Shooto kicked off part 2 of their 30th anniversary tour at Tokyo’s New Pier Hall on Sunday delievering a solid 16 fight card that had a bit of everything.
The main event saw the highly respected Road to UFC veteran Tatsuya Ando take on Master Japan’s heavy hitting Tomoya Hirakawa.
Hirokawa made his intentions clear from the get-go, wanting on the inside where he needed just minimal space to land his heavy punches. In contrast Ando was working well from the outside, implementing a long straight right cross and accurate jab. Both fighters had their moments in the first but it was Hirakawa who was landing the heavier shots, buckling Ando’s legs with low kicks, backing him into the cage and bombing right and left hooks looking for the knock out. Ando scored a beautifully timed slam take down and showed great dexterity keeping back control though Hirokawa found the reversal, sprawled and took the match back to the feet. Hunting for the knockout Hirokawa threw so hard he flew off his feet. Back up and Ando whiffed a flying knee with bad intentions just past his head to end the round.
Power shots continue to be traded by both fighters to start round 2. After giving up ground to Hirokawa for much of the first round Aldo was gaining confidence in his striking. Hirokawa responded, swinging left and right hooks but Ando, taking advantage of the aggression, perfectly timed a textbook double leg takedown and passed to 1/2 guard. Pressure from Ando got him to mount and Hirokawa gave his back, a RNC secures a hard fought victory for Ando as a disappointed Hirokawa taps at 2:55 of the 2nd round.
In the co-main, Rizin, DEEP and WSOF global veteran Yusaku Nakamura faced off against BJ Penn student and X-1 Champion Rodney Mondala. Right straights for Nakamura landed early and often, his speed seemed too much for Mondala who struggled to get anything going. An increasingly sharper and more accurate Nakamura found his mark again and this time Mondala went down. Some top control and ground and pound later and the referee jumped in, Nakamura gets an impressive stoppage victory at 1:57 of the first.
Following the fight Nakamura took to the mike for a humorous and good natured complaint at his “speed” rating in the pamphlet stats. Pointing out that 2 is a strange score for him, Nakamura asked it be increased to 5 and refered to his kickboxing match with Tenshin Nasukawa as a basis for the change
In the fight of the night, Roots gym’s Taison Naito brought experience to the table as he took on new blood prospect, Tribe Tokyo’s Ryuji Kudo.
Kudo was menacing from the sound of the bell, launching everything with power he wobbled Naito with a right hook before snapping a kick to the side of his head. Naito dug deep and hung tough but the onslaught grom Kudo continued with a big double leg slam takedown and heavy ground and pound. Taison was getting steamrolled but used the cage to stand again and again he refused to stay down and survived a dominant start by the Tribe Tokyo fighter.
Naito came out for round 2 counterattacking and found his mark with lefts and rights to body and head, working low and high kicks. Kudo didn’t back down though and was content to stay in the pocket and throw left and right hooks. Both were landing but it was Kudo who was looking worse for wear, wobbling under the repeated blows. Kudo found a much needed takedown at the end of the round and finished on top.
Round 3 started and both engaged in low kick exchanges before throwing punches, Naito opened up with the offense, a kick, right hook right elbow combination got Kudo’s attention and drew out another counter takedown. Once again a scramble contest ensued and yet again Naito returned to his feet. Dirty boxing, lunging knees and consecutive right hooks hurt Kudo who cinched a single and slung Naito down. It was same story though as Naito popped back up. A brief slip from Kudo and Naito scrambled, locking a lightning quick kneebar, which was fully extended. Kudo stayed clam and worked his way out and they returned to standing. Kudo was fading and Naito turned it up, rocking Kudo with a barrage of punches against the cage, with his legs giving out Kudo hung tough. Final 10 seconds and Naito dived for a triangle choke finish but Kudo held out until the bell.
