From Korakuen Hall, the venue synonymous with Martial Arts, Shooto 2020 volume 7 featured 7 fiercely fought bouts. Revered by fans, the longest running JMMA org has been picking up considerable steam this year and Mondays event certainly delivered. With a reputation for competitively matched, fast paced matches featuring top tier fighters, Shooto continues to produce spectacular fights.
Takafumi Otsuka defeated Tatsuya Ando (T/KO, Leg Kicks, 2:12 R1)
Both wrestlers met in the center of the cage. Pawing with the jab, Otsuka feinted his way into the clinch only to be shucked off by the Krazy Bee wrestler. Otsuka took advantage of Ando’s heavy on the lead leg stance, scoring solid outside and inside low kicks on the southpaw. The tactic paid dividends, tentatively stepping on a damaged leg, Ando shot an easily defended takedown. The T-Grip representative stepped up the intensity, attacking with a modified guillotine before putting his hurt foe on his back against the cage. Ando was in pain and signaled to the referee that he was unable to continue prompting a halt to the bout. Unable to stand due to the damage in his right leg, medical staff carried Ando out of the cage on a stretcher.
By taking out the number one contender in his debut, Otsuka makes a strong case for a shot at the Featherweight strap. For Ando, there is hope that the damage sustained is not serious and that the warrior will make a full and speedy recovery.
Tatsuro Taira defeated Kiyotaka Shimizu (Decision 30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Shimizu was determined to fight his fight. Bouncing back and forth and side to side the Tribe Tokyo counter striker invited Taira to engage. When a clear opportunity presented itself Shimizu hurtled forward with a barrage of punches, frequently finishing with a low kick. Taira was active between his opponents flurries. Mixing outside and inside low kicks with lead jabs to body the Paraestra Okinawa hot prospect kept his distance and read his elusive opponent well. Both were cautious in the opening stanza, knowing a mistake at this level could be disastrous.
In the 2nd round, as Shimizu picked up the pace Taira masterfully clinched and took the back. From there he used his wiry frame to skillfully manipulate his shorter opponents legs and prevent a reversal. On the offensive, the well-versed Okinawan repeatedly chased the rear naked choke finish. Not disheartened Shimizu worked non stop until he broke free and got back to the feet. Conscious of falling behind Shimizu let loose with looping hooks. In doing so, however, he over extended and Taira capitalized, taking back position with one hook in he manipulated Shimizu down to the canvas.
In the final stanza the tension was high. Shimizu’s corner were imploring him to go for a finish. As a natural counter striker however, it was a difficult for the Tribe Tokyo fighter to push the pace. Darting forward with his signature speed Shimizu came close with lead hooks and short follow up punches. A leaping superman punch and Taira seized the moment, dragging Shimizu to the canvas as the final round ended. Taira imposed his game as the match progressed and, with a unanimous decision victory over a guileful veteran, remains undefeated at 7-0.
Keita “Fierce Fighting King” Ishibashi defeated Akari Ronda (Decision, 30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Ronda charged forward throwing with nothing to lose to kick off the 1st. Landing a straight right he tripled up the right hands but ran straight into a takedown. From there Ishibashi improved from side to mount to back, all the while punching away. Ronda reversed and dropped hammers from the guard before passing. It was the Shingikan representatives turn to go through the positions, from side to back mount he worked for a rear naked choke until time expired.
Action hit the canvas again early in the 2nd as Ishibachi hit a bodylock takedown and smoothly passed to mount and back mount once again. The tides had turned completely and Ronda was caught defending some deep rear naked choke attempts. The Zeek gym veteran adjusted grip and angle frequently, going palm to palm he came very close to closing the show but Ronda constantly dug deep and fought free.
A revitalized Ronda let his hands go before hoisting Ishibashi up and slamming him to the canvas. Transitioning from dominant position to an armbar proved costly as Ishibashi escaped and the fighters returned to their feet. The “Fierce Fighting King” locked an arm and pulled off an impressive Kimura/Sakuraba roll. Working for the armlock the Ishibashi elected to move to mount and deliver some heavy ground and pound. Under the barrage of punches Ronda had little choice but to give up his back. With 1 minute remaining the gritty Ronda reversed position and a scramble for position ensued. Ishibashi was one step ahead, scooping a single leg he put Ronda on his back for the final time. In a fight that was more competitive than the scorecards suggested Ishibashi stole the key moments to take every round from a worthy opponent.
