Korakuen Hall, a venue entrenched in Martial Arts history, hosts Shooto 2021 Volume 2 this Saturday, March 20th. Due to Covid-19 precautionary measures the event will start earlier than previously announced, with first match starting at 17:00 JST. Safety is of paramount importance and strict regulations are being implemented.
Shooto 2021 Volume 2 delivers fans an excellent blend of top fighters, paired together perfectly for a event that is sure to deliver. Expect a little bit of everything as athletes clash in pivotal matches. Each seeking to advance in the deep and unforgiving Shooto divisions. With a fascinating main event for the Bantamweight belt and a barn burner of a co-main this event is not one to miss!
Main Event Bantamweight Championship Match 5M x 5R
Ryo Okada (C)(Paraestra) vs Takafumi Otsuka (T-Grip)
Undefeated in his last 7 outings Ryo Okada makes his first defense of his bantamweight championship belt. When it came to the Pacific Rim Banatamweight title the Paraestra fighter struggled, fighting tooth and nail to retain the strap by split decision draw over an explosive Tatsuya Ando. In his bid for the Bantamweight Title he left no doubts in a spectacular performance. Enjoying a meteoric rise to title contention Kuramoto not only won but did so in style, high altitude slams, back to back supplexes, the Greco Roman standout seemed unstoppable. Okada weathered the storm, adapted, found the small window of an opening he needed and put the wrestler away with a perfectly timed, short, sniper left hand and ground and pound. A versitile all-rounder the Champion can work around opponents rather than go through them. This cerebral approach, combined with top notch technique and a ton of heart have led him up the shark pool of a division to attain the belt. Okada will do whatever it takes to retain his status as champion when the cage door shuts this Saturday.
Takafumi Otsuka has a long and well storied career. Having fought just about every relevant fighter in virtually every significant Japanese organization organization, the veteran has seen it all. With 46 bouts experience the T-Grip fighter has stumbled but never fallen, remaining a consistent top ranker at every stage of his journey. Crossing over to Shooto for new challenges and opportunities the dynamic wrestler was stellar in his debut, cutting down Pacific Rim Champion Tatsuya Ando with sharp leg kicks in the first round. Known for his tenacity and frenetic pace, The former DEEP Champion is unwavering in approach and unbreakable in spirit. With excellent footwork and positional awareness combined with elite level wrestling, the T-Grip standout breaks down his adversaries. Undeterred by adversity, the Shooto number 1 will stoically press forward, dictating the pace and leaning on seemingly unlimited cardio. Ensuring his opponents are continuously working struggling to keep up, Otsuka drowns them in deep waters late in the fight. Entering as the underdog, the challenger may need to fend off the champion early. With 5 rounds to play with Otsuka will plan to chip away until he breaks through to take over the later rounds.
MMA-Japan caught up with Takafumi Otsuka to talk about his training and bid for the title. The article can be read here.
Co-Main event 5M x 3R
Tatsuro Taira (The Paraestra Okinawa) vs Yoshihiro Maeda (Pancrase Inagakigumi)
Yoshihiro Maeda will need little introduction to fans of Japanese MMA. The veterans aggressive go for broke style and thrilling fights have cemented his position as a fan favorite. While Maeda typically marches forward rattling off heavy strikes he has a very under-rated ground game. The Pancrase Inagakigumi warrior typically takes unnecessary risks in order to deliver exciting performances, illustrated during his last fight where he succumbed with just 3 seconds left in the final stanza. Entering the cage for his 60th fight, putting everything on the line once again, Maeda’s electrifying fights are not to be missed.
Standing across from Maeda fight night will be 21 year old undefeated young gun Tatsuro Taira. Sporting an unblemished 7-0 record, Taira will be brimming with confidence coming off a victory over top ranker Kiyotaka Shimizu. With his sights frimly set on the title, the number 1 ranked fighter needs to take out another veteran to reach his goal. Carrying a wave of momentum the The Paraestra Okinawa representative has all eyes on him as he steps into the cage. Proficient on the feet, adept on the mat and possessing ferocious ground and pound, Taira matches up very well against his seasoned opponent. This evenly matched bout of youth vs experience has all the makings of a classic!
