Akimoto, Ikoma Earn Second Shooto Draw

By Stephen Martinez Jun 21, 2008
TOKYO - Shooto's "Shooting Disco 5" introduced fighters to musical tracks like "It's Raining Men" and "Mr. Vain," but still managed to deliver some serious knockouts and submissions at Shinjuku Face arena on Saturday.

The main event was unable to live up to the rest of the card, however, when Jin Akimoto (Pictures) and Junji Ikoma (Pictures) failed to complete their unfinished business. The pair fought to a hotly contested draw in January and suffered the same fate in the rematch.

The two journeymen traded submissions attempts and strikes over the course of their second three-round bout, but were unable to come close to a decisive resolution. Akimoto got the better of the exchanges with spinning backfists, back kicks, submission attempts and superior positioning.

The 38-year-old Ikoma's best moments were upkicks and a period in the first round when he had the 37-year-old Akimoto's back. However,Ikoma was unable to threaten a submission or score with punches.

At the final bell, Akimoto celebrated what he thought was the inevitable win, while Ikoma kneeled in the corner covering his head.

The judges saw it differently, however, scoring the bout 29-28, 28-29 and 29-29. The crowd booed when the score favoring Ikoma was announced. Ikoma may have felt the same way, ignoring the offer of another rematch. Instead, Ikoma suggested the two have a birthday party together.

After beating 123-pound champion Shinichi "BJ" Kojima in January, So Tazawa (Pictures) continued his hot streak by handing Junya "KODO" Kudo his first defeat via a unanimous decision. Tazawa out-struck and out-grappled Kudo over the course of three Class A rounds. Early in the second, after rising from a takedown, Tazawa landed a clean right hook directly on Kudo's jaw that sent him face first into the mat. Though he was able to recover, Kudo was soon in trouble again after a rolling kimura attempt was locked in sufficiently to prompt the referee to call a "catch" before he was able to escape.

In Class B action, Yoshitaro Niimi (Pictures) and Taisuke Okuno left it all in the ring during their welterweight clash. For two rounds, the pair went toe-to-toe with uppercuts, hooks and knees to determine who would likely be receiving a Class A promotion. Nimii got the better of the exchanges and won by split decision.

At 115 pounds, Noboru "Shinpei" Tahara overcame suspect striking and an early knockdown to submit Atsushi "ATCH Anarchy" Takeuchi at 3:26 of the second round. Takeuchi's southpaw stance clearly caused Tahara problems, when he landed nearly every straight left he threw and scored a knockdown two minutes in. Tahara recovered when "ATCH Anarchy" rushed in for the finish, missed and found himself on the receiving end of effective punches while on the bottom.

In the second, Takeuchi was again able land with his hands, causing the most problems during transitions, but once Tahara was able to secure side control, the fat lady started singing. Tahara quickly moved to mount and then secured an armbar, torquing a painful 45-degree angle in Takeuchi's arm before the referee stepped in.

Eiji Murayama (Pictures) comfortably accounted for Yuji Inoue (Pictures) in their featherweight match. Murayama landed an excellent left-right-left combination before getting a takedown, back control and an armbar that stopped the fight at 4:40 of the first.

Cornered by Shinya Aoki (Pictures), Ayumu "Gozo" Shioda wasn't able to use the aura of the Dream submission magician to his advantage, getting knocked out in the second round by a right-straight, flying-knee combination against Seiji Otsuka (Pictures). "Gozo" was on his heels from the start, eating a right hook and literally running to survive at one point in the first.

Nozomu Otsuka seized victory in his pro debut over Yosuke "Flying Monkey * No. 2" Saruta, who may be the only MMA fighter to incorporate a symbol into his nickname. After recovering from a painful groin strike, Otsuka was on track to a hard-fought decision when he unknowingly dislocated his elbow at 3:25 of the second round. It was a bizarre sight to behold as Otsuka attempted to throw punches whilst in guard, not realizing that his forearm wasn't responding as it should. His corner eventually noticed and threw in the towel.

The annual Shooto Rookie Tournament saw some elderly action at flyweight when 37-year-old Nari Fujita dropped a split decision to 27-year-old Hiroaki Ijima. Ijima's versatile leg-lock game -- incorporating Achilles tendon pulls, calf slicers, heelhooks and toe holds -- was not enough to finish the elderly rookie.

Purebred's Daisuke "Hunt" Okumiya was a one-trick pony against Shin Kochiwa, pulling guard constantly and trying to employ the rubber guard. Unable to get the submission, despite having Kochiwa tied up in a triangle, Okumiya's inability to finish helped lead to the uneventful draw.

In a battle between the winless Hidenori Nishino (Pictures) and Kenichiro Marui (Pictures), Nishino emerged with the victory via a solid knockout from ground-and-pound at 52 seconds in the first round.
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