At ONE 163, Saygid Izagakhmaev of Russia improved with his impressive body of work by winning the biggest match of his professional career. The Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki was defeated by the Russian with a first-round TKO. Saygid also received a $50,000 bonus from the CEO of ONE Championship in addition to his largest win to date.
Izagakhmaev wasted no time getting to work against an MMA great, defeating the former ONE lightweight champion in 86 seconds. Izagakhmaev delivered a strong right hand that knocked "Tobikan Judan" to the ground, making his ambitions apparent in the process.
He leaped on his opponent and continued to attack him from the ground until the referee had to intervene and call time on the fight. After his impressive victory, the Russian spoke to Mitch Chilson inside the ring and expressed his regret to Aoki for everything disparaging he had said before the brawl:
“When I said, ‘I kill you Aoki’, it’s only trash talk. Sorry guys, I love you, Aoki. I apologized to Shinya. I respect him a lot, he’s a legend, I learned a lot from him. First I thought that I should choke him out to get the bonus, but I was like ‘I’m just gonna finish it.’''
Izagakhamev is unquestionably the top contender for the lightweight world championship after going 3-0 in the ONE Championship. Christian Lee now is the reigning champion after winning two championships at ONE on Prime Video 4, which occurred shortly after ONE 163.
Despite being in unfamiliar surroundings, Saygid Izagakhmaev has a wealth of expertise on his side. He couldn't have asked for two finer role models for his future than the current and previous UFC lightweight champions, Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov, respectively. He is now a recognized championship contender.
Izagakhmaev explained what having them in his corner means to him and what he has learned from the two dominant superstars in his post-fight interview:
“These two guys have helped me a lot in my career. Everything that I do in my life, I first take advice from them. Let’s say when my opinion kind of clashes with theirs, I always follow them because they know what they’re doing. They have a huge background. Until now, whatever I have achieved in my life, this is because of them. Thanks a lot to them. And as I’ve said, I’m going to continue to follow them, and get the title.”