Shooto 2021 Volume 3 Results and Review

Main Event, Featherweight 5min x 3R

Yamato Nishikawa defeated Nobumitsu “Tyson” Osawa by submission (Triangle Choke, R2 4:53)

A few solid calf kicks from powerhouse “Tyson” as the round began had Nishikawa already changing stances. Osawa marched his young opponent down searching for chances to let loose his trademark violence. After a wild flurry by both Nishikawa smothered “Tyson” before driving him back with a 4 punch barrage of strikes. In the clinch, the Nishikawa Dojo warrior conceded guard, avoiding the formidable striking of “Tyson”. A battery of positively terrifying shots from “Tyson” was handled well by the battle tested Nishikawa. Unfazed, the well versed fighter kept his resolve, slipping, sliding and parrying the sledgehammer shots to avoid taking direct impact.

30 seconds into the 2nd round and it was all Nishikawa, kicking to the legs and body he kept the Noda Bodybuilding Club fighter at bay. Once the swinging commenced Nishikawa showed his fighting instincts, closing the distance he shoots and nails a slick back take to choke combination. “Tyson” elected to concede mount before simply sitting up and muscling his way to a reversal. The astute Nishikawa was waiting and switched to a textbook triangle choke. For minutes the 18 year old manipulated the triangle, trying to get his opponents arm across, pull the head down or crank an armlock. A physical specimen and unbelievably strong “Tyson” appeared impossible to submit. Undeterred Nishikawa chipped away with elbows and kept adjusting the lock, trying to find an angle that had some effect.  It appeared that Nishikawa found the “sweet spot”, draining Osawa little by little finally relented, tapping at 4:53 of the 2nd round.

The 18 year old prodigy defied the odds and found a way to win once again. For “Tyson” it was his first submission loss in almost 10 years.  On a 9 fight win streak the sky is the limit for the 18 year old fighting prodigy and it seems inevitable that he will be fighting for a title sometime soon.


Co-Main Event, Lightweight 5min x 3R

Taison Naito defeated Kaoru “Shoten” Uno by KO (Right Straight, 2R 4:59)

Southpaw veteran Uno bounced back and forth in his typical wide stance before shooting in to swiftly close the distance. A clinch turned into a back take and throw, forcing Naito on the defensive “Shoten” was already searching for the neck. Struggling to stop Uno securing position, Naito succeeded to stand but still had his wily opponent glued to his back. Patiently removing the grips step by step the Roots representative peeled Uno off to reset action on the feet. His Full Contact Karate backbone in full play Naito landed pin point left straights with little wind up. Over the last minute the tide had turned and striking pressure from the Karateka led to a failed shot from the submission wrestler. Falling back to “plan B” the Shooto superstar threw combinations of his own but appeared to injure his leg on a kick. Known for his tenacity and scrambles, Uno got his hands on a low single, rolled with it, switched grips multiple times and somehow converted the position to a takedown. The remainder of the round “Shoten” stayed in guard peppering his adversary with punches.

Uno charged out at the sound of the bell throwing left hooks like he had with nothing to lose. Connecting to the side of the head, the surge got Naito’s attention. A relaxed stream of uppercuts, hooks, knees and elbows on the inside and Naito was firmly in his comfort zone, mixing up his striking well. Not disheartened by his shots being brushed off, Uno drew on every bit of his fighting acumen, finally found the entry to a body lock. Winning the scramble the MMA pioneer traversed straight to 1/2 guard and got busy. Once again, however, Naito was able to hang tough, fend off the choke attempts and take the fight back into his world. Putting all his eggs in one basket Uno went all out trading with the deadly Karate expert on the feet. Now landing frequently in the pocket, right uppercut to right hook combinations found their mark for Naito who finished his combinations with hard knees and elbows. On the outside Taison was sharp with the right straights, as Uno tried to keep up, throwing straights of his own but it proved costly. Naito was cleaner, doubling up with crisp right straights, first to the temple, then the chin, he flattened the veteran grappler for a KO at the very last second of the round.

Following the victory, the Roots stand out spoke out in English, “This is Shooto!”, a tribute to his coach and mentor Rumina Sato who issued the statement following his first overseas win. Sato, twice the victim of Uno 20 years ago was able to witness his student topple his rival in a sensational showing.


