his run with the company come to an end care of a controversial split decision loss to Alberto Mina in 2015.

In 2019, the Japanese star of Korean descent moved to ONE Championship, where he’s posted a 1-1 record to date. He last fought in 2020, knocking out Sherif Mohamed.

ONE X, which celebrates ONE Championship’s 10-year anniversary, was originally planned for December 2021, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The show is now set to take place on March 26, 2022 in Singapore. The following bouts have been reported for the card:

Angela Lee (c) vs. Stamp Fairtex – For the ONE Women’s Atomweight Championship
Adriano Moraes (c) vs. Yuya Wakamatsu – For the ONE Flyweight Championship
Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Demetrious Johnson – Special Rules Bout
Nong-O Gaiyanghadao (c) vs. Alaverdi Ramazanov – For the ONE Muay Thai Bantamweight Championship
Capitan Petchyindee (c) vs. Hiroki Akimoto – For the ONE Kickboxing Bantamweight Championship
Superbon Banchamek (c) vs. Marat Grigorian – For the ONE Kickboxing Featherweight Championship
Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong vs. Chingiz Allazov – Kickboxing Featherweight Grand Prix Final
Shinya Aoki vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Eduard Folayang vs. John Wayne Parr – Special Rules Bout
Nieky Holzken vs. Islam Murtazaev – Kickboxing
Seo Hee Ham vs. Denice Zamboanga
Lito Adiwang vs. Jeremy Miado
Amir Khan vs. Ryogo Takahashi
Itsuki Hirata vs. TBA