by Benoit Barberousse – MMAWeekly.com
Change and stagnation marked last night’s festivities as both veteran and rookie entered the ring in the fourth installment of Shooto’s ‘Back To Our Roots’ tour, this time held in the legendary Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

The night began with STG Yokohama rookie Junji quickly dispatching Takehisa Toyoshima in the first round. The excitement was followed by Hayato Sakurai student Tomonori Taniguchi stopping opponent Naohiro Mizuo in the first as well, granting himself a three-win streak. The undercard came to a close when Rumina Sato bred Keisuke Yamada won both rounds and then some in his bout with Kyotaro Nakao.

Yuki Shojou and Bantamweight contender Masatoshi Abe kicked off the feature card. After an early rush in the first, Abe found himself grasping Shojou for protection after being taken down off a knee strike by. Abe would escape the position and dish out some of his own before letting the round end with Shoujo back on his feet.

The second began with a whimper as Shoujo accidentally delivered a kick to the groin. After a brief interval for recovery, the battle began again as Abe would catch Shoujo in a guillotine after forcing a tackle. Both on their feet, Shoujo would escape the hold and trip Abe down, initiating some ground and pound. Abe would not be party to the onslaught, however, and attempted a heel hook which awarded him top position, only to fall into a guillotine. Though he escaped the attempt, Abe found himself unable to beat the pressure of a second attempt by Shoujo and succumbed to the tap out.

The now fallen-from-grace Takeya Mizugaki sought to prove he still had what it takes to climb the Shooto Featherweight ladder as he defended his place against rising star Masakazu Ueda. Ueda was largely ineffective in the first, finding himself on the wrong end of several strong blows from Mizugaki. Waiting for openings and opportunities to impress his wrestling ability upon Mizugaki, Ueda was largely ineffective throughout the first half.

Ueda would be come back strong in the second, as his earnestness eventually earned him Mizugaki’s back and a rear naked choke attempt. The third finished with Ueda becoming ever more recalcitrant as he surprised a Mizugaki expecting takedowns with punches, scoring takedowns as well, exhausting the time limit. The judges ruled the bout a draw.

An over-matched Mark Duncan had little justification for the long flight to Japan as he was submitted by former Champion Takeshi Inoue. Turning his back to avoid Lion’s ground and pound assault, Duncan succumbed to a rear naked choke. After the bout, Lion announced his intention to capture the Pacific Rim Lightweight title before attempting to regain the world title he lost to Akitoshi Tamura in May.

Shooto Pac Rim Welterweight Champion Takashi Nakakura also left the ring early, dispatching Jani Lax in the first round with a heel hook in a non-title bout.

Shooto World Bantamweight Champion Shinichi Kojima was on vacation from defending his strap after his epic battle with Yasuhiro Urushitani in March. Here Kojima participated in a non-title bout with up-and-comer Yasuhiro Akagi. Much of the first round was spent in Akagi’s guard as he held Kojima’s head in an unsecured guillotine. ‘BJ’ however received the better of the prior stand-up exchanges and finished the round with ground and pound after escaping Akagi’s grasp.

In the second, Kojima went after Akagi in the stand-up, damaging him with straights and forcing Akagi to look for a takedown. Akagi stuffed Kojima into a corner with just that in mind but was forced away by Kojima, who scored his own takedown after a quick 1-2. Akagi unsuccessfully grasped for a guillotine and delayed Kojima’s ground and pound enough to force a stand-up. Kojima began to take over the stand-up again, but fell victim to a takedown in the process. Scoring some strikes from the top, Akagi was soon reversed. Avoiding a rain of punches, Akagi escaped to his feet where both ended the round in a slug fest.

The third round saw Akagi attempt a takedown, only to be outmaneuvered by Kojima who’d taken the youngster’s back with a duck under. Akagi sought to thwart his efforts however by holding Kojima’s left arm, only to be forced to capitulate to Kojima’s demand for complete standing back control with a violent punch to the head. As Kojima began to secure a rear naked choke with his newly freed arm Akagi’s ear began to bleed intensely, calling for a doctor check. The bleeding is too severe and the fight is waved off in Kojima’s favor.

The night’s finale saw reigning Shooto Light Heavyweight Champion Shikou Yamashita lose his title against the relatively unknown Siyar Bahadurzada, fighting out of Martijn “the Specialist” de Jong’s Tatusjin Dojo, also home to Women’s MMA star Marloes Coenens.

Bahadurzada filled out the first round frustrating Yamashita’s attempts to escape his stand-up. With a definite reach advantage and strong sense of timing, Bahadurzada saw Yamashita’s shots coming a mile away, fiercely countering and overwhelming Yamashita in the stand-up.

The second round was a genetic replica of the first, the only mutation being Yamashita’s attempt at a standing guillotine near the end which Bahadurzada escaped.

Luck seemed to finally be on Yamashita’s side as he succeeding in taking down Bahadurzada, though even here his efforts were unfruitful as they met Bahadurzada’s rubber guard. A return to the feet saw Yamashita attempt another takedown only to be grounded himself by Bahadurzada, who finished the round throwing knees to Yamashita’s body from side control and earning himself the title of Shooto World Light Heavyweight Champion.

Official Results:

52KG, 2R 5M
Junji Ito (STG Yokohama) defeats Takehisa Toyoshima (MMA Dojo STF) via Technical Knockout at :53 of the First Round

2007 Shooto Lightweight Rookie Tournament Semifinal
65KG, 2R 5M
Tomonori Taniguchi (Mach Dojo) defeats Naohiro Mizuno (PUREBRED Omiya) via Technical Knockout at 3:53 of the First Round

65KG, 2R 5M
Keisuke Yamada (roots) defeats Kyotaro Nakao (STG Yokohama) via Unanimous Decision (20-19, 20-18, 20-19)

56KG, 3R 5M
Yuki Shoujo (Cross-One Gym Shonan) defeats Masatoshi Abe (AACC) via Submission (Guillotine) at 3:33 of the Second Round

60KG, 3R 5M
Takeya Mizugaki (STG Hachioji) drew Masakazu Ueda (PARAESTRA Tokyo) via Majority Draw (29-28, 29-29, 29-29)

65KG, 3R 5M
Takeshi Inoue (STG Yokohama) defeats Mark Duncan (Tatsujin Dojo) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:16 of the First Round

70KG, 3R 5M
Takashi Nakakura (STG Osaka) defeats Jani Lax via Submission (Heel Hook) at 2:54 of the First Round

56KG, 3R 5M
Shinichi Kojima (Katsumura Dojo) defeats Yasuhiro Akagi (ALIVE) via Technical Knockout at 3:36 of the First Round

SHOOTO World Light Heavyweight Championship
82KG, 3R 5M
Siyar Bahadurzada (Golden Glory) defeats Shikou Yamashita (PARAESTRA Sapporo) via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)