While the submission in of itself wasn’t a gogoplata, or an omaplata, or even a flying arm bar, it was an impressive submission victory nonetheless.
The “Baka Survivor” Shinya Aoki has long been reveered as one of the top lightweight fighters in the world, having defeated a bevy of the sports elite fighters, including the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Joachim Hansen (to name a few), he has not been able to make his mark over here in the United States.
Aoki had his chance this past Saturday when he reentered the Strikeforce cage for the second-time, taking on then 16-1 lightweight prospect in Lyle Beerbohm on the main-card of the Showtime televised card. And though many were banking on Beerbohm to record the upset win, Aoki proved his naysayers wrong as managed to make successful second-first impression, earning his first win under the Strikeforce banner.
Beerbohm looked to have a premeditated game plan in line for the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu specialist, which initially he had hoped to emulate the style of Gilbert Melendez, who soundly defeated the DREAM lightweight champion in April of last year with a unanimous decision win. However, Lyle mad a critical error early on that proved detrimental in the later moments of the bout.
Lyle immediately shot into the clinch against the Judo black belt, pressing him against the cage where Aoki waited patiently for the right moment to engage Beerbohm to the mat. After faking a hip toss, Aoki turned into Lyle and out grappled “Fancy Pants” to the mat with an effective takedown which landed him into half-guard. From there, Aoki was able to secure the neck of Lyle who was attempting to get back to his feet, and once both hooks were sunk in, Shinya immediately began attacking the neck, contorting Lyle’s head in a very uncomfortable position. Just a few short moments later, Beerbohm was forced to tap from the neck-crank submission, and with the win, Aoki put himself back on the map in the Strikeforce lightweight class.
While not one of his best submission wins, what was impressive was the fact that, despite the tragedies facing him and his family in his native Japan, Aoki was able to record a submission win (which took just 93-seconds) over a very-talented Beerbohm upon his reentry into the U.S. on the heels of one of the worst natural disasters in recent history.
Hat’s off to you, Mr. Aoki.
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