Main Event: Shooto Lightweight Title Match, 5M x 5R
Yamato Nishikawa defeated Yuki “Tencho” Kawana by TKO (Doctor Stoppage, 0:43, R5)
With experience and maturity beyond his years, 18 year old Yamato Nishikawa defied the odds to plough through challengers and land a shot at the coveted Shooto Lightweight Belt. Standing across from him in the cage was the tactical, technical all-rounder, Lightweight Champion Yuki “Tencho” Kawana.
As the highly anticipated bout got underway, knees from the clinch from Nishikawa created an opening for a picture perfect “Kosoto Gake” outside sweep for the champion. Kawana looked to break through the guard and land something clean but the youngster was able to return to his feet. Bullied against the fence for most of the round Nishikawa worked kicks from clinch range very efficiently. When he was taken down the challenger was able to grab the heels of the Y and K MMA academy fighter, sweep and stand back up. In a very evenly balanced round control went to Kawana, activity to Nishikawa.
Rattling off combinations, Nishikawa showed little fear of Kawana’s striking. Throwing 1-2s, elbows in the clinch and knees up the middle, the Nishikawa Dojo fighter was taking the fight to the champion. Kawana ate a 3 punch combination but was beginning to find a home for his own, solid, striking fundamentals. Both fighters traded at a frenetic pace. Kawana came over the top with his jab and 1-2s and dug into the body on the inside. Nishikawa let loose with a barrage of leg kicks, punches, elbows and very effective knees in the clinch. With 30 seconds left Kawana finally started to show signs of damage, on unsteady feet after a left straight and left knee combination. A final knee from Nishikawa in the dying seconds marked the end of an action packed round.
With the 3rd round underway, Nishikawa chopped at the legs with lightning fast kick combinations. Once the fight hit the clinch, however, Kawana maneuvered the dangerous striker into another “Kosoto Gake” outside sweep. In his comfort zone “Tencho” blasted his foe with straights and elbows. The challenger demonstrated some extremely effective offense from his back and opportunistic punches and sharp, cutting elbows had Kawana bloodied going into the championship rounds.
The 4th round saw Nishikawa once again target the legs, cutting deep into the thigh and knee. Kawana was struggling to move effectively, leading to the young challenger shifting attacks to the head. With unbelievable fortitude Kawana was showing his champion’s heart, pressing forward relentlessly and doing damage of his own on a tiring Nishikawa. Countering the knee once again with an outside trip, Kawana was re-invigorated on the ground, hammering down straight hands to the body and head. Not backing down, Nishikawa went for elbows, doubling and tripling his punches. There was no wind up and a lot of speed and accuracy to the gifted young fighter’s strikes, leading to the referee halting the bout to check on Kawana, who was bleeding profusely. Doctors deemed Kawana able to continue, the fight was reset and the war of attrition continued. Both fighters went right back to where they had left off, throwing strike for strike in a battle of wills until the round concluded.
Coming into the final round of an amazing fight the champion found himself bloodied with his back against the wall. Another left from the challenger knee found it’s target. Kawana, in turn, hoisted Nishikawa up to put him on his back once again. A string of elbows on the ground from Nishikawa resulted in the doctor being brought in for the 2nd time. This time Kawana would not be so fortuitous and the fight was waved off at 0:43 of the last round.
Nishikawa is a true fighting prodigy. Trained by his father and competing from a very early age. He has participated in a variety of disciplines and has an astounding 23 fights in MMA alone. Neither physically imposing nor heavily muscled, Nishikawa uses a multi-faceted skill set, speed, endurance and an impressive fight IQ to keep silencing doubters and emerging victorious. Still incredibly just 18 years old the sky would seem to be the limit for Shooto’s new, awe-inspiring Lightweight Champion.