Mamoru “Full Swing” Uoi (Wajutsu Keishukai HEARTS) vs Joji Goto (Tribe Tokyo MMA)
When “Full Swing” Uoi steps into the cage his intentions are clear, massive power punches designed to switch opponents lights out. His incessant predictability can cause problems but behind the wild hooks there lies solid takedown defense. If action hits the canvas the Wajutsu Keishukai HEARTS knockout artist has grappling tailored to getting to his feet and letting his fists fly. After a 4 fight win streak Uoi has slipped, losing his last 3, all to top contenders or Champions. Undeterred, “Full Swing” will come out firing on all cylinders hell-bent on getting his career back on track
Tribe Tokyo MMA’s Joji Goto will not be intimidated by the firepower of his adversary. A prolific finisher, Goto possesses knockout power of his own. After stringing together 5 consecutive victories, Goto ran into perennial top contender Nobuki Fujii, dropping a decision to the persistent grinder. In his last outing, however, Goto pulled off an impressive 1st round TKO and will have a lot of confidence as he squares off against Uoi. Both fighters should be fired up to trade blow for blow in a “last man standing” showdown
Motoshi Miyaji (Paraestra) vs Kazuhiro “Bunta” Sugawara (Masters Japan)
While his 5-6-1 record may not stand out, all of Kazuhiro “Bunta” Sugawara’s wins have been first round finishes. The exciting Masters Japan fighter will hunt the finish or go out on his shield trying. Proficient in striking and grappling Sugawara wastes no time, every step is a step towards a decisive victory. In his last match, he was paired against an elite prospect and suffered a TKO loss. After tasting defeat, expect an even more dangerous “Bunta” to show up Saturday in hot pursuit of another 1st round trouncing.
In a similar vein Motoshi Miyaji’s 11-11-1 fight stats do not tell the whole story. The veteran has almost 15 years experience, during which he has never had an easy run of opponents. Following a rough patch in his career Miyaji took a 3 year hiatus and has since returned with back to back stoppages and a hotly contested draw. Fighting out of Paraestra expect a well versed ground game from Miyaji but do not count out his striking, he is very capable of laying opponents out. He will need to utilize his experience and withstand a wild onslaught in the first to take the victory in the later rounds.
Mark “Max The Body” Moleke (Brave) vs Taira Uehara (Reversal Gym Yokohama Groundslam)
Mark “Max The Body” Moleke is a physical specimen who packs a lot of raw power. Training under Kazuyuki “Little Hercules” Miyata at Brave gym, he combines top physical conditioning with solid wrestling and an ever improving striking arsenal. In his 2 Shooto outings he has fallen to top fighters. Looking to rebound and score his first Shooto win, the powerhouse will be expecting to get back to heavy top pressure and destructive ground and pound.
After cutting his teeth in the notoriously competitive Shooto Amateur circuit, Taira Uehara has been quietly building momentum, compiling a 3-1-1 record as a professional. While he has not faced elite competition the Reversal Gym Yokohama Groundslam fighter has demonstrated solid grappling and heavy ground and pound. Making his Shooto debut, Uehara battled to a competitive draw and for sure will want to score a decisive victory this outing. Claiming top position will be vital for both fighters in this evenly matched clash.
2nd match, Infinity League Tournamen, 2R x 5M
Yasuyuki Nojiri (Akasaki Dojo A-SPIRIT) vs Takahiro Ichijo (Braveheart)
At 4-0-1 Yasuyuki Nojiri has yet to lose. The Akasaki Dojo A-SPIRIT fighter took a big step up in competition last outing to take the extremely durable and consistent Kota Onojima to a split draw.
Takahiro Ichijo might have a less impressive record on paper but the 7-9-1 fighter has undoubtedly faced the tougher competition. Fighting out of the Braveheart Gym, Ichijo will pit his experience against the confident upstart. With both combatants coming off draws, neither will want to leave this one in the hands of the judges.
Opening match 2R x 5M
Yoshiaki “Teruryu” Kiryu (ROOTS) vs Yuki “Submission” Takahashi (Wajutsu Keishukai HEARTS)
With a nickname like “Submission” it is safe to say that Yuki Takahashi is confident in his grappling. Notching up a Gogoplata win in his debut the Wajutsu Keishuke Hearts representative has set himself up as one to keep an eye on.
At 43 years old Yoshiaki “Teruryu” Kiryu is more than double the age of his opponent, and he has 10 fights worth of experience to draw upon. The ROOTS fighter is well rounded, difficult to put away and hits hard. A classic submission vs striking showdown to kick of the event.