Evolve pushing for Aoki featherweight chance

Evolve MMA CEO Chatri Sityodtong is in talks with One FC to put Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki on the card for Total Domination in the featherweight division.

Heath Sims, Shinya Aoki and Chatri Sityodong

Aoki won the belt in April's Kings & Champions event where he decimated Kotetsu Boku over two rounds and underlined his reputation as one of Asia's best MMA fighters. 

However, rumours have emerged since then that Aoki is looking to drop down to the featherweight division and Evolve have confirmed that they are actively talking to the organisation in order to let him compete in the lower weight class. 

As the reigning champion, Aoki would be expected to defend his title in a lightweight contest but it is understood that Evolve are keen to develop the aspirations of other fighters on their roster such as Zorobabel Moreira and Eddie Ng. 

The news of the Japanese submission specialist's decision has already reached the ears of One FC Interim Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes who is keen to face him as he told MMAFighting.com: "Brazilians have never defeated Aoki (in MMA), so I like the challenge." 

Fernandes would have to move up a division to face Aoki but he already has a commitment in a fight against Soo-chul Kim on October 18 at Total Domination in Singapore in order to decide the undisputed bantamweight champion. 

Chatri, however, is keen to see Aoki step into the cage on the night and gave a strong hint that the former Dream Lightweight champion could take part in a featherweight bout. 

"I think [One FC CEO] Victor Cui wants Shinya to defend his title at lightweight," he told FOX Sports

"Shinya wants to drop to featherweight and I want to see that too because I think he is going to be amazing there - look how big he already is and the size advantage he will have

"I really hope that Shinya's next fight is going to be at featherweight. We are still pushing Victor to put Shinya on the card for October 18. You can never know what can happen. 

"Shinya is moving permanently to Singapore in September as well. You're definitely going to see some other Japanese superstars moving to Singapore to join the Evolve fight team as well. 

"I expect Shinya to fight soon. We don't have a fight set up yet for Shinya but we're pushing hard to get him on the October 18 card." 

Chatri will have three members of his fight team in action at the next One FC event in Jakarta as well. Jake Butler will fight Canada's James Kouame while Almiro Barros and Bruno Pucci are set to carry out their One FC debuts in the flyweight division. 

The 42-year-old is confident that his three charges will do the Singapore gym proud at Champions & Warriors and outlined that Pucci and Barros also mark Evolve's readiness to tackle the flyweight division. 

"For sure, we are sending Almiro and Bruno to give it a go at the flyweight division at One FC. My dream would be to have champions in all the weight divisions five years from now," he continued. 

"They're both young fighters, very early in their MMA careers but [head coach] Heath [Sims] and I always assess fighters on their skill-bases. 

"We don't want them to go in there ill-equipped and now we feel that Almiro's striking is as good as his wrestling and Bruno, a world champion in no-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu, has also hit the level where he's good in all the different skill sets. 

"We are ready to push them into the fire, so to speak." 

One FC will next have a promotion on September 13 which will be headlined by a flyweight bout between Phuket Top Team's Andrew Leone and Japanese flyweight veteran Shinichi Kojima. 



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