Co-main Event: Shooto Pacific Rim Bantamweight Title Match, 5M x 3R
Tatsuya Ando defeated Hayato Ishii by Submission (Arm Triangle Choke, 4:39, R2)
Defending champion Tatsuya Ando knocked Hayato Ishii down right off the bat and went straight to the ground to close the show. In what turned out to be an error of judgement, Ishii showed his grappling acumen as he locked up a suffocating 1 armed choke from the back. Persevering, Ando dug deep to hold out until he could shuck his opponent off his back and reset. Falling back on his wrestling backbone the champion powered Ishii to the ground and delivered some of his trademark ferocious ground and pound. Threatening with a Rear Naked Choke of his own, Ando fought through adversity early to turn the tide and take control of the round.
The Pacific Rim champion showcased his enormous power again as the 2nd round got underway, planting Ishii on his back with a 1-2 combination and sending him down once more with a jab. The challenger shot desperately but the decorated wrestler was ready, sprawling Ando blitzed with elbows and punches. Unintentionally in the heat of the moment a few of the blows went astray, clearly hitting the back of the head. Ishii was given time to recover and the fight resumed standing. Riled up, Ishii was content to play with fire and trade rear hands with the southpaw slugger. Just as the Tribe Tokyo MMA fighter found success, Ando flipped the script, taking the match to the canvas. Under an onslaught of well placed ground and pound Ishii exposed his back before rotating to turn out. With the trap set, Ando went straight to the Head and Arm/ Arm Triangle choke. Ishii went out on his shield, passing out with 21 seconds left in round 2.
6th Match: Keita Ishibashi defeated Joji Goto by Decision (Split, 29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
From the get-go the contrast in striking styles was evident. Powerhouse Keita Ishibashi looked to hit home runs as the cerebral Joji Goto threw with little force, trying to get a read and feel for his opponent. Ishibashi muscled a double leg against the cage. Unfazed, the Tribe Tokyo MMA fighter skillfully reversed to lock back position with 1 hook in. Known for his reversals, the Zeek Gym representative plied Goto off and turned the tide, throwing his foe to the mat while landing in mount. Under considerable pressure Goto methodically inched his way back to ½, then full guard as Ishibashi periodically threw down elbows and punches.
More aggressive on the feet as the 2nd round commenced, Goto landed short rear hands before being driven to the ground. Ishibashi worked to take the back but Goto executed a perfect reversal as both fighters scrambled back and forth. Goto hit the wrestling “switch” yet it was not enough, as Ishibashi’s deep ½ guard reversal emerged victorious. From top Ishibashi punished, moving to side position and then back where he chipped away with strikes hoping for the referee stoppage. Just as it seemed the writing was on the wall for the Tribe Tokyo MMA fighter he managed to rotate into his opponent’s guard. Goto looked to do damage at every opportunity, with well placed hammerfists and elbows. In a battle of 2 halves with both fighters having their moments, the fight was far from over.
As both southpaws emerged for the final round it was Goto who controlled the action on the feet. A stinging jab set up a deadly short, precise left hand that found its mark repeatedly, stunning Ishibashi. Slipping the wide hooks Goto was landing at will as an unwavering Ishibashi bull rushed forward. Grasping a leg was all it took to change the momentum again as Ishibashi dragged Goto down. Both fighters jockeyed for position and an advantage. In the end it was Ishibashi who pulled out a well earned split decision in an even and entertaining match up.
