ONE FC 19 Preview – Aoki, Askren Compete in Title Bouts this Friday (Aug. 29)

ONE FC 19ONE FC has put on some interesting cards through their first 18 events, as notable fighters such as Shinya Aoki, Bibiano Fernandes, and Ben Askren have competed under the banner. However, its 19th event this Friday (August 29, 2014) seems to be the biggest yet. Not only are Aoki and Askren competing in title bouts, but the organization has a third belt on the line. On top of that, it will be the first time that ONE FC has travelled outside of South East Asia for an event, as ONE FC 19 will be held in Dubai. Capping off the card will be Shinya Aoki’s (35-6, 1 NC) first lightweight title defense. The ONE FC and DREAM lightweight champion returned to 155 in his last bout after a successful, but uninspired, foray down to featherweight. He has won five consecutive fights overall, three of which have ended in typical Aoki fashion, with a submission. The legendary grappler now has 22 submission victories in his career. In Dubai, he’ll look to add another tapout to his resume as he takes on UFC veteran Kamal Shalorus (9-3-2). Shalorus has won two consecutive bouts since signing with ONE FC. Prior to that he lost three straight in the UFC, two of which were by submission. Shalorus will have advantages in terms of pure wrestling and punching power, so it will be up to Aoki to find a way to drag this to the ground or he’ll be forced to show off his striking in this bout. The co-main event will be the bout drawing the most attention from North American fans, as Ben Askren (13-0) gets a shot at the ONE FC welterweight title, which is currently held by Nobutatsu Suzuki (11-1-2). Askren has been absolutely dominant thus far in MMA, only dropping rounds to veteran Jay Hieron in his entire career. Very few fighters are able to match his wrestling, and once on top his relentless work wears opponents out. Askren has started to show his finishing instincts in recent fights as well, earning stoppages in his last three. Suzuki was a bit of a surprise to emerge as ONE FC’s welterweight champion, as the 36-year-old dropped a bout emphatically to Keita Nakamura before signing with the promotion. A win over Phil Baroni earned him a shot at the belt against Brock Larson, and he came away with a unanimous decision, his first non-TKO victory in his career. Against Akren he’ll likely need to add another TKO to his resume in order to pick up the win, as nobody to this point has been able to outpoint or outlast the former Olympian. The third title on the line will be in the featherweight division. Koji Oishi (25-9-10) spent the majority of 2013 against Honorio Banario. First he won the ONE FC featherweight title from the Filipino fighter in May. December saw him defend the belt against Banario. Both victories came by KO. At ONE FC 19 he’ll be taking on a fighter who hasn’t been knocked out in nearly a decade, Jadamba Narantungalag (9-3). Mongolia’s foremost MMA fighter has been plagued by injuries and long layoffs in his career, but looked good in his ONE FC debut back in May, defeating Banario as well. That earned him the title shot, and the former K-1 kickboxer should provide an excellent stylistic challenge to Oishi. ONE FC 19 also features UFC veterans Roger Huerta (21-7-1, 1 NC) and James McSweeney (13-11), as they take on English prospect Christian Holley (10-0) and former HEAT champion Cristiano Kaminishi (8-1, 2 NC), respectively. While ONE FC does not have widespread availability in the US for free, it can be streamed via online pay-per-view. Viewers nearly everywhere else in the world can view the content on free TV either live or tape delayed, as they have been diligent about inserting themselves into new markets. The main card of ONE FC 19 airs live at 7am ET on Friday morning.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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