Flyweight 5min x 3R

Yuto Uda defeated Kiyotaka Shimizu by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-27, 29-27)

Cutting off the speedy sniper Shimizu, Uda started the bout at a distance, working the legs with kicks from the outside. The shorter Shimizu attempted to work his way in, covering considerable distance as he surged forward in a straight line. With tremendously fast hands Shimizu fired1-2s as Uda continually threw leg kicks and circled to avoid danger. Doubling up the jab was successful for Shimizu,  at one point catching Uda off balance and sending him to the canvas. Uda looked to find a home for his big right hand as a tentative round came to a close

Uda established the jab as the 2nd round got underway and roles reversed, with Shimizu holding center and chasing and Uda picking the counter shots. Out of his counter striking comfort zone, Shimizu ate solid kicks and jabs trying to bob and weave his way in. Flipping the script and sensing he needed a momentum shift, Shimizu shot for the legs. Uda’s defense was on point asnd as action resumed on the feet Uda chopped at the legs with heavy kicks. Slowing down and in visible pain Shimizu was struggling with his biggest weapon, speed, compromised. As a result the Mixed Martial Arts Hope Dojo representative started to land his combinations more freely. A right hand put Shimizu down and Uda went full power in a relentless attempt to finish. Referee watched carefully as the Tribe Tokyo MMA sharpshooter took punishment, barely avoiding a stoppage as the round closed.

Bruised and bloodied but not broken, Shimizu set his feet and came out in the 3rd throwing to win. With Uda showing signs of fatigue, Shimizu did not have to look for his opponent. A slightly sluggish Uda shot from the outside, seeking to take away the pressure, but was instead met with a tight guillotine attempt. With an arm under the neck, Uda was able to stop Shimizu getting his remaining arm clasped and fought out of the hold. On top Uda struck the body and head but was not active enough to avoid a restart. Back on the feet Shimizu went all out, surging forward he ate right hands as he swung for the fences with combinations. At the final bell, both fighters landed mirrored right hands with Uda stumbling slightly. Shimizu fell short on the scorecards but put on a spirited performance. For Uda, the victory announced his arrival in the upper rankings of a stacked division!


Bantamweight 5min x 3R

Kenji Kato defeated Kaito Sakamaki by TKO (Ground and Pound, 3R 4:43)

The grappler vs striker battle got underway with boxer Kato loading up with the hands and feet and Sakamaki closing the distance, looking for the clinch. With impressive timing on his 1-2 combinations Kato caught the chin with straight right hands on many occasions. Not intimidated, Sakamaki fell back on his Karate roots and traded on the feet. While surprisingly successful at getting through, Kato’s poker face remained unchanged. Sakumaki worked hard for the takedown, seizing a leg, he found it difficult to break his foe’s defense and complete the technique. Kato tried his own takedown from the back only to have Sakumaki demonstrate his dazzling grappling prowess. The Paraestra Grappling wizard cartwheeled over his adversary mid takedown, finishing perfectly in back position. From there, Sakamaki returned the favor, taking Kato down in the dying seconds, sending a clear message that his grappling must be respected.

Maintaining his advantage on the feet Kato stormed in guns blazing while Sakamaki made a point to simply land. As they alternated shot for shot on the feet, Kato was so firmly committed to the knock out, he was wide open and receiving blows. A confident Sakumaki landed big and capitalized on the opportunity with a single leg attempt. The KO Shooto Gym knock out artist sprawled well with strong hips shutting the clinch entries once again. Showing he is more than just a grappler, Sakamoto was unwavering in unleashing a stream of  combinations as he took the fight to Kato standing. Inside and outside kicks and 1-2s were beginning to pay off for the Karateka, who was focused on breaking the heavy hitter down

In the final round Sakamoto continued to take Kato on in the striking department. Playing with fire on the feet he barely avoided a Kato spinning back kick that would certainly have put his lights out. Constantly switching stances, Kato kicked from southpaw stance prompting his opponent to mirror his attacks. Kato then feigned a left kick in order to deliver a monstrous left punch to the temple that sent Sakamaki reeling. Going all out for the finish, Kato swung for the fences with all he had as his durable opponent decided to go for broke. Rolling from standing position Sakamoto went all in on heel hook combinations. Locking up an inside heelhook he held on as Kato blasted him with a torrent of heavy rights and lefts. As the damage mounted the referee stepped in to save Sakamaki from himself. The grappler was still working for the heelhook as the fight was called at 4:43 of the final round. In an exhilarating match Kato proved once again he is a formidable opponent to face while Sakamoto’s fighting spirit shone through despite the loss.


