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Veteran Shinya Aoki Promises Challenge For Young Ruotolo

LockerRoom Team
Calendar Icon18 May 2022

Shinya Aoki has proven himself to be a versatile competitor inside the ONE Championship Circle. He has faced opponents in both submission grappling and mixed martial arts and has enjoyed success in both.  

However, his latest outing, an MMA showdown with longtime rival Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama in March, didn’t end in his favor, and “Tobikan Judan” has been itching for redemption ever since. 

The Japanese star gets a chance to find it when he welcomes teen Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu phenom Kade Ruotolo to the Circle at ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot this Friday, 20 May, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. 

Aoki has had a fabled career over the last 20 years. He has nearly 60 bouts to his name, with a jaw-dropping 47 wins. He has faced elite competition like American grappling star Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, who he faced in ONE’s inaugural submission grappling fight in 2017, and he’s held the ONE Lightweight World Championship twice. 

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Despite his depth of experience, Aoki still feels the tingle of nerves ahead of his upcoming matchup. And though his opponent is said to have an advantage due to his age, Aoki knows well that anything can happen once the Circle door closes. 

“Kade's super young and he's, like, I think 20 years younger than me. So, that just makes my heart beat. I'm excited. The preparation went well, and I'm in good condition,” Aoki said. 

“[I’m] just going to, you know, fight as usual. I think Kade's an amazing athlete. He's strong in every aspect. [But] people see that I'm the underdog and a lot of people favor Kade. It's a fight, you know, you never know what's going to happen until you actually fight on the mat. So we'll see,” he said. 

“Tobikan Judan” is right to have prepared well for Friday’s battle. Kade Ruotolo and his brother Tye – who will also make his ONE debut the same night, facing off against Tonon in another submission grappling showdown – can be described as nothing short of a force in BJJ. They have been training in the sport since the age of 3, and Kade is a multiple-time IBJJF World Champion. The 19-year-old star has also won gold medals in the WNO and EBI Championships.  

Aoki is well-aware of what Ruotolo brings to the table. He knows he’ll be facing a fiery youngster who is determined to make a name for himself by beating a legend – and “Tobikan Judan” plans to make the young athlete fight his heart out to try and do so. 

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“I can't really predict how it's going to happen or what's going to happen on the mat. But one thing I can tell you is that it's going to be a tough match for both of us. For sure,” he said. 

Watch ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot live on Disney+ Hotstar, beginning with the lead card at 2:30 p.m. India Standard Time (IST) on Friday, 20 May. The main card broadcasts live on Disney+ Hotstar at 6 p.m. IST. 


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