Inoue Recaptures Shooto Gold

By Tony Loiseleur Nov 29, 2008
TOKYO -- Takeshi Inoue recaptured the 143-pound title in the main event at Shooto “Tradition 4” on Saturday, as he took a contentious unanimous decision from defending champion Hideki Kadowaki in a tense three-round bout at Korakuen Hall.

From the outset of the bout, Kadowaki confidently connected with hard right straights and stiff jabs, a surprising development given his reputation as a grappling specialist. The challenger was stunned not by the strength of the blows but by Kadowaki’s newfound willingness to strike. In fact, Kadowaki had Inoue backpedalling and eating right hands for much of the opening round.

However, a sharp Inoue counter dropped Kadowaki with a flash knockdown midway through the period. He responded by catching a low kick and taking down Inoue, where he remained on top, in side control, until the bell.

Inoue regained some of his composure in the second period, adding hard low kicks to his stiff jabs. To his credit, Kadowaki stuck to his stand-up barrages and found his mark, not only on Inoue’s face and head but on his body, as well. Kadowaki secured the back clinch after a failed single leg toward the end of the round, but Inoue showed superior balance and neutralized Kadowaki’s takedown attempts.

Inoue turned up the heat in the third round, maneuvering Kadowaki into the corners and scoring with more jabs and low kicks. Though Kadowaki stuck to strikes, the champion showed signs of wear with errant punches and shaky footwork. With Inoue chasing the finish in the final minute, Kadowaki absorbed punches, body kicks and knees before barely ducking a high kick. Kadowaki dove forward and took down the challenger, as the two traded punches on the ground until time expired.

While Inoue appeared to do more damage, Kadowaki (13-8-2) showed he was game standing, as he went tit for tat with the challenger and controlled him during their few grappling exchanges. However, the judges saw fit to award Inoue (15-3) full points at bout’s end, as scores of 30-29, 30-28 and 30-28 opened the door to his second title reign.

Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog.com

Hatsu Hioki (top)
destroyed Rumina Sato.
Meanwhile, charismatic Shooto mainstay Rumina Sato dropped yet another fight in spectacular fashion -- this time to top featherweight Hatsu Hioki by way of savage ground-and-pound.

After he was slammed to the mat from the clinch, Sato (24-13-2) brought Hioki back to guard, where he threw up a sloppy attempt at rubber guard. Hioki, thanks to his length, effortlessly passed to half guard and eventually to full mount.

Reminiscent of Antonio Carvalho’s meeting with Sato two years prior, the Nagoya Shootor postured up and rained down with a salvo of big punches. Sato momentarily pried off Hioki with his legs, but Hioki (17-3-2) quickly reclaimed the mount, continued bludgeoning Sato with fists and forced the referee to step in at the 3:32 mark.

Hioki’s was not the only spectacular finish at the event.

Shooto’s 154-pound World champion, Takashi Nakakura, defeated European Shooto titleholder Bendy Casimir in a non-title bout. The finish resulted from a rear-naked choke with just two seconds left in the first round.

Casimir bullied Nakakura around the ring early but eventually found himself under the Japanese champion after he escaped a straight armbar. Nakakura piled up the punches and forced Casimir (16-5-2) to turn over and turtle. Nakakura (11-2-1) slipped in the choke and separated the Frenchman from consciousness, forcing referee Toshiharu Suzuki to call the fight 4:58 into round one. The loss snapped Casimir’s 12-fight winning streak.

Elsewhere, Ryota Matsune successor Hiromasa Ogikubo battled So Tazawa to a majority draw after three rounds of heavy grappling.

The first round went to the unbeaten Ogikubo (5-0-2), as he had Tazawa scrambling thanks to his ability to punch while passing guard. From the second period forward, however, Tazawa used his flexibility to suck Ogikubo back into guard every time he passed to side mount. Tazawa (8-3-3) stifled Ogikubo’s offense from the top, wearing him down enough to lock on an armbar attempt halfway through round two and reverse into top position at the end of the third. One judge gave the nod to Tazawa by a 29-28 count; the other two ruled it a draw by matching 29-29 scores.

In other action, Yutaka Ueda took out 37-year-old knee machine Jin Kazeta with relative ease in their 154-pound bout.

Kazeta worked over Ueda with early low kicks that Ueda (6-1-1) gladly absorbed in order to close the distance and find his range. Dropping Kazeta (8-9-2) with a combination midway through the first, Ueda noticed Kazeta stumble as he answered the count. A well-placed left hand dropped Kazeta again after the fight resumed, and Suzuki called it 3:23 into the first.

Finally, Katsuya Murofushi was on his way to winning a 115-pound showdown against Atsushi Takeuchi until he fell to a second-round submission.

Murofushi slaughtered Takeuchi’s lead leg with low kicks in the first period before three nose-bloodying hooks from Takeuchi (5-4-2) forced him to dive for the takedown. Murofushi (3-4) tried to replicate his first-round success with low kicks in the second, but an overzealous combination dodged by Takeuchi caused Murofushi to stumble head-first into the guillotine choke. The submission came 1:44 into the period.

Other Bouts
Taisuke Okuno def. Daisuke Okumiya -- Unanimous Decision
Yuta Nezu draw Nobuhiro Hayakawa -- Majority Draw
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