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In the latest iteration of MMA’s most time-honored trope, grappler will meet striker on Oct. 24 when Dream lightweight titleholder Shinya Aoki faces former boxing and muay Thai champion Yokthai Sithoar at Deep’s “50 Impact” in Tokyo.

Fresh off a commanding decision win over Marcus Aurelio at Dream 16 on Sept. 25, Aoki’s participation in Deep’s 10th anniversary card was confirmed Thursday at a press conference at Deep Official Gym Impact in Tokyo.

For the standout lightweight, it’s a return to his roots. The “Tobikan Judan” started his MMA career in Deep, winning the promotion’s 2003 Future King tournament at 180 pounds. It will be his first action of any kind for Deep since June 2007, when he submitted Pedro Akira in 38 seconds at the inaugural installment of the promotion’s grappling event, Deep X.

Sithoar, 35, achieved elite status in both the boxing and muay Thai rings. Sithoar won the World Boxing Association 115-pound world title in 1996, in addition to having won the 115-pound title in Thailand’s Lumpini Stadium, the nation’s most pretigious muay Thai venue.

The uncle of Shooto 115-pound world champion Rambaa Somdet, Sithoar will make his MMA debut against Aoki. Training out of his own gym, Yokthai Gym in Sendai, Japan, the Thailand native was slated to face So Tazawa in Shooto in March before a knee injury forced him out of the fight.

Also added to the Deep event was a bantamweight bout between Hiroshi Nakamura and Tatsumitsu Wada.


Yuya Shirai vs. Shigetoshi Iwase

Shinya Aoki vs. Yokthai Sithoar
Masakazu Imanari vs. Daiki Hata
Takafumi Otsuka vs. Yoshiro Maeda
Ryo Chonan vs. Jung Hwan Cha
Hiroshi Nakamura vs. Tatsumitsu Wada
Shoji Maruyama vs. Tatsunao Nagakura
Ryuta Noji vs. Hiroshi Nagao
Hidetaka Monma vs. Yoshihisa Yamamoto
Isao Terada vs. Yusaku Nakamura

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