When the restrictions came out regarding the DREAM/K-1 mixed rules contest between DREAM champion Shinya Aoki and K-1 MAX competitor Yuichiro Nagashima hit the wire, it was safe to say that Aoki would do anything to avoid standing with Nagashima in the opening three-minute round under K-1 rules. Aoki took that to a whole new level at K-1 Dynamite!! 2010 this morning.
From the opening bell, Aoki used any tactic necessary to avoid damage. Flopping to the mat with every kick attempt, diving for the ropes, using wrestling style drop kicks, and almost taking down Nagashima at one point. It was laughable at best, and it probably didn't garner Aoki an increase in his popularity, which is already on the decline. With his strategy working perfectly to kill time, Aoki made it through the first round unscathed.
Unfortunately, Aoki didn't have an answer for what came next. In the opening seconds of round two, a round that was fought under DREAM MMA rules, Aoki moved in, shot for a takedown, and ate a brutal flying knee. He was instantly knocked out cold, and a stunned crowd cheered in approval. In a round that many felt Aoki would submit Nagashima in under one minute, Nagashima took advantage of the one moment he had before he would be smothered in Aoki's grappling ability.
We speculated before the match-up whether or not either man could gain some popularity with the crowd in the aftermath, and Nagashima may have very well boosted his presence in Japan with this win. It's especially notable due to the antics that Aoki tried to implement in the opening round, almost giving him an instant heel status for one-fight only.