Shinya Aoki is poised to become the best lightweight fi ghter in the world. Known for his trademark yellow or rainbowcolored spandex pants, Aoki has been winning over fans with his superb technique and the ability to overwhelm opponents with his grappling prowess.
Shinya Aoki’s unorthodox style is what sets him apart. The Japanese fi ghter is comfortable fi ghting from his back and has displayed his inclination to do so in previous matches. At 5’11” Aoki is a giant in the lightweight division, and he uses his long limbs and excellent fl exibility to compensate for his weakness as a striker, and to frustrate his opponents’ ground control.
Shinya Aoki is a veteran of DEEP and is the current Shooto 167-pound champion. His stock began to rise after signing with PRIDE Fighting Championship. Since the organization’s demise last year, Aoki found a new home under the DREAM banner. Many consider Shinya one of the most naturally gifted ground fi ghters in recent years.
The Paraestra Kasai instructor has one of the most active guards in the sport, and utilizes many slick transitions and submissions. Eddie Bravo, an accomplished grappler and the man responsible for popularizing the technique, credits Aoki as the best practitioner of the rubber guard in MMA today.
A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Shooto legend Yuki Nakai, Aoki is the winner of Rickson Gracie’s Budo Challenge, as well as an All-Japan Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion and a Japanese qualifi er of 2005’s ADCC world championship. The Japanese star holds a black belt in Judo and has earned the nickname of “Tobikan Judan,” which translates to “tenth degree in fl ying lock submissions.”
Aoki moved down a weight class and represented Shooto when he made his PRIDE debut in 2006. His fi rst opponent was Miletich fi ghter Jason Black. Black was a rising star with an impressive record, and was considered a favorite to win. However, he proved to be no match for the superior submission skills of the Shooto champion, and he succumbed to a triangle choke in the opening round. Aoki’s subsequent fi ghts in Shooto and PRIDE were also successful, with victories over UFC fi ghters George Sotiropoulos and Clay French.
Aoki made his mark at PRIDE Shockwave 2006, the show held on New Year’s Eve. The former police offi cer was matched against his toughest opponent to date, Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen. Hansen, a former Shooto Welterweight Champion, was known as a dangerous striker and ranked as one of the top ten lightweight fi ghters in the world. Aoki made the biggest stride of his career when he submitted the Scandinavian fi ghter with a gogoplata. Not only is it a very diffi cult submission to utilize, but Aoki’s maneuver was considered the fi rst successful gogoplata performed in MMA competition.
The impressive victory put the Japanese fi ghter on the map, but he didn’t stop there. Aoki continued to compile victories, including the most signifi cant win of his career: an odds-defying unanimous decision over the highly-regarded Gesias “JZ” Calvancante. At DREAM 4, Aoki submitted Katsuhiko Nagata with a gogoplata from the top mount position, another fi rst in MMA.
Shinya Aoki remains undefeated since 2005, and is riding an eleven-fi ght winning streak. Tobikan Judan continues to amaze fans with his grappling-infused style and his penchant for pulling guard. When fans hear his theme song Baka Survivor, they get excited, wondering if they will be graced with another display of submission brilliance from the man in yellow spandex.