Shinya Aoki faces Garry Tonon in May 26 grappling bout
As promotions such as the Eddie Bravo Invitational, Polaris and Fight to Win Pro continue to put together the biggest grappling events to date, there’s still wonder if whether or not there’s crossover to capture the attention of mainstream combat sports fans. With that in mind, ONE Championship is putting together a major match between grappling star, Garry Tonon and MMA champion, Shinya Aoki.
ONE Championship released the bout announcement via press release on Tuesday.
Tonon is an IBJJF World Champion and Pan American champion who earned his black belt under former UFC and Bellator competitor, Tom DeBlass. Tonon is a part of the Renzo Gracie – Ricardo Almeida lineage which includes a number of high-level athletes in the grappling and mixed martial arts space. Tonon is perhaps best known for his accolades in no-gi competitions where he holds wins over the likes of Vinny Magalhaes, Gilbert Burns, Dillion Danis, Marcin Held, AJ Agazarm and Beneil Dariush. His match against Rousimar Palhares in 2016 was widely considered one of the best of the year.
Aoki’s abilities as a grappler have transitioned well into the MMA space. In nearly 14 years of professional competition, the former DREAM and ONE champion has earned 25 submission victories. While he doesn’t hold the same type of grappling resume as Tonon, he has competed against men such as Kron Gracie and Roger Gracie at points in his career. He even put on a spectacle of an exhibition grappling match against Fedor Emelianenko in 2009. Aoki called Tonon out in late 2016 which started the conversation for this fight to take place.
This grappling match is set to be a part of the ONE: Dynasty of Heroes event for May 26 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The main event of the evening features budding star and women’s atomweight champion, Angela Lee as she defends her title against Istela Nunes.