This Article is by Mark Chinnery and posted with his permission.
April 23 is a significant landmark on the map of Professional Shooto in Japan because it was on this day last year that Japanese Shooto was first televised live worldwide via UFC Fight Pass. So, it is only fitting that we go back to the Maihama Amphitheater this April 23 for Professional Shooto 4/23 and what a card we have. Of course, the bout that is on everyone’s lips is the World title fight pitting the champion Yutaka Saito vs the living legend & crowd favorite, Caol Uno. However, there are plenty of other fights on the card to wet the taste buds. 13 bouts in all. I will be calling the fights, along with Enson Inoue & Mizuka Koike. So, if you can’t make it to the Maihama Ampitheater, be sure to tune in, link as below.
Card is as follows (in chronological order):
Morishiman vs. Kota Shishido (Lightweight div, 2 x 5min rounds)
Shishido makes his pro debut and it will be an uphill battle to overcome the experience of Morishiman (5-2), although the latter hasn’t fought in a year.
Takashi Nakayama vs. Derricott Kento Yamamoto (Featherweight div., 2 x 5 min rounds)
A mixture in styles will add to the intrigue surrounding this fight. Nakayama will likely be attempting to take this to the ground while Yamamoto will come out swinging, looking for an early night.
Ryuta Umishita vs. Akira Enomoto (Bantamweight div., 3 x 5 min rounds)
Umishita (2-4-4) has a poor record and he will see this fight as an opportunity to right the ship with Enomoto only having had a handful of fights in his pro career. However, Umishita won’t have it all his own way. Should be a close one.
Kanamonoya no Hide vs. Takahiro Ichijo (Bantamweight div., 3 x 5 min rounds)
Kanamonoya (5-8-7) won last up and will be looking to record his first winning streak but Ichijo, the 2016 rookie of the year, is on a run of 6 consecutive wins and his confidence will be sky high.
Ryo Okada vs. Tristan Grimsley (Bantamweight div., 3 x 5min rounds)
Okada will be fighting for the first time since losing the title fight to champion Keita Ishibashi – his first loss in almost 3 years. He would have to fancy his chances against Grimsley who is on a 3-match slide, not having won in over 2 years.
Yoichi Fukumoto vs. Naoyuki Kotani (Lightweight div., 3 x 5min rounds)
A battle of the veterans. Which Kotani will we see – the one that lost his latest 4 fights or the one that won 13 in a row before that?
Yosuke Saruta vs Hiroba Minowa (Strawweight div., 3 x 5min rounds)
After a disappointing draw in the title eliminator last up, Saruta will be looking to more aggressive this time up against the undefeated Minowa. Minowa is 5-0 but Saruta is no chump and this fight represents a big step up in class. Interesting to see if Minowa can maintain his clean slate.
Ryuto Sawada vs Takamasa Kiuchi (Strawweight div., 3 x 5min rounds)
Sawada is no stranger to UFC Fight Pass fans, this being his 3rd televised fight for a 1-1 record & Kiuchi (10-7-2) should give him a run for his money as he seeks his 4th straight win. This fight should be on a knife’s edge.
Hiromasa Ogikubo vs Danny Martinez (Flyweight div., 3 x 5min rounds)
The champion Ogikubo was most impressive in his demolition of then-champ Masaaki Sugawara at this venue exactly 1 year ago. Meanwhile, Martinez seems to have gone into his shell having recorded 4-3 in his last 7 fights with all 7 coming by way of decision but with a wealth of experience to draw from, he won’t be a pushover. This is a non-title fight.
Yutaka Saito vs. Caol Uno (Featherweight div., 5 x 5min rounds)
The main event, a clash for the Shooto World Featherweight title, with the champ Saito in decline having lost 2 in a row and he won’t have any breathing space here, with the veteran Uno keen to add to his wealth of accolades. This represents the 1st World title fight for Uno in 17 years!!. Can Saito turn it around or will Uno answer the calls of the crowd? Tune in to find out!!