5th Match: Kenta Iwamoto defeated Asuka Tsubaki by submission (Rear Naked Choke, 2:34, R1)
Light on his feet, Asuka Tsubaki employed an “in and out” movement based approach while striking against a steadfast Kenta Iwamoto. Successful at range, the Trident Gym fighter landed to the body and head but found the roles reversed as the fighters clinched. Regarded as one of Japan’s finest grapplers, Iwamoto worked a textbook single leg, dropping weight and rotating to take the fight to the canvas. From that point on the Lotus Setagaya Gym ace put on a grappling clinic, moving to side, mount and then smoothly transitioning to back mount. Iwasaki attacked with the Rear Naked Choke, expertly switching sides and going palm to palm to bypass Tsubaki’s defense. Once locked up the master grappler put his adversary to sleep in seconds. The end came at 2:34 of the 1st round
4th Match: Patrick Sho Isami defeated Yoshi Inoue by KO (Leg Kick and Ground and Pound, 4:14, R1)
Another prospect from Abema TV’s increasingly popular reality TV programs, Patrick Sho Isami established his striking early. Facing a firepower and strength deficit, Yoshi Inoue looked to clinch to escape the clubbing hooks and loaded kicks. A knee up the center line landed for the EX-Fight/ LDH Martial Arts boxer as he shucked off Inoue’s attempts to clinch. Persistence eventually paid off for the Paraestra grappler who was able to clasp his hands together and finish a double leg against the fence. Isami eventually found the underhook needed to return to his feet and with a minute left, landed a well placed right roundhouse kick to the knee that buckled Inoue. In obvious pain Inoue backed to the fence, shot for opponents legs but crumpled to the mat. A few strikes later the referee had called the fight 4:14 into the round as a jubilant Isami celebrated on top of the cage.
3rd Match: Kimihiro Eto defeated Gunter “The Beast” Kalinda Ngunza by decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Both fighters tested the waters at the start of the opening stanza. Kimihiro Eto switched stances before executing an immaculately timed double leg, adeptly following through to side control. Continuously switching his hips to avoid falling into the guard, Eto worked for the crucifix position as Gunter Kalinda Ngunza exploded with a perfectly timed roll to get back to his feet. His respite was short lived however, Eto’s chain wrestling was exceptional. Hitting a single leg the Tokyo Wajutsu Keishukai Hearts fighter anticipated Ngunza’s defense and used the opportunity to switch weight and position to the back and score a trip takedown. The grappler applied pressure from the top for the rest of the round, securing mount position as the round concluded.
Kalinda came out guns blazing for the 2nd round, throwing heavy leather. The strategy proved costly though. 20 seconds into the round and Eto was in ½ guard again, courtesy of a double leg takedown. Eto worked his opponent over, chipping away with strikes as Kalinda maintained tight defense. A guillotine choke was converted to a spinning choke/ D’Arce but the Tri Harder Studio fighters technical defense was on point. Trapped in back mount a frustrated Ngunza could not generate any offence, but at least managed to survive and see the round out.
Far behind on the scorecards the bigger, more explosive “Beast” held ground and patiently honed in on hooks and uppercuts. Defending his opponent’s shot for the first time, Ngunza grew in confidence as he hunted for a finish standing. About ½ way into the round Eto drove through a double leg, flawlessly hitting an angle and stealing back control against the fence. Moving through the positions the accomplished grappler continued his dominance, Kalida, to his credit, remained calm and had the grappling skills and experience to not be finished. In the end, there was no doubt as to the victor as judges gave Eto every round.
2nd Match: Taiga Iwasaki defeated Ryoto Imaichi by TKO (Ground and Pound, 4:13, R1)
Confident on his feet, Iwasaki implemented kicks exclusively to begin the round as he picked his shots, going high with a left to set up the clinch. Looking physically overmatched, the debuting Imaichi could not defend the outside trip takedown from the body lock and soon found himself trapped in a body triangle. With his opponent adept at fending off the Rear Naked Choke choke attempts, Iwasaki flattened the Style Plus Gym member out and rained down blows. The body lock was constricting and well controlled, opening the doors for a barrage of fists and elbows that Imaichi had no answer for. The referee called the fight, giving the Daido Juku/ Paraestra Soka Dojo fighter the TKO stoppage at 4:13 of the opening stanza.
Opening Match: Takeru Uchida defeated Yo Otake by submission (Rear Naked Choke, 2:16, R1)
Takeru Uchida wasted little time in taking the fight to the mat, applying heavy top pressure and technical guard passes. Yo Otake defended well from the bottom, retaining guard and recovering from some dicey positions. A guillotine attempt from the top rewarded the Paraestra Matsudo submission specialist with side position. As Hagane gym’s Otake defended, Uchida deftly seized the back, securing the choke in seconds for the first round finish.