Professional Shooto 2020/01/26 Preview

Shooto returns to Korakuen hall on the 26th for Professional Shooto 2020 Sponsored by One for a card that concludes with 2 championship fights. The vacant Strawweight belt goes on the line and the Pacific Rim featherweight Champion will also be up for grabs. In addition, high ranked fighter clash in pivotal fights to determine who will climb one step closer to top, Amateur Shooto Champions continue their journey in the professional circuit, plus the Women’s Atomweight Championship sees another important bout.

Contesting for the Strawweight belt will be a battle of the 1st and 2nd ranked in the division as Koha “Hiroba” Minowa and Yohei Komaki face off. Coming off a lightning fast TKO of Tadaaki Yamamoto, Komaki has 2 of his 3 losses to Minowa and will relish the opportunity for revenge. Fighting out of the long running STF gym, Minowa has an impressive resume, with all 10 of his wins coming by way of stoppage, he has never been finished. It may seem an uphill battle for Komaki but with 4 of his 5 wins coming inside the distance the fight has all the ingredients for a highlight reel finish!

Representing TK68 gym in Osaka, heavy handed Pacific Rim Champion Mitsuhiro Toma will put his belt on the line against the grappling intensity of Tsudanuma Dojo’s Takashi Nakayama. Since his loss to Nakayama, Toma has amassed a 5-1 record over the divisions top, most recently snapping the 8 fight undefeated streak of Akira Takano. Nakayama notched up a slick rear naked choke over Toma 3 years ago but has stumbled slightly on route to the title. With a spectacular win over Jin Aoi, another trademark rear naked choke, Nakayama then secured a decision against rugged 35 fight veteran Satoshi Inaba to earn his number 2 ranking and a punch his ticket to title contention.

Fighting out of Wajutsu Keishukai Hearts/ Gonz gym, 5th ranked Mamoru “Fullswing” Uoi squares off against the relentless Motonobu Tezuka. Uoi will want to rebound from a razor thin loss to Takumi Tamaru last outing and land his signature “Fullswing” hooks on route to victory. Veteran of 53 fights and victorious in his last 2, the durable Tezuka has “seen it all” and will not be intimidated. While the gritty Kobra Kai fighter has the kind of grappling hustle that can stifle the Uoi onslaught, he also possesses the striking skills to make for an entertaining brawl.

4 ranked Takumi Tamaru has defied expectations and taken out some of the very best. Riding a 3 fight win streak with huge wins over Yosuke Saruta and Mamoru Uoi the Nascer Do Sol representative has the title firmly in sight. Tamaru will need to get past the 8 ranked Nobuki Fujii. Fighting out of TK Kosaka’s Alliance gym, Fujii’s rather modest 20-10-3 record doesn’t do him justice, he has fought the divisions best and has yet to be finished. Riding a 2 fight streak with a stoppage of former champion Keita Ishibashi in the dying seconds of the last round, Fujii can never be counted out.

2 fighters from the Philippines return to test their skills against top talent from Japan. Team Lakai’s Jerome “Torogi” Wanawan seeks to avenge his loss last outing to Ryohei Kurosawa. The Filipino has drawn another tough opponent in Junji “Sarumaru” Ito. A well rounder training out of Shooting Gym Yokohama, “Sarumaru” went to war with top prospect Michael Nakagawa last outing to earn a split decision draw.

Jared Ryan Almazan also had a disappointing Shooto debut last year but can have confidence in taking Koha Minowa into the 3rd round. The challenge continues for Almazan who may find himself in deep water once again against the undefeated Tatsuro Taira. The paraestra Okinawa combatant has finished 4 of 5, most recently dismantling the solid Yamato Takagi by ground and pound in the first.

Sunday will see the women’s Atomweight Tournament progress with the debut of one to keep an eye on. Decorated Judoka Saori Oshima started Judo when she was just 3 years old and only recently moved to mma, turning pro after only 6 months. Adapting her Judo to mma under tutelage of fight guru Abe, Oshima took 1st in the all Japan Amateur Shooto Atomweight Championships. Standing across from her in the cage will be Okinawa prefectures 1st pro female Shooter, Yuki Ono stepping in as a replacement for team Lakai’s Zephania Ngaya, who had problems securing a VISA in time. While Ono also competed in the All Japan Amateur Atomweight Championship, taking 3rd place, this will be the first time the 2 fighters have met in the cage.

Fighting out of Wajutsu Keishukai Hearts, Takeaki Kinoshita scored his first pro win last outing and will want to ride the momentum of his 1st round tko finish. His opponent, Takahide Kobayashi brings a lot of experience to the table, the UNDER GROUND gym member is 5-6-5 overall and coming off a win and a draw. Both will be hungry to make an impression and further advance in the division.

A late starter to mma, AACCs Masato Iguchi emerged as the all Japan Amateur Shooto Middleweight Tournament Champion 2 years ago. In Harley “The Dundee Kid” Behan, Iguchi faces a rematch of the tournament finals where he sealed victory with a tight head and arm choke over the Neo Judo practitioner. The match will crown the Shooto Rookie tournament Champion which has historically been a solid indicator of future prospects.

About the Author

Peter Leghorn
Writer and photographer sharing my passion for Martial Arts.

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