This Week’s MMA Birthdays: Shinya Aoki Turns 31

By Brian Knapp May 3, 2014
Japanese submission savant Shinya Aoki turns 31 this week. | Photo: Dave Mandel/

Long viewed as one of the most dangerous and effective submission fighters in mixed martial arts, former Dream and Shooto champion Shinya Aoki will celebrate his 31st birthday on May 9.

The reigning One Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder, Aoki has won 15 of his last 17 bouts, losing only to two-time Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez and current Bellator MMA champion Eddie Alvarez. A black belt in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, “Tobikan Judan” has secured 23 of his 35 career victories by submission and has ended 20 fights inside one round. Wins over Alvarez, Joachim Hansen (twice), Tatsuya Kawajiri, “Razor” Rob McCullough, Vitor Ribeiro and Kotetsu Boku anchor his lengthy resume. In more than a decade as a professional mixed martial artist, Aoki has never suffered consecutive defeats.

Aoki last appeared at an Inoki Genome Federation event on New Year’s Eve, when he needed less than a minute -- 49 seconds, to be exact -- to submit Toshikatsu Harada with a triangle armbar at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.

Those in MMA celebrating a birthday during the week covering May 4-May 10:


Alex Schoenauer (38)
Steve Steinbeiss (33)
Lukasz Bugara (28)


Frank Trigg (42)
Kurt Pellegrino (35)


Jorge Patino (41)
Caol Uno (39)
Tatsuya Kawajiri (36)
Manny Gamburyan (33)
Mikey Gomez (32)
Danillo Villefort (31)


Spencer Fisher (38)
Antwain Britt (36)
Shinya Aoki (31)

MAY 10

Anthony Perosh (42)

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