Shooto 2020 Volume 7 Preview

Shooto is back in Korakuen Hall, the Mecca of MMA, for 2020 volume 7 sponsored by One Championship. Shooto has pulled together an incredible 7 fight card that once again features some of Japan’s finest. 2 wrestlers with very different styles collide in an intriguing main event. A high stakes co-main event pits slick veteran against surging new blood. In other matches, ex-champions fight to re-stake their claims to title contention, up-and-comers look to make statements and top contenders face off in a pivotal women’s bout. Additional opening matches feature fighters battling to climb the ladder and stay afloat in Shooto’s deep waters. Action kicks off on Abema TV this Monday, November 23rd, at 18:00 JST.

Main Event, Tatsuya Ando vs Takafumi Otsuka, Featherweight 5 minutes 3R

In his last match Tatsuya Ando cemented his reputation as one of the deadliest in the division, destroying Tamaru Takumi in the first to claim the Shooto Pacific Rim Bantamweight Championship. The Krazy Bee powerhouse cut through Takumi’s consistent, high IQ style with explosive aggression. Prior to claiming the Pacific Rim belt Ando went to war with Ryo Okada for the Interim Bantamweight title, falling short by the narrowest of margins as Okada retained the title with a split decision draw. With a solid wrestling background Ando has evolved and found an MMA style that fits his skill-set and athleticism perfectly. Undefeated in his last 7 outings Ando would like nothing more than to get another shot at Okada. Expect him to storm out of the gates in search of another highlight reel finish that will send a statement to the division.

Standing in his way when the bell rings will be the well travelled Takafumi Otsuka. Having competed for almost every established Japanese organisation, the T-Grip representative has seen it all. Consistently competitive against the best of the best the wrestling dynamo has always remained a relevant player despite suffering some set backs. Great footwork, technical chain wrestling, improved striking and suffocating positional control make him a fierce opponent for any fighter in the division. Tenacious with an unbreakable spirit, the wrestling workhorse drags opponents into the deep waters, frequently taking over as the rounds progress. Facing off against Yuki Motoya in his last bout, Otsuka had his moments but could not string enough together to steal the rounds, losing a unanimous decision. Watch for Otsuka to lean on his unlimmited cardio and set a frenetic pace as he seeks victory in the later rounds.

Co-main event, Kiyotaka Shimizu vs Tatsuro Taira, Bantamweight 5 minutes 3R

Racking up a perfect 6-0 record with 5 finishes, 3rd ranked Tatsuro Taira is currently one of Shooto’s hottest prospects. The 20 year old Paraestra Okinawa fighter had an extensive amateur career cumulating with a 1st place finish at the Shooto 24th all Japan Amateur Championship. Last outing Taira showcased his trademark devastating ground and pound to take out a durable Jared Almazan. Representing the new generation, the youngster is well schooled in all facets of MMA and carries a lot of confidence. Taira steps into the cage on the 23rd with considerable hype and will be determined to live up to expectations.

Standing across from Taira as the cage door closes will be seasoned veteran and perennial top contender Kiyotaka Shimizu. The 12 year, 43 fight veteran has constantly faced the divisions elite and has been on roll as of late. Since falling short on his bid for the Shooto Flyweight Championship the Tribe Tokyo MMA representative has rattled off 3 straight finishes, all by TKO/KO. With spectacular timing and distance control, the deadly Shimizu lures fighters in before turning their lights out with pin point one punch finishes. With his number 1 ranking on the line the wily veteran will draw on his experience, set traps and look to put the young upstart back in his place. Owning belts in other organizations, a victory for Shimizu would also put a stamp on his claim to another shot at the elusive Shooto Flyweight title. The stakes are high.

