Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings - Iron Sharpens Iron

Jan 7, 2009
Mixed martial arts icon Randy Couture famously said that iron sharpens iron, and a brilliant pair of Ws for Shinya Aoki and Satoru Kitaoka affirmed the axiom.

Aoki and Kitaoka -- who share time on the mat as part of an informal group of Japanese grapplers dubbed Nippon Top Team -- both turned in scintillating submissions within just days of each other, remodeling the lightweight division in the process. It took Aoki just 92 seconds to spoil a sensational 2008 campaign for Eddie Alvarez with a nasty heel hook at K-1 “Premium 2008 Dynamite” on New Year’s Eve. Four days later, Kitaoka needed less than two minutes to Achilles lock former divisional king Takanori Gomi to the fringes of relevance and claim Sengoku’s lightweight title.

Kitaoka was not the only fighter to claim Sengoku gold, however. Jorge Santiago continued his outstanding winning streak, as he chalked up his ninth straight stoppage with a thrilling come-from-behind submission against Kazuo Misaki and took the upstart Japanese promotion’s middleweight crown. His run has all but erased memories of the back-to-back knockout losses that ousted him from the UFC.

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