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Saygid Izagakhmaev self proclaims as "future of ONE Championship" after blitzing Shinya Aoki

Singapore, November 22: Saygid Izagakhmaev sent another stark warning to ONE Championship's lightweight division at ONE 163: Akimoto vs. Petchtanong this past weekend.

The Russian phenom stopped Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki with strikes inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday, November 19, to score his third win in as many fight and continue his march toward a shot at the division's top prize.

Izagakhmaev was clinical as he stalked Aoki around the Circle, eventually backing him up to the fence and uncorking a huge right hand that dropped the 39-year-old veteran to the canvas.

The Dagestani rushed in with heavy ground-and-pound from there to close out the action after just 86 seconds of the opening round.

The victory over the former ONE Lightweight World Champion was no small feat, but Izagakhmaev made it look easy, and he revealed post-fight that he had debated how to score the finish.

ONE Fight Night 4 Results and Recap: Christian Lee makes history, Rodtang Jitmuangnon dominates againONE Fight Night 4 Results and Recap: Christian Lee makes history, Rodtang Jitmuangnon dominates again

"The plan was to work with him in the striking. But in the first few minutes, when I punched him, and I saw he was shaking a little bit, I was thinking, 'Hey, should I submit him?' And I was like, 'No, let me just finish him like this'," Izagakhmaev said.

The 28-year-old powerhouse came into the weekend holding the #4-ranked spot in the stacked lightweight division, and he furthered his case for the next shot at ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee with this latest win.

Lee added the ONE Welterweight World Title to his collection at ONE Fight Night 4: Abbasov vs. Lee main event, and though Izagakhmaev stopped short of calling for a chance to take him on, he made it clear that he is coming for the coveted lightweight strap.

"Christian Lee, I mean, obviously, I'm not underestimating him. He's a great champion, and he's a champion of two divisions for a reason. But I'm here to be a champion. I'm here to get this belt. When I was signed, my first fight was against one of the best fighters in the division. So, I know what my capabilities are, and I know that I can be a champion," he said.

When quizzed about how a match with Lee would go, Khabib Nurmagomedov's protégé pointed to his result against Aoki and compared it to Lee's win over the Japanese MMA legend in 2019.

"Christian Lee fought with Aoki for two rounds. I fought him in just two minutes. I think this answers that question," he said.

Although he has only fought in ONE on three occasions, Izagakhmaev holds an impressive professional record of 22-2, and he feels his future in the Singapore-based promotion is bright.

"I'm very confident. I'm a veteran in this sport. I have 24 fights in my background. I've been fighting with the best in Russia, and I've beaten them. I've been fighting with the best in the world - wrestlers, grapplers, you name it. I'm the future of ONE Championship," Izagakhmaev said.

Source: Media Release

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Story first published: Tuesday, November 22, 2022, 14:54 [IST]
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