By Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
Professional Shooto returned with the start of its 20th anniversary series appropriately titled ‘Shooto Tradition”. A new champion was crowned while two top named fighters faltered.
In the main event, Shooto Welterweight Pac-Rim Champion Takashi Nakakura added the vacant Shooto World Welterweight title to his collection with a unanimous decision victory over the always tough Ganjo Tentsuku. The 154-pound belt was previously vacated by Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Nakakura started the match very relaxed, unafraid of Tentsuku’s proclivity for pressuring and brawling. The newly crowned champion kept his guard low as he countered his opponent with left jabs and low kicks. Nakakura utilized his jab well to keep Tentsuku at bay. The latter rounds mimicked the first with Nakakura landing stinging jabs. After three rounds, Takashi Nakakura was awarded a unanimous decision and the vacant title.
Former Pride standout Hayato “Mach” Sakurai tasted defeat for the first time since losing to Takanori Gomi back in 2005. Frenchman David Baron submitted Sakurai with a guillotine choke near the end of the opening round. A careless takedown attempt allowed Baron to pull off one of two big upsets of the evening.
Akitoshi Tamura rebounded after losing his 143-pound belt to Hideki Kadowaki back in March. Tamura defeated Rumina Sato in what was easily the fight of the night.
Tamura attempted to feel his opponent out early with leg kicks while Sato threw left and right hooks without hesitation. Tamura took Sato down about a minute into the first round, eventually controlling his back and dictating the action from there. Sato defended Tamura’s rear naked choke attempts well.
Round two saw a more aggressive Sato; unleashing a barrage of strikes and knees before taking his opponent down for some ground-n-pound. Sato stayed in Tamura’s guard, throwing punches while avoiding submission attempts. Doctors stopped the action midway to check on Tamura’s swelled right eye; the two tangled for a brief but exciting exchange after Tamura was cleared. The round finished with the former champion in Sato’s guard.
Sato landed a spinning side kick to begin the final round. After a brief scuffle, Tamura dropped the “Moon Wolf” with a right high kick. Sato was able to survive the barrage of punches that followed and countered with an inverse triangle choke. Tamura eventually escaped the hold and transitioned into the fight winning north-south choke.
In the other upset of the night, former Shooto 143-pound Champion “Lion” Takeshi Inoue lost a unanimous decision to Trenell “Savant” Young in class-B action. Young threw hard lead hooks to the head and body of his opponent while Inoue pushed the pace. “Lion” was able to take Young towards the end of the opening round.
Both fighters were more aggressive in the second and final round. With about two minutes remaining, “Savant” secured a really tight guillotine choke. As the effects of the hold began to take place, Inoue dove threw the ropes with Young still holding on. Young continued to hold the guillotine for more than ten seconds after going through the ropes; the refs broke the hold with Inoue momentarily, but clearly unconscious.
In a controversial move, the fighters were restarted in the middle of the ring. The two fighters finished the match with a few clinches and exchanges. In the end “Savant” Young was awarded the unanimous decision.
Takashi Nakakura def. Ganjo Tentsuku by decision
David Baron def. Hayato Sakurai by submission (Guillontine Choke) R1
Akitoshi Tamura def. Rumin Sato by submission (North-South Choke) at 2:37, R3
Savant Young def. Takeshi Inoue by Decision
Ryuich Miki vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani ended in a Draw (30-28, 28-28, 28-28)
Yusuke Endo def. Vince Ortiz by submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at3:34, R1
Bendy Casimir def. Shinji Sasaki by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-29, 29-28)
Shinpei Tahara def. Katsuya Murofushi by TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 0:46, R2
Hayate Usui def. Sakae Kasuya by Majority Decision (20-19, 19-19, 20-18)