This article was originally written by Shooto commentator, Mark Chinnery, and used with his permission.
And here we have it – the last Professional Shooto featuring on UFC Fight Pass for 2017 and what a humdinger we have in store!! In just over a week’s time, not one, not two but 4 belts will be on the line. Makes for a rousing card! October 15th is the date and we will be covering all the action from the mecca of Shooto at the Maihama Ampitheater. 13 gripping bouts in all. I will be calling the fights, along with Enson Inoue & Mizuka Koike, and remember, you can catch all the action live on UFC Fight Pass.
Card is as follows (in chronological order):
★ Hiroba Minowa (箕輪ひろば) vs. Perry Fujii (ふじいペリー)
Strawweight div., 2 x 5 min rounds
There is no shame losing to title fighter Yosuke Saruta but Minowa will be keen to redeem his 1st professional loss. Having beaten journeyman Fujii previously, he’ll be supremely confident of righting the ship.
★ Sarah (セラ) vs. Young Ji Kim (キム・ヨンギ)
2 x 5 min rounds
Enson will have a vested interest in this bout as his prodigy makes her Shooto debut against a fellow Shooto debutante in Young Ji Kim. May have to leave the commentary over to Enson for this one.
★ Uoi Fullswing (魚井フルスイング) vs Akuri Ronda (論田 愛空隆)
Bantamweight div., 3 x 5min rounds
Fullswing has been one of the more impressive fighters over the last 2 years & surely his title chance must be just around the corner. Ronda has shot up the ranks of late with two impressive KO wins within 10secs & 15secs respectively. This will come down to who secures the clean hit first.
★ Hayato (覇彌斗) vs. Hiroshi Roppongi (六本木 洋) Flyweight div., 3 x 5 min rounds
Having virtually swept aside all before him previously, Hayato looked one-dimensional in his last up fight against main event title contender Onibozu. He has a chance to reset himself here against the veteran Roppongi who sports a losing record.
★ Kazuma Sone (祖根 寿麻) vs. Kiteretsu (奇天烈)
Bantamweight div., 3 x 5 min rounds
Sone is not new to UFC Fight Pass viewers having succumbed to a deep cut from a Shoko Sato elbow earlier this year. His opponent, Kiteretsu, failed in his 1st big test against Tyson, having fought essentially 2nd tier fighters previously. He gets another opportunity here on the biggest stage.
★ Yuki Okano (岡野裕城) vs Shingo Suzuki (鈴木慎吾) Lightweight div., 3 x 5min rounds
This could go either way, but Suzuki would have the bigger point to prove having come over from Pancrase & boasting he would dominate Shooto, only to crumple to the canvas in his debut fight. He had better watch his chin with 7 of his 11 losses coming by way of KO but don’t be surprised if he starts swinging again from the outset regardless.
★ Yuki Kawana (川名雄生) vs. Naoyuki Kotani (小谷直之) Lightweight div., 3 x 5min rounds
This is a non-title fight but it may as well be for the crown. Fresh off his title victory last time up, it was the Champion who sounded Kotani out (not vice versa) and Kotani has never shirked any fight or fighter in his storied career. Full marks to Kawana for taking on the best but he may have been better advised to cool his heels & enjoy his reign before taking on his nemesis. Only time will tell if this was a sound judgment or not.
★ Koshi Matsumoto (松本 光史) vs. Nobumitsu Tyson (大尊伸光)
Lightweight div, 3 x 5 min rounds
The current world Shooto welterweight champion is fighting for the first time in over a year but he better be on his toes from the word go as he takes on the unorthodox Tyson who will be out to present a victory to his newlywed wife. This is a non-title bout.
★ Yusaku Nakamura (中村優作) vs. Riley Dutro (ライリー・ドゥトロ) Flyweight div., 3 x 5min rounds
Having fought & won against a number of Western fighters in the past, Nakamura won’t be overawed against Dutro. Dutro, on the other hand, is fighting for the 1st time away from the United States so it will be interesting to see how he handles the logistics.
★ Ryogo Takahashi (高橋遼伍) vs Jin Aoi (青井人)
Featherweight div., 3 x 5min rounds
Takahashi puts his Pacific Rim Featherweight belt on the line against Aoi. Takahashi has had an outstanding 2 year period, assuming the title in the meantime and not exhibiting any obvious flaws. But, obviously, Aoi has spotted a chink in his armor as he attempts to arrest the belt in only his 8th professional fight. Each time Aoi fights there is a tendency to think he may be overmatched but he continues to surprise. What’s to say he wont do it again here?!
★ Ryuto Sawada (澤田龍人) vs Yosuke Saruta (猿田洋佑)
Strawweight div., 5 x 5min rounds
Sawada will take on Saruta for the vacant World Strawweight Title, with both fighters deserving of their chance. With similar fighting styles, let’s hope that they don’t cancel each other out. Saruta fought to a lame draw against Sarumaru at his previous opportunity in the title eliminator so I’m sure the crowd will see the best of his abilities this time round.
★ Shoko Sato (佐藤将光) vs Keita Ishibashi (石橋圭太)
Bantamweight div., 5 x 5min rounds
Round 2 of this highly anticipated matchup, with the World Bantamweight Title up for grabs. Ishibashi could be considered a little lucky to hold on for a draw in their last bout having seemingly absorbing more punishment than his opponent & it will be interesting to see if a different strategy is employed here to ensure a clear cut winner.
★ Hiromasa Ogikubo (扇久保博正) vs Onibozu (オニボウズ)
Flyweight div., 5 x 5min rounds
Ogikubo puts his belt on the line against number 1 contender Onibozu. It is hard to judge Onibozu’s chances based on his last fight where he was on his bicycle for most of the bout to avoid Hayato’s repeated takedown attempts but he has obvious pedigree with a 6-match winning streak. Ogikubo seems to think he will make light work of his opponent but he oughtn’t be too overconfident because Onibozu will make him pay.
So, make sure you tune in to UFC Fight Pass on October 15th. You won’t see another card like it in a while so don’t miss it.
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