Shooto gave a fitting sendoff to Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto last night in a finish-heavy event at a packed out Korakuen Hall. Following a video tribute and a minute’s silence for the MMA pioneer who last week lost his battle with cancer, the audience were unusually raucous from the fighter introductions through to the comparatively tepid main and co-main bouts.
In the main event, featherweight champion Mitsuhiro Toma eschewed his usual aggressive approach in a non-title match with veteran striker ‘Lion’ Takeshi Inoue. Given Inoue’s dangerous counter punching it was perhaps a wise decision but the result was a clear if uneventful decision victory for former champion and Dream standout ‘Lion’ Takeshi, who outworked the champion using feints and occasional scrambles against the cage, cementing the win with heavy takedowns in each round. Toma’s only answers were to briefly threaten with a knee-bar in the first and attempt to take a leg from butterfly guard in the third.
The co-main saw Yuta Nezu use distance control and sporadic low and middle kicks to take the first and second rounds from Master Japan’s Tomoya Hirakawa, who used more urgent forward pressure in the third to threaten with a takedown and brief mount after landing the biggest punch of the match, but ultimately couldn’t do enough to turn the judges’ decision.
Further down the card, the entertainment was non-stop. Keita Ishibashi used powerful cage wrestling to set up a dominant performance against a technical and incredibly tough, but ultimately outmatched Drex Zamboanga. Coming close with numerous rear-naked chokes and landing heavy ground-and-pound throughout, Ishibashi was only denied the finish by some impressive escapes from his game Filipino opponent.
Powerhouse striker Nobumitsu ‘Tyson’ Osawa overcame a bizarre point penalty for styling his hair with wax in a typically colourful entrance, softening his opponent Yu Tanaka with painful outside calf kicks before finishing the fight inside three minutes with a brutal right hook and follow up punches on the ground.
At the halfway point of the event, Kiyotaka Shimizu put a decisive stamp on his flyweight tilt against Hayato Ishii, exploding into life in the last minute after a long first-round feeling-out process and scoring two knockdowns on the way to a KO finish at 4:11 of round one.
Elsewhere on the card, Mamoru ‘Full Swing’ Uoi lived up to his name with a big left hook KO on Taiki Tsuchiya at the start of the 2nd round, Hiroba Minowa survived several submission attempts from Yohei Komaki to win via ground punches in the first, Sarah Jane McCann utilized crisp one-twos and solid takedown defence to take a comfortable decision victory over Ibu Takamori, and Tsubasa Saito used relentless ground and pound to open up Hiroshi Mizushima for the rear-naked choke finish at the start of round 2.
Takeshi Inoue def. Mitsuhiro Toma via UD (3R5:00)
Yuta Nezu def. Tomoya Hirakawa via UD (3R5:00)
Keita Ishibashi def. Drex Zamboanga via UD (5:00)
Nobumitsu Osawa def. Yu Tanaka via KO (1R2:40)
Kiyotaka Shimizu def. Hayato Ishii via KO (1R4:11)
Mamoru Oui def. Taiki Tsuchiya via KO (2R 1:30)
Hiroba Minowa def. Yohei Komaki via TKO (1R4:36)
Sarah Jane McCann def. Ibu Takamori via UD (2R5:00)
Tsubasa Saito def. Hiroshi Mizushima via RNC (2R2:03)