The resurgence of Japanese MMA continues as Shooto returns to Korakuen Hall this Saturday, August 1st. While the fight card may contain a modest 5 fights, the talent is top tier and fights sure to deliver. 2 titles will be up for grabs, the Shooto Pacific Rim Bantamweight Championship will be on the line and an inaugural women’s Shooto Super Atomweight Champion will be crowned.
Perennial top contender Tatsuya Ando looks to claim the Pacific Rim Bantamweight strap after coming within a hair’s breadth of seizing the Interim Bantamweight Title. Ando had his 5 fight win streak snapped as a hotly contested split decision draw with Ryo Okada saw his dream of becoming a Shooto Champion go up in smoke. With a second chance coming through for him expect the Tribe Tokyo MMA wrestler to leave it all in the cage fight night.
Takumi Tamaru has largely stayed under the radar for much of his career. Quietly but assertively tearing through top competition, the 11-1-1 fighter is unbeaten in his last 4 outings. With wins over top rankers Mamoru “Fullswing” Uoi and Nobuki Fujii, Tamaru has also notched a stoppage of former Champion at One, Yosuke Saruta. Tamura gets his well earned shot at the Pacific Rim Bantamweight title and will be confident he can cause another upset.
Shooto elected to have a tournament to decide who will become the first Women’s Super Atomweight Champion. At 15-5 and the most experienced fighter in the tournament, Mina Korobe sealed her title shot with back to back stoppages of Tanja Angerer and Saori Oshima. Kurobe has fought a who’s who of her division, elite fighters in many organizations, and has come out on top more often than not. Fighting out of Master Japan and known for her outstanding ground game, Kurobe`s positional dominance and ground and pound is up there with the divisions best. With experience and skills that cannot be denied Kurobe will be firm favorite to take the belt
Standing across from Korobe when the cage door closes will be AACC`s Megumi Sugimoto. Trained by her husband, the legendary Shooto fighter and coach, Hiroyuki Abe, Sugimoto has come in to her own as of late. Dominating the “Infinity League” round robin tournament, the AACC wrestler has racked up 4 straight wins with 3 finishes, extending her record to an impressive 5-1. Sugimoto has shown incredible development as a fighter but will be considered the underdog as she steps up in competition to challenge Kurobe.
In addition to the title bouts the event also includes a trio of exciting match ups. Fan favorite Takamasa “Skinny Zombie” Kiuchi will pit his signature “go for broke” style against the formidable Ryohei “Ken Asuka” Kurosawa. Kiuchi and Kurosawa are capable of finishing wherever the fight goes and this match has all the ingredients of a classic.
Sitting at number 9 in the fiercely competitive Bantamweight division, Hayato Ishii looks to extend his win streak to 3 with a victory over Kota Onojima. A consummate competitor, Onojima has only fallen short against the divisions best and will look to rebound from a loss to Motonobu Tezuka last outing. Ishii will be determined to secure his ranking while Onojima will be eager to rise to the challenge and prove he belongs among the divisions elite. Expect a highly competitive bout as both fighters leave it all on the line.
Rounding off the card, Tomoyuki Miyaji faces off against Tateo Iida. After facing a sobering winless streak, Miyaji took 3 years off from competition and has returned revitalized, scoring 2 straight wins. With mixed success in other organizations, Iida returns to Shooto after notching up a draw with Keisuke “Sasuke” Sasu 4 years ago. Expect neither fighter to back down as they fight to claim an essential win.