Infinity League 2020 Bantamweight Match, 5min x 2R

Hayato Ishii drew with Yasuyuki Nojiri (19-19, 19-19, 19-19)

Maintaining distance Nojiri chopped with low kicks while avoiding Ishii”s hands as both fighters tested the waters to start the bout. With a Judo background, Ishii clinched, disrupted opponents balance and executed a beautiful  Ashi Gurama cross body throw to seize the back. Nojiri stood, fended off the choke attempts and praised the Judoka off. With his remarkable grappling on full display, Ishii was in the drivers seat through the opening round. Constantly moving he inched to the back, countering a Akasaka Dojo A-Spirit fighters reversal with an unusual neck crank from semi-back mount.

Round 2 and Nojiri went back to work on the calf kicks before throwing overhand 1-2s. A big knee to the head was absorbed surprisingly well by Ishii, who fired back with a sharp jab counter. Clearly Nojiri had the edge standing and was shooting for a KO. After an overextended overhand from Nojiri, Ishii found the small window of opportunity needed and cinched a lightning quick textbook single leg. Refusing to accept bottom position Nojiri did everything possible to get back to his feet. From the back, while standing, the Tribe Tokyo MMA grappler attempted to kick opponents knees out and land in back control control once again. A dynamic struggle ended as Nojiri finally found top position and unleashed bombs, looking to finish. Ishiis slick ground game continued off his back as he attempted triangle to armlock combinations. As the bell rung both fighters left everything in the ring leading to an unanimous draw

With the draw Hayato Ishii had done enough to claim the 2020 Bantamweight Infinity League Tournament.


Infinity League 2020 Bantamweight Match, 5min x 2R

Kota Onojima defeated Takahiro Ichijo by unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18)

Onojima knew he needed a finish for any hope of taking the Infinity League tournament and came out on fire. Throwing with ill intent the Combat Workout Diamonds representative pressured a clinch where he obtained back control. Strong fundamentals helped Ichijo avoid the submission attempts but he was bullied into the chain link fence.  Holding his opponent down Onojima threw crushing knees to stomach and swung with strikes. Not the kind of opponent to be overwhelmed and fold, Ichijo stood and traded. they both fired simultaneous big straight hands that narrowly glided past their targets. Ichijo slipped as Onojima’s bulldozed forward. Riding back position the rugged grappler unloaded with a plethora of ground and pound desperately trying to put Ichijo away. Weathering the storm Ichijo made it to the final bell, surviving a constant stream of attacks.

Hunting the finish, Onojima kicked off the round throwing a barrage of power punches. Once again the intensity buckled Ichijo, dending him down to all fours. Maintaining weight and posture Onojima bombarded the Brave Heart gym fighter from behind with solid ground and pound. Against cage more heavy artillery came from Onojima as he figure of 4s the legs and swings elbows and punches from his core. With 1 minute left Onojima is working the body and head with a flood of knees and punches as Ichijo struggled to get his feet under him. The intensity and ferocity of Onojima would have stopped many opponents and it is a testament to Ichijo’s grit and determination that he was able to see it to the end of the fight. There was no doubt as to the victor though as Onojima collected 20-18 scores from all judges. With the win he added a further 2 points to his tally,


Featherweight 3min x 2R

Yamato Hiranuma defeated Daisuke Kurayama by unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18)

In a special “try out rule” comprising of 2 x 3 minute rounds Sayama Dojo’s Hiranuma debuted against Masters Japan grappler Kurayama. The match was contended at a very high level, Kurayama already earned a pro license but turned it down to continue his journey in Shooto’s amateur circuit. Hiranuma stepped into the cage with outstanding Judo credentials as an multiple time all Japan Judo Champion. Both fighters bounced back and forth until the inevitable clinch happened. Murayama obtained both underhooks and lifted Hiranuma rotating him towards the canvas. As they go down Hiranuma displays his outstanding Judo, anchoring a leg against the ground and a hand under the armpit he somehow reversed the roles, landing on top. Hiranuma transitioned to mount elected to go for a guillotine choke, rolling to his back.  Kurayama defended well and mustered some ground and mound as the round ended.

Hiranuma has some very unorthodox movement on the feet but Murayama began to find his chin as the 2nd round progressed. Hiranuma was the one to land big though, with a right hand hurting his opponent. The blow prompted Murayama to chenge levels and work hard for a bodylock takedown. Murayama briefly slid to the back only to have positions reversed. After stealing back position  the Judoka lifts his foe and and slams him to the canvas. Kurayama was experienced enough to fend off the ground and pound and choke attempts but was out worked once again at key moments. All 3 judges awarded Hiranuma the win, with 20-18 scores across the board. The Satoru Sayama student made a statement in his debut and a pro match up is surely on the cards for his next outing.


