Shinya Aoki and Ben Askren Part of Four Championship Bouts Booked for ONE FC in Dubai

July 3, 2014
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Ben Askren - ONE FC 16From putting together events in Taiwan and Cambodia to announcing ten shows a year in mainland China, it’s been a hectic few weeks for ONE FC, but even by those standards Thursday’s announcement was a little bit special.

On Aug. 29, ONE FC is heading to the 12,000-capacity World Trade Centre Arena in Dubai for a show that will feature no fewer than four title fights with Shinya Aoki defending his lightweight title against Kamal Shalorus and Ben Askren challenging Nobutatsu Suzuki for his welterweight belt.

Aoki (35-6-1) will be making the first defense of the title he won by submitting Kotetsu Boku at ONE FC: Kings & Champions over a year ago. He faces a tough test against UFC and WEC veteran Kamal Shalorus (9-3-2), who has been in with some of the best in the division and is known for his wrestling prowess.

Aoki is riding a five-fight win streak and is 4-0 for ONE FC, while Shalorus is 2-0 under the banner of Asia’s biggest MMA promotion having claimed unanimous decision wins over Eduard Folayang and Ariel Sexton.

Suzuki (11-1-2) claimed the 170-pound crown with a hard fought decision win over Brock Larson at ONE FC: War of Nations earlier this year, but the once beaten Japanese Karate champion faces a massive test against undefeated Ben Askren (13-0).

Askren made short work of Bakhtiyar Abbasov at ONE FC: Honor & Glory earlier this year and will be looking to cement his belief that he is the best welterweight on the planet by beating Suzuki and winning a second MMA title after becoming Bellator’s 170-pound champion very early in his career.

ONE FC featherweight champion Koji Oishi will also put his belt on the line against an unannounced opponent. Oishi is likely to face the winner of the title eliminator between Eric Kelly and Rob Lisita in Taiwan, if the winner emerges unscathed.

The other belt to be contested will be the vacant middleweight championship. Although the challengers have not been announced, Leandro Ataides is believed to be in line for a 185-pound title shot after stopping two seasoned veterans in impressive style in his two ONE FC fights to date. There are, however, no obvious candidates on the existing roster to face him.

ONE FC: War of Nations next week marks the promotion’s first foray into Chinese territory with an event in Beijing earmarked for September and a card in Phnom Penh confirmed for the same month.

The Aug. 29 event in Dubai will be ONE FC’s first step into the Middle East and with four title fights, which include appearances by marquee stars Askren and Aoki, it looks set to be the most eagerly anticipated card in the promotion’s three year history.

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  • onepunch

    Yeppi. One FC is now the undisputed second largest mma promotion on a global scale. To set foot into a big arena in your first event in a regional market that you have not gone to is no easy task. But to have the bold and audacity to put on 4 title fights is one event will make you stand out with the can do attitude. It is by far their biggest event and the local crowd will warm to them. They will put some local fighters in the card or those from Egypt as they have done in past events. After the initial event, those who attend or watch would want more, therefore resulting in higher attendance and tv viewership in subsequent events thereafter. The reason is simple, people like to watch entertaining and exciting fights first and foremost. One FC does that in abundance due to its ruleset. I’m sure, it will be shown on TV locally and with the local and expat community in Dubai, this event is a hit with the crowd. Seeing is believing. Some may choose to turn a blind eye, whilst others will choose to experience. In life you need to experience before judging and without the experience you are missing out.

  • TheCerealKiller

    Amazing card! I just hope Ben gets into the UFC so I don’t have to wake up at odd times to watch these fights.