Korakuen Hall, the mecca for fight sports in Japan hosts Shooto 30th anniversary part 7 this Sunday. Sponsored by One Championship, Shooto has been gaining ground in the JMMA world and Sunday showcases another fantastic 9 bout card.
The main event sees an explosive bantamweight title fight as Ryo Okada clashes with Tatsuya Ando. Both fighters have a dynamic, athletic flair and both are riding 5 fight win streaks.
To retain his bantamweight title Ryo Okada will look to get his power striking game going. A balanced approach will likely serve him best as flying knees and exploding forward will give Ando takedown opportunities. Known for his striking Okada is also very versatile and grappling savy, especially from top position with ferocious ground and pound.
While Tatsuya Ando is constantly improving as an mma fighter his strengths are still his elite level wrestling and heavy positional game. He can pull off cartwheel guard passes and dynamic transitions because he he is very comfortable in grappling scrambles and more often than not will secure dominant positions. His finishing move is the rear naked choke, usually after heavy ground and pound. Both fighters will desperately want to avoid being on their backs, striking advantage goes to Okada and wrestling Ando although the difference may not be as much as expected.
For the co-main event “Streetfight Bancho” Hiroyuki Takaya returns to his Shooto roots after a 12 year abscence. Takaya has 16 years of experience spanning 12 promotions, 39 fights and 3 weight classes. Fearsome KO prowess combined with solid takedown defense, Takaya is still a fromidable opponent to face and will apply the pressure from the get-go.
Standing across from Takaya, Yutaka Saito is no pushover, he possesses experience, and he has fought and won at a championship level. The Paraestra Koiwa fighter has already taken out a big name veteran in Kaoru Uno and will aim to topple another in Takaya. Safe to say Saito will definitely want to take the fight to the ground as Takaya searches for the KO.
Mamoru Uoi continues to terrorize with his “full swing” power punches and will be hoping to cap it off with a big KO of grappler Takumi Tamaru. Uoi rides a 4 fight win streak with 3 finishes and carries a well-deserved 3rd place ranking. A combination of heart, toughness, power and timing makes Aoi a daunting opponent to face.
Owning big wins over quality Uoi`s opponent Takumi Tamaru will not be intimidated, and he possesses the kind of grappling that could cause problems for Uoi. I feel Tamaru may end up pulling guard or looking for an unorthodox entry to get pass the “full swings”. This fight will be an exciting clash of styles and the fighter that dictates the pace will have the best chance to succeed.
Prolific finisher of late, Ryohei “Ken Asuka” Kurosawa puts his impressive 12-1 record on the line against the well-rounded Ryosuke Honda. “Ken Asuka” is a former title holder but Honda is ranked 3 places higher at 5th. Expect a war as 2 high ranked strawweight contenders clash to see who takes next step up the ladder.
Michael “Baby Godzilla” Nakagata made an impact in his Shooto debut, tearing through Masatoshi Abe with accurate and deadly striking. Nakagata looks a prospect at 115lbs and will be eager to test himself against Junji “Sarumaru” Ito. A decorated wrestling background combined with Gracie JuJitsu and high level striking, “Baby Godzilla” is one to keep an eye on.
Junji “Sarumaru” Ito has a wealth of experience to draw upon and he will need it to grab a victory. Ito’s best option may be to slow the pace and drag Nakagata into deep water in the later rounds.
Nobuki Fujii has faced the better opposition than his opponent Saito Tsubasa. While Fujii has fallen short against elite opponents he has proven very durable and competitive while going the distance. He has also shown he is capable of putting away prospects and veterans and will be hunting for victory on Sunday.
Saito Tsubasa has been on a tear, undefeated in his last 8 he will carry a lot of confidence on Sunday. Fujii will be a step up in competition for Saito who will attemt to rise to the challenge and solidify his record further.
Sunday also features 2 ladies matches each taking place with different implications. Where the winner of Megumu Sugimoto and Kyu Kitano will take an important step forward in the rankings, Yoki Harada and Satomi Hirose will be battling to get into the win column.
The opening match features some “unfinished business” between Yoshiteru “Teru” Kubomura and Takeaki Kinoshita. A knee to the head of grounded opponent brought a premature end to their last encounter and both will meet again for a decisive victory.