Women’s Super Atomweight 5min x 2R

Megumi Sugimoto defeated Mikiko Hiyama by submission (Rear Naked Choke, 1R 1:31)

Right off the bat 4th ranked Sugimoto ducked under a huge right hand and tackled Hayama, grounding her instantly. While experienced in MMA and BJJ, Hayama is known for her boxing and was out of her depth with the 2019 Infinity League champion on the mat. Rattling off some ground and pound, the AACC standout forced Hiyama to give her back. The Nagoya Fight Club boxer got to her feet but with Sugimoto on her back the writing was on the wall for Hiyama. From her most dominant position Sugimoto sealed the deal, notching up another Rear Naked Choke victory at 1:31 of the opening stanza.


Women’s Super Atomweight 5min x 2R

Miku Nakamura defeated Kyu Kitano by TKO (Corner Stoppage, 2R 3:07)

Heavy hitter Nakamura came out swinging wild and heavy salvos. Kitano used the opportunity to skillfully close the distance where she entwined a leg to manipulate her way to back position. With one arm already under the neck the Takadanobaba Dojo grappler went for the kill. Nakamura eventually turned out of the choke and claimed top position. With 1 hook in the Mars gym power puncher blasted shots to the side of the head as Kitano stood. Continuing with knees, hooks and straights Nakamura did not let up. Not backing down Kitano answered with combinations of her own as a exciting back and forth round concluded.

As the final round got underway, it was clear Nakamura had a finish on her mind, every strike was heavily loaded at full power. Kitano saw them coming and evaded the telegraphed strikes. Once she started to use feints it was a different story for the deadly striker. Nakamura landed double left hands to hurt Kitano and blitzed. Moments later 2 more thunderous straight hands hit their mark and Kitano’s legs began to wobble. Showing her experience Kitano slowed the pace, tying her opponent up in the clinch to buy some recovery time. The respite did not last long though, 3 huge left hands over Kitano’s jab and the damage mounted. Bloodied and swollen the doctors checked Kitano and the warrior was cleared to continue. With her range firmly established, Nakamura unloaded a few more savage left straights and a right hook, all flush on the chin, and Kitano’s corner threw in baton (towel) at 3:07 of the round. Kitano is extremely resilient and fought until the very end but Nakamura’s firepower is some of the fiercest in the division.


Women’s Super Atomweight 5min x 2R

Yuki Ono drew with Chihiro Sawada (19-19, 19-19, 19-19)

The evenly matched clash of styles got underway as both competitors utilized their strengths.  Decorated weretler Sawada got underhook immediately and easily transitioned to the mat. Ono ‘s forte is submission grappling and she was very comfortable off her back, executing advanced guard techniques to look for submissions. Sawada fought through a tight “belly down” armbar attempt, stayed calm and sequentially went through the steps to escape. For the majority of the round the AACC wrestler maintained good posture, created distance with a solid base to rain down explosive and powerful punches.

A front kick from Sawada set up a tackle as both grapplers returned to the canvas. Ono was content in the guard and had a lot of faith in her submission skills. From a high guard the Okinawa Grand Slam  APP fighter secured a tight triangle. Trapped for some time Sawada again kept her composure, with good arm positioning she eased the pressure, finally digging in her knee to praise he arm out. Taking risks with high posture, Sawada ate up-kicks as she prepared to throw her body weight into every strike. In a great bout both fighters were able fight at their best and the unanimous decision  draw was appropriate and well earned.


Women’s Strawweight 5min x 2R

Norika Ryu defeated Momoka Hoshuyama by TKO (Ground and Pound, 2R 1:47)

Hoshuyama was put through the ringer in the first round but showed a lot of heart and tenacity to constantly escape fight ending positions. Ryu won the initial scramble battle to complete a takedown and from there took over.  Alternating between punching from the mount and threatening with chokes when Hoshuyama gave her back the Alliance representative demonstrated textbook top control. Hoshuyama  endured and survived, spending the dying seconds of the round resisting a tight armbar.

Despite her Taekwondo base, Ryu’s wrestling on point. Taking the Akasaka Dojo A-Spirit boxing specialist down down early the dominance continued. Trapped in a high mount, Hoshuyama could not generate leverage to buck or roll and was stopped by punches and elbows at 1:47 of the 2nd round. Both fighters showed a lot of potential in their debuts, Ryu was especially impressive, physical with a complete fight game, she is a fighter to keep an eye on. Hoshuyama could not get her striking going, however, she showed considerable heart, was calm under pressure and was attempting the right moves on the ground.



About the Author

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

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