Keita Ishibashi vs Akuri Ronda, Featherweight 5 minutes 3R

Former Pacific bantamweight champion Keita Ishibashi was once at the top of the food chain in Shooto’s bantamweight and featherweight divisions. With a streak that included back to back submissions over Pacific Rim Bantamweight Champion Ando and Interim Bantamweight Champion Ryo Okada, The “Fierce Fighting King” then took current Bantamweight Champion and One Championship title contender Shoko Sato to a draw. Fighting out of Zeek Gym, Ishibashi has slipped as of late, most recently suffering a 3rd round TKO to top contender Nobuki Fujii. To get back to his former glory Ishibashi will be fired up for a dominant performance

Akuri Ronda faces an enormous challenge as he pits his skills against Keita Ishibashi. Returning from One Warrior series where he suffered consecutive losses, the Shingikan MMA fighter is in need of a big win. A fearless, gutsy style has cost him in the past at the hands of bigger, stronger opponents but also been his key to impressive victories. Starching 2 foes with strikes inside of 30 seconds combined the ruthless finisher demands respect and cannot be taken lightly. With his back firmly against the wall Ronda has little to lose in letting go with everything he has from the get-go. Chances are the underdog will come out guns blazing for an exhilerating shoot out with the ex-champion.

Ryohei “Ken Asuka” Kurosawa vs Masayoshi “Macho The Butterfly” Kato, Flyweight 5 minutes 3R

Ryohei “Ken Asuka” Kurosawa claimed the Shooto Straweight Championship in emphatic fashion before taking a 3 year hiatus. Upon return the Paraestra Matsudo striker has scored 3 impressive finishes and dropped one split decision. In his last outing “Ken Asuka” scored sensational knockout of the notoriously durable Takamasa “Skinny Zombie” Kiuchi at just 24 seconds into the very 1st round. With his Karate backbone, Kurosawa possesses emaculate timing and destructive power rarely seen for the weight class. Expect precision striking and firepower as “Ken Asuka” hunts an early finish.

Kurosawa’s opponent, Masayoshi “Macho The Butterfly” Kato has talent and a multifaceted MMA arsenal. With a history of falling short at the top level, the Cobra Kai MMA Dojo gym fighter has been taking more risks as of late. Snapping a 2 fight skid with a lightning fast 45 second choke finish will have boosted “Macho the Butterfly’s” confidence. With an uphill battle ahead, Kato has the tools and capability to finish, and has little to lose in going all out. Giving his best shot “Macho The Butterfly” will be gunning for a big upset come fight night.

Megumi Sugimoto vs Takano “Sarami” Satomi , Women’s Super Atomweight, 5 minutes 3R

Megumi Sugimoto ran roughshod over the competition in the womens Infinity League round robin tournament, finishing head and shoulders above the rest. The victory earned her a place in Shooto’s first Womens Super Atom Weight Tournament. The surging AACC grappler put on a spirited performance against Mina Korobe in the finals but fell short on the scorecards. Constantly improving, the 3rd ranked Sugimoto starts her climb back to the top and a chance at redemption.

Takano “Sarami” Satomi is a tough and tested veteran with the potential to pull off big wins., owning 3 victories over the current Deep Jewels champion Tomo Maesawa. The Pancrasism Yokohama fighter has twice clashed with champion Mina Kurobe and twice failed to clear the hurdle. Hoping 3rd time is the charm, “Sarami” must first get past the skilled grappler standing in her way. Expect the battle hardened Satomi to draw on every bit of experience to try to ensure her hand is raised.

Yoshizumi Kobayashi vs Takahiro Ichijo, infinity League 2020 Featherweight 5 min 2R

Once riding a 6 fight win streak Ichijo Takahiro has since found himself stuck in a slump, falling to extremely tough competition. The Brave Heart Gym representative will be fighting to resurrect his career and prove once again he belongs. After a rocky start to his career Yoshizumi Kobayashi managed to find his footing. Last outing, however, the Hagane gym fighter stumbled, dropping a decision, and will be determined to get back on track.

Yuya Tsumura vs Jo Arai, Flyweight 5 minutes 2R

Yuya Tsumura makes an anticipated return since dropping a decision in the 2018 Rookie Tournament. The Reversal Gym Kawaguchi REDIPS member has sharp boxing and a lot of potential. Fighting out of Kingdom Tachikawa Colosseum, Jo Arai is currently on a 2 fight win streak and will be aiming to get his heavy hands going.

About the Author

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

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