Shooto 2020 volume 3 Preview

Shooto 2020 volume 3 marks the return of mma in Japan following the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. With a fight card well worth the wait Shooto 2020 volume 3 will kick off live on Abema TV 18:00 (JST) this Sunday. The event will commence without an audience in attendance and fighters, cornermen and staff will be subject to extensive virus infection prevention measures.

The main event will feature a clash of the 2 best in the division as Ryo Okada takes on Kazuma Kuramoto for the interim bantamweight championship belt. Current bantamweight champion, Shoko Sato, has been tearing through the competition over at One Championship with sights set firmly on the belt.

Last outing, Pacific Rim Champion Ryo Okada was pushed to his limit by Tribe Tokyo’s Tatsuya Ando in a back and forth war. The resilient Paraestra Chiba representative dug deep to keep his explosive foe at bay and retain his belt with a split decision draw, snapping a 5 fight win streak. Okada combined his multi faceted skillset and used his tenacity, adaptability and versatility to retain his champion status.

Decorated Greco Roman expert Kazuma Kuramoto (Shooto GYM Tokyo) is riding a wave of momentum. Undefeated in 8 outings Kuramoto was awarded both MVP and best bout last year. In his last fight, the master wrestler produced a scintillating victory over the rugged Yuta Nezu, forcing his corner to call the fight off at the start of the 3rd. Nezu could not keep his feet on the ground as Kuramoto showcased back to back suplexes, back rides, brutal ground and pound and an improved stand up game. The dominant performance sealed best bout award and secured his shot at the title.

The first Shooto super atomweight championship women`s tournament reaches the semi finals with 2 intriguing match ups. Grappling specialists Mina Kurobe and Saori Oshima will test each other on the mat. On the other side of the bracket wresting specialist Megumi Sugimoto squares off against late replacement Mirai Nakamurai.

By far the most experienced competitor Master Japan`s Mina Kurobe sports an impressive 15-4 record and has fought many of the divisions elite. Kurobe earned her spot in the final 4 with a vicious ground and pound stoppage of Tanja Angerer.

Standing across the cage from Kurobe, Saori Oshima will be the least experienced competitor, with a single pro mma bout under her belt. Not to be underestimated, Oshima boasts a wealth of top level Judo experience is an All Japan Shooto amateur champion. The AACC representative put her Judo on display in her debut, crushing Yuki Ono with a barrage of ground strikes from the crucifix position.

Also fighting out of AACC, Megumi Sugimoto tore through Infinity League 2019 tournament to become Champion and secure a position in the semi finals. In her last bout Sugimoto dominated Satomi Hirose on route to a 1st round rear naked choke finish. The victory marked the 4th straight win for the surging wrestler, taking her record to 4-1 overall.

Fighting out of Mars Gym in Sapporo, Mirai Nakamura steps in as a replacement for Korean fighter Ye Ji Lee. Nakamura is riding a respectable 2 fight win streak with one win coming by way of a rare ninja choke, her opponent went to sleep while standing.

In an explosive encounter not to be missed, 6th ranked Keisuke “SASUKE” Sasu (Master Japan) will test himself against the wild style of fan favorite Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura (Krazy Bee). “SASUKE” is on a 3 fight win streak, most recently defeating Derricott Yamamoto to avenge the only loss on his 5-1-1 record. Sasu is well rounded, particularly adept on the feet, and carries considerable power.

In contrast “Wicky” is coming off a disappointing loss to grappling wizard Kleber Koike Erbst. The Krazy Bee veteran is 14-9-1 in mma but has fought for numerous organizations under diverse rule sets and boasts a wealth of fighting experience. Nishiura possesses an iron chin and dynamite in his hands and is always hunting the knockout with his unorthodox “monkey” style.

In a stylistic clash, 2nd ranked flyweight Kiyotaka Shimizu (Tribe Tokyo mma) will look to take a step closer to title contention with a victory over the 7th ranked Takahiro “Kotetsu” Kobori (Gonz Gym). Shimizu has an elusive style that draws opponents into carefully laid traps. The Tribe Tokyo Fighter evades and evaluates until he unleashes devastating strikes that put opponents out cold. In contrast, Kobori possesses a strong grappling acumen and is a prolific submission finisher. “Kotestu” times shots well, skillfully transitions between positions then seals the deal with an array of submissions.

Tsubasa Saito (Tsudanuma gym/ Fight Farm) looks to rebound from a loss to top ranker Nobuki Fujii as he locks horns with Hayato Ishii (Tribe Tokyo). Ishii is on a 2 fight win streak and will provide a stiff test for Saito. Both fighters are well versed in mma with Saito likely having the power advantage and technical edge probably going to Ishii.

Kinoshita Takeaki (Wajyutsu Keisyukai HARTS) vs Yamato Nishikawa (Nishikawa dojo) pits 2 aggressive KO artists together. Nishikawa has a big edge in experience, at 8-3-5 with 7 stoppage wins. Takeaki may be 2-2, but is coming off 2 1st round stoppages in a combined total of under 2 minutes. Don’t blink for this one!

Complementing the mma action will be a match for grappling aficionado`s. AOKI PROJECT 72kg sees 2 of Japans best take to the mat as Kenta Iwamoto (Igloo) locks up with Carpe Diem competitor Tomoshige Sera. Iwamoto and Sera are extremely active grappling competitors and have claimed titles in the likes of Pan Pacific, ADCC2019 Asia & Oceania, All Japan, Rizin BJJ, European, and IBJJF Asian Championships. At the last AOKI PROJECT match, Sera held his own against Shinya Aoki in their 10 minute draw. Iwamoto should prove every bit as tough a competitor!

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

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