Shooto 2021 Volume 7 Preview, November 6th. Double Championship Headliner!

With the revival of first Vale Tudo Japan after a 5 year hiatus, Shooto further upped the ante,  slotting in Shooto 2021 Volume 7 earlier on the same day. Shooto leads the double header and is rounded off with a double championship headliner with the Women’s World Super Atomweight and Men`s Interim Strawweight belts both on the line. The card also sees 2 sensational, but very different, world class grapplers test themselves against seasoned MMA fighters. Not to mention the Women’s Atomweight Infinity League 2022 tournament kicks off with a “must watch” bout. Shooto 2022 Volume 7 starts this Saturday, November 6th, at 12:30 JST.


Shooto World Super Atomweight Championship Match, 5M x 5R

Mina Kurobe vs Satomi “Sarami”

World Super Atomweight Queen Mina Kurobe blends crisp striking and stifling clinch and cage control with an air tight ground game. Kurobe tore through the Super Atomweight tournament, finishing all of her opponents on route to an inevitable face off with Megumi Sugimoto. In an highly entertaining match both warriors went toe to toe, trading blow for blow on the feet. While the rounds were competitive, Kurobe controlled the tempo, pulling ahead when the going got tough and putting a stamp on the rounds. Highly experienced, the Masters Japan standout will be leaning on her well rounded game and and ferocious ground and pound to defend her title when she steps into the cage Saturday.

Facing off against Kurobe will be a familiar opponent. Top ranked Satomi “Sarami” Takano has clashed with the champion twice, falling short of victory in both occasions. Known as a skilled grappler the Pancrasism Yokohama fighter is a strong finisher with a reputation for causing upsets. With a penance for armbar submissions, “Sarami” also possesses some heavy hands, on the feet and canvas, putting away the dangerous Miku Nakamura with a barrage of ground and pound last outing. Fired up to avenge her losses, expect a quick start from Takano as she goes hunting for the finish from the opening bell. Will it be 3rd time’s the charm for “Sarami,” or can Kurobe weather the storm and steal victory from the jaws of defeat once again?


Shooto World Strawweight Interim Championship Match, 5M x 5R

Junji “Sarumaru” Ito vs Ryohei “Ken Asuka” Kurosawa

Forever on the cusp of winning a Shooto World title, a 15 year MMA veteran Junji “Sarumaru” Ito has vied for the belt no less than 4 times. A perennial top ranker, “Sarumaru” is a consummate Shooto professional, fighting almost exclusively for the org. Well versed in all facets of MMA, Ito likes to get in opponents faces and hustle. Creating scrambles the Shooto Gym Tokyo fighter hits angles for textbook takedowns. From there he gets to work with some truly destructive Ground and Pound. Last outing the divisions 1 ranked pounding out Tateo Iino to secure the interim title shot. A habit of getting into firefights on the feet has led “Sarumaru” to both huge success and crushing defeat. In order to keep his dream alive expect Ito to be in prime condition and brimming with confidence as he rematches a fighter he already KO’d in emphatic fashion.

Former World Flyweight Champion Ryohei “Ken Asuka” Kurosawa carries a lot of firepower for his stature. With a Karate backbone, the heavy hitter retains the “Ichigeki” philosophy of “one strike, one kill” and is capable of turning lights out with single shots. In perpetual forward motion, heavy hips and solid takedown defense allow the Paraestra Matsudo fighter to pile on the pressure and let his strikes flow. Masayoshi Kato’s survival instincts and experience helped him hold on to the final bell last outing, leaving an eager “Ken Asuka” craving another KO. For the 5th ranked Flyweight this fight represents more than securing the title. “Sarumaru” broke “Ken Asuka’s” undefeated streak with a come from behind knockout, becoming the first, and only, fighter to stop the intimidating striker. Out to prove it was luck that led to his first setback, Kurasawa will be firing on all cylinders believing lightning will not strike twice.


Kenta Iwamoto vs Daiki Yuki. Featherweight, 5M x 2R

Renowned grappling superstar, Lotus Setagaya’s Kenta Iwamoto smoothly transitioned to MMA in his highly anticipated debut. Dominating the All Japan Amateur Champion Tsubaki Asuka on the canvas he locked up a Rear Naked Choke for the tap mid way through the opening round. Touted as a future Champion, Iwamoto’s is next opponent represents a big step up in competition. The spotlight will be on the grappling genius as he pits his phenomenal ground game against a top 10 opponent.

