Inoue Retains Shooto Title; Gomi Strikes Back at ‘The Final Tradition’

By Tony Loiseleur May 10, 2009
TOKYO -- Rumina Sato endured another bittersweet outing at Shooto “The Final Tradition” on Sunday, as he dropped a first-round technical knockout defeat to Shooto 143-pound world champion Takeshi Inoue at JCB Hall.

Both fighters started off in typical fashion, as Sato dazzled with daring offense and Inoue took his time to get comfortable before landing the kill shot. Despite bandages that reached from knee to ankle on his left leg, Sato was quite mobile, as he threw side kicks, spinning back kicks, axe kicks, flying knees and Superman punches at a hesitant Inoue. The low kicks and occasional jab Sato ate in response seemed of little consequence, as the “Charisma of Shooto” was on his way to winning a lopsided first round.

Sato’s big break came after he scored with a hard left hook that sent the champion to the mat. Sato jumped on the prone Inoue (16-3) and tried to finish, but “Lion Takeshi” covered up and quickly collected himself. Standing up in the clinch, an overzealous Sato unleashed a feeble knee to Inoue’s body before the champion opened up with four stout punches at close range. A dazed Sato careened back-first into a corner, as Inoue jumped to finish. Doing little more than cover up under the assault, Sato (24-14-2) was soon saved by referee Toshiharu Suzuki, who called a stop to the bout at 4:41 of the first period.

“I knew he’d be impatient to finish, so I wanted to take my time and proceed calmly,” Inoue said. “I won, but I owe my origins to Rumina. I want to one day become someone as influential as him.”

In the co-main event, former Pride Fighting Championships lightweight titleholder Takanori Gomi returned to the winner’s circle with a second-round knockout of Shooto 154 pound world champion Takashi Nakakura.

In shape and focused, “The Fireball Kid” played a tactical game, as he baited and engaged Nakakura from the center of the ring and wore him down with mixed-level combinations. Nakakura was not without his own offense, however, as he racked up low kicks, stiff jabs and hard right straights.

Gomi’s chin still proved solid, and Nakakura wilted under the accumulating punches, his left eye swelling shut after the first round. The end came in the final minute of the second period when Gomi shook up Nakakura (11-3-1) with right hooks to the face and body, sending him backwards into the ropes. Gomi then threw a right hook to the body, followed by a left and right hook to Nakakura’s head for the knockout. Referee Taro Wakabayashi jumped in at 4:41, as Gomi (30-5, 1 NC) swarmed to finish.

“I’ve come back home,” screamed an ecstatic Gomi, greeted by raucous applause. “This is my return to Shooto and a return to my style, the ‘Rascal Style.’ I don’t have a belt or anything now, so why don’t we throw down for one next time?”

Meanwhile, Shooto South America 154-pound champion Willamy Chiquerim submitted Pacific Rim 154-pound titleholder Yusuke Endo at the first-round bell.

When Endo botched an early takedown, Chiquerim (13-1) took advantage and captured mount. The Brazilian champion landed several punches before Endo pried him off with his legs and forced Chiquerim to stand in his guard. Endo (12-3-2) then sat up but landed right in Chiquerim’s arms for a guillotine choke. Suzuki called the catch a minute later, but Chiquerim was forced the tap out soon after.

The most surprising finish belonged to Cage Force lightweight champion and Sengoku veteran Mizuto Hirota, who shocked everyone by destroying Mitsuhiro Ishida.

Ishida (18-5-1) circled Hirota, landed harrying low kicks and baited the Gutsman banger forward. Hirota, who only recently discovered the wonders of taping his hands, absorbed the punishment and patiently set up the fight-ending one-two, which seemed to knock the wrestler out cold in a corner. Hirota (11-3-1) lunged to finish, but as Ishida sat up to drive for a double-leg, Wakabayashi stepped in for the stoppage just 93 seconds into the first round.

Elsewhere, Kotetsu Boku got back on track, as he dispatched Yutaka Ueda in the first round.

Pumping a stiff jab into Ueda’s face, Boku followed up with grazing right hooks; Ueda responded by landing low kicks. The end came when Boku (14-5-2) disengaged from the clinch and sent a stiffened Ueda to the mat with a flurry that ended with a hard right straight. Boku closed in on his fallen foe and dropped punches as Ueda (6-2-1) covered up. Having seen enough, Wakabayashi intervened at 4:56 of round one.

Finally, the unbeaten Megumi Fujii did not even break a sweat against South Korean import Won Bun Chu. Fujii (17-0) dropped for a leg lock right at the opening bell, but, in defense, Chu fell on her with her full weight. Chu (0-1) survived kneebar and toehold attempts, but she could not stop Fujii from taking mount and ultimately moving to side mount, where she locked up the keylock. Suzuki called the stop at 0:52 of the first round.

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Kenichiro Togashi def. Tetsuji Kato -- Majority Decision
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