Kudo wins an highly entertaining fight by split dec, 29-28, 29-28, 29-29
Takamasu “Skinny Zombie” Kiuchi and Tomoharu Umezawa fought a spirited contest. “Skinny Zombie” wasted no time getting it to the ground, pulled guard and locked up a tight triangle, then rolled Umezawa to mounted triangle and dropped hammerfists. Umezawa stayed calm and worked his escape, raining down blows as Kiuchi looked for a leg.
With a defiant shout from Umezawa he turned it up a notch and tried to will himself into the fight. He launched barrages of strikes that hurt Kiuchi, who fired back counters and submission attempts. In the final thrilling moments Umezawa pressed his advantage and put Kiuchi on rubbery legs against the cage. “Skinny Zombie” lived up to his “Korean Zombie” inspired moniker in demonstrating a great chin and ability to take damage.
2 of the judges leaned towards Takamasu “Skinny Zombie” Kiuchi, 30-27, 29-27 with the dissenting judge scoring 28-29 for Umezawa
Kuzuma slammed his way out of an armbar attempt and delivered punishing elbows and punches to Ryuta, who was banking on his deep 1/2 guard paying off for a reversal. Kuzuma’s base and top control was too strong though and he stopped his opponent by GnP at 4:15 of round 1
Taku Kajikawa took a well deserved UD over Yuto Sekiguchi. Both fighters wasted no time exchanging heavy shots from the start, Taku was landing cleaner and more often, sending Yuto tumbling to the canvas in th 1st. While Yuto was not without success and managed take downs and reversals Taku pulled ahead with a dynamic top heavy ground game, passing between 1/2guard, guard and side control to put an exclaimation mark on the match. 20-19, 20-18, 20-18
A slip from Takeru Uchida gave Atsushi Makigaya an easy takedown from which he transitioned to back and sealed up a tight RnC. Uchida somehow resisted and escaped but found himself caught again, this time he succumbed and tapped at 3:28, round 1.
Megumi Sugimoto used her strong wrestling, strengh and conditioning to control her fight with Yoki Harada. FIghting off armbars from guard and a tight heelhook attempt, Sugimoto punished a worn down Harada who found herself caught in a tight head and arm choke as the fight ended. Sugimoto took the decision 20-18, 20-18, 20-19
Takanori Takahashi dominated the later part of the fight with Satoshi Inaba with clinches and takedowns. However, 2 of the judges felt Inaba’s power and aggression in the first was enough to warrant a split dec draw, 20-18, 19-19, 19-19
Yoshiteru Kobomura scored a big knockdown right off the bat in the first and never let up on opponent Yutaka Hoshino, grinding him down for a referee stoppage at 4:54 of the 1st
Tateyo Ino took out a game Yuya Kodama with a power striking game. Kodama was dropped and then finished with GnP at 4:45 of the 1st.
Ryuichiro Fujiko and Takeaki Kinoshita put on an very entertaining and versatile striking display, Kinoshita mixed fast and accurate axe kicks and hook kicks into his big combination attacks to rack up the points and damage. Fujiko threw in his own spinning and jumping kicks but generally kept a more bread and butter approach, dropping Kinoshita with an overhand left in the 2nd. Ultimately the judges were torn with 20-19, 19-20 and 19-19 scores for a split draw
Koji Onigami worked hard for his victory over Yusuke Matsushita, using a single leg. bodylock and sweep takedowns to pick up the split dec win. 20-18, 20-18, 19-19
Constricting top and back control ensured a UD for Yoshizumi in his battle with Iwaki with 3x 20-18 scores
A well matched Toshi Inoue and Kato Shishido fought to a majority draw, 20-19, 19-19, 19-19. Inoue kept it basic and powerful with striking and TD defense in round 1. In round 2 Shihido found his rythym and pushed the pace on a tiring Inoue.
First fight of the night saw Yasuyuki Nojiri transition from takedown to back to mount on Toshiyuki Okudaira, securing the finish with some heavy elbows 1:56 of round .