With all eyes on his opponent, Daiki Yuki has the perfect opportunity to go for broke and pull off the upset. Yuki came close to submitting former Pacific Rim Champion and accomplished grappler Takeshi Nakayama. Unable to seal the deal the bout went to a majority draw. Fighting out of Masters Japan Fukuoka, Yuki has “MMA Grappling” and constricting ground control to draw upon and provides an excellent barometer for judging Iwamoto’s potential. One thing remains certain, Yuki will not surrender his 7 fight unbeaten run and no.9 ranking without leaving it all in the cage.


Yuki “Submission” Takahashi vs Wataru Yamauchi, Flyweight, 5M x 2R

Yuki “Submission” Takahashi lives up to his nickname. The unorthodox grappler, who proclaims he has no BJJ background or other credentials, grapples to the beat of his own drum. Absorbing an amalgamation of influences the submission expert has both outstanding technical prowess and flair. A perfect 2-0 “Submission” pulled out an Imanari roll to heelhook combination to tap out Yoshiaki Kiryu in just 42 seconds. His previous outing was a 1st round Gogoplata. Expect slick, flashy and lightning quick submissions right off the bat from the Wajutsu Keishukai Hearts grappling guru as he searches for his 3rd spectacular finish.

In a striker vs grappler showdown, Wataru Yamauchi has inherited the feared Fight Farm/ Tsudanuma Dojo style. Yamauchi displays the signature unbreakable spirit and aggressive “slug-fest” striking the team is famous for. More than just a striker however, Yamauchi is one of the new breed of fighters from the gym and, very capable in the grappling department. In his debut match against the durable Urata Ueki, the Fight Farm representative dominated the stand up but was not afraid to blend in some groundwork, eventually winning by Triangle Choke. It is doubtful that Yamauchi will want to play on the ground with “Submission” and will likely use his grappling to fend off attacks as he focuses on his fists.


Shooto Announces Women’s Atomweight and Strawweight Tournaments

The opening bout of the event is one not to be missed. Shooto has plans to bolster their Women’s divisions after the resounding success of their Super Atomweight weight class. 2022 will see Infinity League tournaments for Atomweight and Strawweight that will crown champions. Infinity League tournaments are unique to Shoot, the round robin style set up ensures that all 5 fighters face each other. Participants earn points, 3 for a finish, 2 for a win and 1 for a draw, in the event of fighters having equal points, shortest fight time is taken into consideration. Kicking off the event will be the first match of the Atomweight Tournament as 2 of the favorites collide!


Chihiro Sawada vs Miku Nakamura, Infinity League Atomweight Tournament Bout, 5M x 2R

Fighting out of AACC, a hotbed for Women’s MMA, Chihiro Sawada has a decorated Wrestling background. With high expectations Sawada made a memorable debut, seamlessly taking down veteran Yuki Ono and hammering through some monstrous Ground and Pound. Posturing up to get maximum power was fraught with danger however, and the Wrestling powerhouse was caught in some tight submissions. Working through the precarious situations Sawada faced adversity and pulled through, showing remarkable maturity and defense. For her sophomore appearance the Wrestling prodigy faces a very different challenge, and this time will not settle for a draw.

Miku Nakamura drops a weight class after mixed success at Super Atomweight to try her hand in the Atomweight Tournament. Dubbed the “Northern Striker,” Nakamura has some killer striking for her weight class. In her last outing she fell victim to title challenger Satomi “Sarami” Takano, who exploited openings in the Mars Gym strikers ground game. Prior to the Takano match Nakamura put on her best performance so far. Utilizing pin point power strikes she broke down the remarkably durable Kyu Kitano for a brutal TKO finish. Nakamura’s strong suit is undoubtedly on her feet. Almost certainly the best striker in the tournament she faces an elite wrestler. Nakamura will take heart knowing she has experience at the highest level, and is now fighting at a more competitive weight class. This is a perfect match to set the tone for the Infinite League 2022 Atomweight Tournament!


About the Author

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

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)