Mina Kurobe defeated Megumi Sugimoto (decision 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Kurobe and Sugimoto started their Women’s Super Atomweight Championship bout at a furious pace and didn’t let up. Jabs were exchanged briefly by both fighters until a flurry from Kurobe prompted a battle of 1-2s in the pocket. Sugimoto switched stances as she pumped a solid jab to Kurobe`s head and body. Kurobe plowed through the attacks, closed the distance and swung for the fences. A right hand from Kurobe stunned the AACC fighter and drove her to the fence. From that point on the Master Japan fighter loaded up on repetitive right hands, capped off by some dirty boxing and knees in the clinch. Sugimoto circled out effectively, avoiding a lot of the blows. Getting the upper hand at a distance, 2 Sugimoto right hands rocked Kurobe who turned the last 30 seconds into a wild brawl.
The winning formula for both fighters was clear, Sugimoto was successful at range, Kurobe in close. The 2nd round commenced with Sugimoto switching stances and tagging Kurobe. In a change of pace, Kurobe shot for the legs against the fence. The AACC wrestler confidently shut down the attack, rotated off the fence and landed elbows on the break. Hooks, 1-2s and a “Superman” punch connected for Sugimoto. Hustling for a single leg takedown proved unsuccessful for Kurobe as she ate a 1-2 against the fence. The momentum really changed abut 1/2 way through the round, wading forward Kurobe landed her right hand and damage was clear. Doubling and trippling the right hands, throwing 1-2s and some dirty boxing Kurobe did not let Sugimoto off the hook. The AACC fighter held on and answered back as she got drawn into a blow for blow brawl on the feet as the round closed.
Round 3 continued where the action left off with each fighter determined to fight their fight. Sugimoto had success early with switches, jabs, and step away right hook. Kurobe bulldozed forward and when she did land, it was eye catching. Kurobe bullied her opponent against the fence and unloaded with right hands and knees. With fatigue kicking in both fighters dug deep and showed tremendous heart and tenacity. The right hand was money in the bank for Kurobe, when she landed the effect was visible. The ebb and flow of the fight changed blow by blow as both fighters found their success. Neither fighter took their foot of the gas or backed down and the highly entertaining war went the distance.
Sugimoto proved she belongs at the top, with technical striking and circular movement she could counter a lot of her opponents rushes. In the end however, Kurobe’s experience shone through. Dictating the range Kurobe was relentlessly aggressive, powerful in the clinch and landed the more significant blows. While the rounds were competitive, all 3 judges sided with Kurobe 30-27. Mina Kurobe of Masters Japan took the inaugural Women’s Shooto Super Atomweight Champion in a classic bout for the history books
Tatsuya Ando defeated Takumi Tamaru (TKO 3:23 round 1)
As the title match got underway, Tamaru initiated the striking with consecutive right kicks to the body, Ando reacted and closed the distance. In the clinch, surprisingly, the Nascer Do Sol grappler attempted to take Ando to the canvas and it proved a costly mistake. Ando put his elite wrestling pedigree on display with a masterful reversal as he was going down. From the top the Tribe Tokyo wrestler stayed heavy, claimed side and mount and looked for his signature ground and pound. Tamaru remained calm and implemented slick butterfly hooks and deep 1/2 guard to avoid damage and get back to his feet. Action heated up as the fighters exchanged heavy straights. Tamaru with activity, efficiency and accuracy, started to take over with striking, a right body kick, right hand combination followed by a 1-2 found their mark. Backed into the fence and under fire, Ando let loose a short straight left counter as Tamaru kicked. The punch was on point, passing between Tamaru’s tight guard it caught him flush and put him down. A barrage of lefts, rights and hammerfists had a dazed Tamaru struggling to hold on as the referee closely watched. As Tamaru went for a leg submission, Ando defended perfectly, stepped out of trouble a scored a few more shots to the head for the stoppage at 3:23 of round 1.
A jubulant Ando secured the Shooto Pacific Rim Bantamweight Championship. With a showdown with Bantamweight Champion Shoko Sato or a rematch with Interim Bantamweight Champion Ryo Okada surely on the cards, expectations for the division became even higher.
Ryohei “Ken Asuka” Kurosawa defeated Takamasa “Skinny Zombie” Kiuchi (TKO 0:24 round 1)
Kurosawa went low with kicks until he found an opening with a stiff jab that rattled Kiuchi. Feinting the jab, “Ken Asuka” suddenly lept in with a sniper straight right hand to the chin. “Skinny Zombie” crashed down, twisting his knee awkwardly. 2 more loaded follow up shots from the hard hitter on the ground and the referee jumped in. “Skinny Zombie” was unable to get out the gate in a fight that lasted just 24 seconds.
Kota Onojima drew Hayato Ishii (19-19, 19-19, 19-19)
Round 1 literally kicked off as Onojima and Ishii showed each other a lot of respect and traded tentative low kicks. Onojime took initiative first and dived forward with a flurry, driving Ishii to cage. A surprised Ishii stumbled to the ground but sprungs right up. After jockeying for position against the cage Onojima got in on the legs as Ishii defended. Arms locked around the hips, Onojima gets a big lift and slam takedown. Determined not to concede position Ishii fought his way back to his feet, exited and landed a spinning back fist. Relentless in his takedown attacks Onojima had Ishii glued to the cage until the bell rung.
The pattern repeated for much of the 2nd round. Throwing a looping right Onojima pushed the battle against cage once again. Ishii driefly cinched a guillotine and found a home for some well placed knees in the clinch. Onojima favoured rapid arm punches to the body and head. As the fighters reach a stalemate the referee seperated and called for action. Sensing urgency Ishii came forward throwing 1-2s and a huge jumping knee. Onojima countered with double right hands before getting in on a single leg, lifting, rotating and dumping Ishii with a high crotch takedown. Both fighters skills largely cancelled each other out in a match judges declared a draw.
Tateo Iida drew Motoshi Miyaji (19-19, 19-19, 19-19)
With his long rangy striking, southpaw Miyaji kept the fight at his distance as the first round got underway. A steady diet of long straight left hands left their mark on Iida as the Paraestra Matsudo representative added left kicks and right hooks. Miyaji was comfortably in control of the round until Iida disrupted the flow with a well timed single leg from a kick. The Mars Gym grappler was unable to maintain position and Miyaji was back to the feet launching piercing left straight, right hook combinations. Iida had some success in the clinch with knees but a Miyaji takedown late sealed the round for him as the round came to a close.
In the 2nd round, Iida turned the tables on his foe. Another low kick from Miyaji was caught as Iida utalized his judo to take the match to the ground. As Miyaji rose to his feet Iida expertly spun to take the back, then rolled to secure back mount. From there he landed a thunderous elbow and some ground and pound, forcing Miyaji to concede mount. Miyaji tried to spin out but Iida’s grappling control was excellent. As Miyaji moves to all 4’s to shake the grappler off, Iida slid down and cinched up a modified Suluev stretch, trappling an arm and leg. Leg fully stretched Miyaji’s flexibility aided his escape. With 1 min 30 left Miyaji staged a comeback, unloading with heavy leather before taking IIda down and finishing round in back mount. The highly competitive and exciting bout was a round a piece and resulted in an unanimous draw.