Professional Shooto has two new world champions.
Saturday, leading Shooto promoter Sustain and Japanese streetwear company Mobstyles collaborated for another card in their “Fight and Mosh” series inside the Maihama Amphitheater in Urayasu, Japan, with a championship doubleheader. In the headliner, former 135-pound champion Hiromasa Ogikubo earned his second Shooto world title, snatching Masaaki Sugawara's 125-pound crown with a guillotine choke in the fifth and final frame.
Ogikubo (15-3-2) was in control of the title fight from the outset, putting the incumbent titlist on the mat repeatedly with his powerful, driving takedowns. Sugawara (18-11-1) was able to sweep and escape on occasion, but by the championship rounds, the 36-year-old was worn down by Ogikubo's relentless pressure on top. An arm-triangle choke late in round four was a clear indication of Ogikubo's increasing dominance in the bout, setting the stage for the Paraestra Matsudo product to seal the deal in the last round.
With a swollen and cut right eye, Sugawara tried to get his volume punching attack going, only to end up beneath Ogikubo, desperately trying to scramble to his feet. With 30 seconds left, the champion tried to stand once more, rolling head first into a guillotine. Ogikubo tightened his grip, passed into full mount and choked Sugawara unconscious, forcing referee Minoru Toyonaga into action with just 12 seconds left in the 25-minute affair.
With the win, Ogikubo has won nine of his last 10 bouts and remains undefeated as a flyweight, with his last loss coming to UFC standout Kyoji Horiguchi in their 135-pound title fight in March 2013. The strap makes Ogikubo just the second man to hold Shooto world titles in two weight classes, following after Shooto icon Mamoru Yamaguchi. The fifth-round guillotine also snapped Sugawara's five-fight winning streak.
In the first of the evening's two Shooto world title bouts, Koshi Matsumoto (16-6-2) upgraded his Shooto Pacific Rim title and earned some revenge over previously unbeaten Yuki Kawana (10-1-5), taking the vacant Shooto world 155-pound title with a third-round rear-naked choke.
Matsumoto and Kawana previously met in the Shooto ring last July, fighting to a razor-thin majority draw after 15 minutes. Their rematch was for the vacant Shooto title that was relinquished by Matsumoto's head trainer, Kuniyoshi Hironaka, in December, but the championship rounds would not be necessary.
Matsumoto was soundly bested for the first 10 minutes. The Master Japan product couldn't buy a takedown as Kawana sprawled and brawled ably, stuffing his shots and repeatedly landing hooks and uppercuts, even dropping Matsumoto with a sharp left hook in the second frame. However, in a fight-ending sequence that typified the evening, Matsumoto put Kawana on the ground early in round three, then jumped on his back when his foe attempted to scramble. Matsumoto locked up the rear-naked choke standing and while Kawana tried to violently roll forward and shake him off, he couldn't extricate himself and was forced to tap out 44 seconds into the third round.
The new Shooto world champion Matsumoto is now unbeaten in his last seven contests with five finishes.
In non-title action, Shooto 145-pound world champ and hot prospect Yutaka Saito pushed his record to 12-1-2 with a first-round submission of unknown 17-year-old South Korean Min Jae Kim (0-1). The Shooto Pacific Rim champ had little trouble securing a takedown, full mount then a rear-naked choke against his outmatched teenage adversary, ending the bout in just 3:11.
In another featherweight showcase bout, former Ultimate Fighting Championship title challenger and veteran Japanese MMA star Caol Uno (33-18-5) picked up a tune-up victory over South Korea's Jung Ho Hwang (0-2).
“Uno Shoten” used his trademark techniques, shooting then scrambling to Hwang's back where he spent most of round one. Right from the second-round horn, the 40-year-old Uno shot and secured his patented no-hooks rear-naked choke from the turtle position, coaxing the tap just 31 seconds into the round.
Former World Extreme Cagefighting title challenger Yoshiro Maeda (34-15-5) took his fourth straight win with an impressive second-round rear-naked choke of “Rambo” Kosuke Suzuki (11-6-3) at flyweight. Maeda capitalized on a takedown in early round two, cutting through Suzuki's guard then taking the back in a scramble, locking up the choke at 2:43 of the middle stanza.
Rumina Sato pupil Taiki Tsuchiya (12-6) used solid takedown defense and powerful punching to set up an arm-triangle choke finish against bantamweight Kosuke Terashima (12-11-3). After controlling most of the bout, Tsuchiya dropped “Coro” off a counter hook in round three, moved to top position and casually grabbed the fight-clinching side choke, finishing it from the top of half guard against his exhausted opponent at 3:47 of the final frame.
Krazy Bee featherweight Ryogo Takahashi (8-3) overcame repeated fouls in his fight with Taison Naito (7-2-1) to take a unanimous verdict (29-25, 30-27, 29-26). Takahashi was the superior striker, using low kicks and clean right crosses to hit his target, even dropping him in the third round, but was forced to overcome three low blows before the final horn sounded.
Also at 145 pounds, veteran Wataru Miki (22-14-6) settled for a majority draw (20-20, 19-19, 20-19) against upstart Jin Aoi (2-0-1). Miki controlled Aoi on the ground for most of the bout but couldn't generate enough offense to sway the judges.
In the night 125-pound opener, “Onibozu” Tadaaki Yamamoto (12-8-3) earned two points in Shooto's 2016 Infinity League round robin series, taking a majority decision (20-19, 20-19, 19-19) over Kazuhiro Fujita (4-4-2). In a close bout, it was a first-round knockdown that sealed it for Yamamoto.