After years of antagonism, Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama and Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki finally settled their score at ONE X: Grand Finale last Saturday, 26 March. A card so big that it was divided into three separate parts, ONE X celebrated 10 years of the organization with a plethora of incredible bouts.
The battle between Akiyama and Aoki was one of the most anticipated on the card, as the two Japanese MMA icons had made it abundantly clear that they did not like each other.
The pair were set to meet at a previous event, but an injury to “Sexyama” prevented that from occurring. Aoki’s frustration reached a boiling point last fall when he shouted at the table where Akiyama was commentating, seconds after his bout against Shutaro Debana had ended in a draw.
“I’ve tried my hardest in martial arts, and after fighting for 20 years, I’ve realized just how lonely this is. But still, I continue fighting. Why did you decline the offer? Come on say it, don’t lie,” Aoki yelled at Akiyama from inside the Circle.
“The reason I declined was that I tore a muscle. I believe a martial artist should be standing in the ring and putting on fights. But unfortunately, I was in a position where I couldn’t do anything but decline. Obviously, not fighting isn’t an option. Of course, I will take the fight. Just wait,” Akiyama said in a later response.
The wait was finally over on 26 March, and Akiyama delivered exactly what Aoki asked for. Initially, “Tobikan Judan” had the upper hand, seeking a takedown then a submission against his opponent. “Sexyama” had no other choice but to survive and change his position, making it difficult for Aoki to complete his goal.
The second round was much more favorable for Akiyama, as he was able to pin Aoki against the Circle Wall and deliver blow after blow that stunned his younger opponent. It took less than two minutes of the frame for “Sexyama” to beat Aoki by TKO and finally put their rivalry to rest.
Stay tuned for all the upcoming action of ONE: RELOADED, which will be held on 22 April at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.