Shinya Aoki secured a victory by submitting late-notice replacement John Lineker in an openweight bout. Originally slated to face Sage Northcutt in a 170-pound match, Aoki showcased his grappling prowess against the Brazilian Lineker, who stepped in due to unforeseen circumstances with Northcutt’s cornermen.
Despite Lineker’s unannounced entry and weighing in at 151 pounds, significantly lighter than Aoki, the Japanese veteran dominated the fight. Aoki, nearly 20 pounds heavier than Lineker, effortlessly imposed his game on the Brazilian. The grappling wizard worked from advantageous positions, ultimately securing a RNC to force Lineker to tap.
A vitória de 🇯🇵 Shinya Aoki, ex-#2 dos 70kg, sobre 🇧🇷 John Lineker, ex-#4 dos 61kg, pelo ONE 165, hoje, no Japão. Lineker substituiu 🇺🇲 Sage Northcutt com 1 hora de aviso prévio após Sage recusar lutar sem o corner original, que teve problemas de visto.pic.twitter.com/MFG6M10eVS
— MMA Melotto (@MMAmelotto) January 28, 2024
This victory marked Aoki’s rebound from back-to-back stoppage losses, solidifying his resilience and skill set. The defeat ended Lineker’s two-fight winning streak at bantamweight.
In another notable matchup, Japanese legend Yoshihiro Akiyama faced Nieky Holzken in a mixed rules contest. The unique format included rounds with boxing rules, Muay Thai rules, and finally, full MMA rules. Unfortunately for Akiyama, he succumbed to Holzken in under two minutes by stoppage.
The penultimate MMA clash featured Garry Tonon, who secured a career-defining victory by tapping former ONE champion Martin Nguyen with a rear-naked choke in under one round. Tonon’s impressive performance earned him a $50,000 bonus.