Ryohei “Ken Asuka” Kurosawa defeated Masayoshi “Macho The Butterfly” Kato (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
It was apparent from the start that “Macho The Butterfly” wanted the fight on the ground, engaging just enough on the feet before shooting in and pulling guard. Not taking the bait to go to the ground Kurosawa was confident in his striking acumen and tagged Kato multiple times on the feet. Dazed by a solid punch Kato instinctively and skillfully angled for a takedown to put Kurosawa on his back.
As the 2nd round got underway, Kato wasted no time going straight for a single leg, switching to double then sliding to the back. Kurosawa came out on top however, and attacked with guillotine chokes and punches from a solid sprawl. Hustling to back position Kurosawa secured a quick rear naked choke in a slick sequence. Technically savvy, Kato fought free and tried time and time again to take dominant position. “Macho the Butterfly” had his moments, locking the dangerous Karateka down for much of the round. Unable to progress position or land effective damage the Cobra Kai MMA all-rounder prioritized position.
By the 3rd round Kurosawa was in control. Dominating the stand up, the Paraestra Matsudo standout was shutting down telegraphed shots from an under fire opponent. On the feet he lauched 1-2 combinations, with multiple straight rights finding their mark. As the pressure was mounting and damage accumulating “Macho the Butterfly” was fading. Showing his heart and fighting spirit Kato held his ground and fired back as they traded until the final bell. While it was not a walk in the park by any means Kurosawa took a clear, unanimous decision with a single judge scoring round 2 for Kato.
Takano “Sarami” Satomi defeated Megumi Sugimoto (Armbar, 2:46 R1)
Both fighters traded jabs and leg kicks to start off the round. Sugimoto switched stances and implemented lateral movement while “Sarami” remained stoic and grounded. Getting busy with her hands the Pancrase Yokohama fighter blasted some hard right straights as she bullied Sugimoto to the cage. A fantastic right hand to Kosoto gari outside trip combination and “Sarami” back mount. Flattened out the AACC fighter out absorbed elbows and punches. Struggling to turn out of the position, Sugimoto got her arm seized as Sarami applied a surprise straight armbar. Locked tight Sugimoto had no option but to tap at 2:46 of the 1st round. Disappointed, Sugimoto will not doubt go back to the drawing board and come back stronger. For Sarami, the Jewels veteran puts herself in title contention in her Shooto debut.
Yoshizumi Kobayashi drew Takahiro Ichijo (Split Draw, 20-18, 19-19, 19-19)
As the fight got underway Ichijo tried a single leg but was content to settle for open guard and fish for a heel hook. Kobayashi defended well but ended the positional battle on the bottom. Going high on the back Ichijo searched for an armbar but gave up position to the Hagane gym fighter. “Yoshizumi” rode out the round on top chipping away with short punches.
A left hook at the start of the 2nd sent Ichijo reeling and Kobayashi charged in, sensing a finish. The Brave Heart Gym recovered well however and secured a clinch. “Yoshizumi” scored a takedown on his dazed opponent. Putting his high level experience on display Ichijo reversed instantly. With 1 minute left in the round Kobayashi muscled to top where he rained down some effective ground and pound. In a battle of positioning the Infinity League 2020 match ended in a split draw with the dissenting judge scoring the fight for Kobayashi.
Yo Arai defeated Yuya Tsumura (20-18, 20-17, 20-17)
The first round played out exclusively on the feet as the fearsome Arai stalked Tsumura from the get-go, looking for a shoot out. Tsumura closed the distance and clinched but was unable to take his opponent down. A thudding body shot from Arai and a late blitz before the bell had The Reversal Gym Kawaguchi REDIPS fighter hurt.
Fighting out of Kingdom Tachikawa Colosseum, Arai was determined to land his heavy hands as the 2nd round commenced. Hunting Tsumura around the cage he blasted 1-2s. Tsumura was game and stood and traded but could not phase Arai, who marched forward. A right hand from Arai dropped his foe, who somehow survived the follow up onslaught. Now in full swing, Arai blasted right straights and left hooks as the brave Tsumura hung on to see the final bell. Extending his win streak to 3 Arai appeared disappointed not to get the finish.