• Shinya Aoki gets his wish to finally face Akiyama
  • Akiyama remains upbeat about his chances against Aoki
  • Both Japanese fighters will be out to prove who is better at ONE X on March 26

Two of the biggest names in Japanese mixed martial arts (MMA) are set to collide at the highly-anticipated ONE X, which is set to take place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on March 26.

In an official social media post, ONE Championship announced that Shinya Aoki and Yoshihiro Akiyama have agreed to settle their score inside the cage, one that should provide explosive MMA action in Singapore.

On one end is Aoki, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who is considered one of the best fighters of the modern era.

His record speaks for itself, being a two-time ONE lightweight champion and who is currently on a four-fight winning streak.

Aoki is currently ranked No. 3 in the lightweight division and will try to make it five in a row. However, that next will have to be at the expense of his countryman.

“I hate you all the time,” Aoki was quoted saying in his native tongue.

For his part, Akiyama has also established himself as one of the icons of the sport, using his mastery of judo and striking to decimate anyone who stood in his way.

He is a K1 Hero Light Heavyweight Grand Prix winner and has 15 wins under his belt.

One thing that critics are wary about is the age difference. Akiyama is already 46 years old, eight years older than Aoki. Regardless, “Sexyama” is unfazed.

“I’m old. I can’t move. But wait,” Akiyama stated in a message that was posted on Twitter.

This is a dream match that Aoki had wanted since April 2021, calling out Akiyama after submitting Filipino superstar Eduard Folayang in their rubber match at ONE on TNT 4.

“Tobikan Judan” issued a challenge again at Road To ONE: Sexyama Edition in October of last year.

Following his grappling match opposite Shutaro Debana on the aforementioned card, Aoki grabbed the mic and demanded Akiyama to tell him why he declined a previous offer to fight.

It just so happened that Akiyama was doing commentary at that time and explained that the reason he declined was due to a torn muscle as well as some other factors.

“The reason I declined was that I tore a muscle. Along with the doctor’s orders, there were other factors that went into declining the offer. And for me, it was also very disappointing. I believe a martial artist should be standing in the ring and putting on fights. But unfortunately, after many tests, I was in a position where I couldn’t do anything but decline,” Akiyama said.

On March 26 at ONE X, Aoki will finally get his wish to get his hands on Akiyama.

Shinya Aoki faces Yoshihiro Akiyama at ONE X on Mar. 26
Shinya Aoki faces Yoshihiro Akiyama at ONE X on Mar. 26 photo from ONE Championship instagram