Regardless of Aoki’s disastrous rematch with Alvarez, and Huerta’s losing skid, the fact remains that Aoki vs. Huerta in One FC would have pitted the man with the most top 10 victories in the division versus the fighter who was once a breakout star and genuine Latino idol, who unfortunately lost his way. However sliced, however marketed, it would be a huge fight in the lightweight division, and highly intriguing bout stylistically at that.
But sadly, Huerta’s head being unceremoniously kicked off his shoulders nixed that potential super-fight between “names”. Zorobabel is heading back to lightweight too, but an Aoki fight is out of the question given that they are both Evolve MMA fight team members. So what now?
Huerta will undoubtedly return to lightweight. It is his natural weight, and even against Zorobabel – a man who can and will compete at lightweight – he looked undersized at 77kg. With the Aoki fight off, his options are somewhat more limited; he could look to rematch Zorobabel, but with Moreira’s career now ostensibly in the ascendancy, would Evolve and indeed One FC actually view that rematch as beneficial?
Ole Laursen is another name at lightweight, and one who, much like Huerta, can be relied on to enter the cage and produce consistently entertaining performances. But his name is being built up, and the rumour mill even picked up on whispers in the wind that his name was being quietly mentioned in the same breath as Aoki’s for a forthcoming scrap. So with a potential Aoki/Laursen bout, would it be beneficial to have Huerta sit out and fight the loser? It would give him a chance at redemption, with the clear incentive of earning a bout against the Shinya/Ole winner, and an obvious triple dose of potentially barnstorming main-events.
Jorge Masvidal’s name has been floated (yes, mostly by myself. Guilty) as a man whom it would be beneficial for One FC to pick up. He last went the distance with the #1 current lightweight in the sport, Gilbert Melendez, and is clearly an elite name. Potential bouts against the likes of Aoki, Zorobabel, Huerta and Laursen would only benefit the organisation, the division and the fans!
Former #1 ranked lightweight Tatsuya Kawajiri has looked positively monstrous at featherweight since being imperiously booted out of the lightweight ranks by Aoki and Melendez. The Japanese star is no doubt looking to become the best in a second weight class, but given his pedigree at lightweight, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to consider him as a potential opponent (and a dangerous one) for either Zorobabel or Huerta now.
The death of DREAM opens more possibilities, however. Victor now has a potentially much wider array of talent at his disposal, and at any rate, DREAM were part of the One FC Network prior to their collapse. It must be said that with featherweights Takaya and Bibiano fair game, the road is clear for the likes of Joachim Hansen, Katsunori Kikuno and Satoru Kitaoka to make the leap across. True, the latter two are still contracted to DEEP, but that shouldn’t be an impediment for what is now Asia’s première organisation, and the fights that could ensue from that scenario would be tremendous.
One thing is for sure. Zorobabel Moreira just shook the scene up, all with one soccer kick.