Rumina Sato continues his move down the scale on July 18. | Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Shooto mainstay Rumina Sato and former 132-pound world champion Masakatsu Ueda will do battle at “Shootor’s Legacy 3” on July 18.
The Japanese promotion announced the bout Tuesday, marking the first addition to the summer card, which takes place at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The pair will meet at a catchweight of 134 pounds in a scheduled three-round affair.
Originally announced as a participant for April 29’s “Shooto Tradition 2011,” Sato was instead matched with Ueda after Shooto was unable to secure short-notice opposition for the “Moon Wolf.” In a statement released Tuesday, organizers cited “various factors” in the decision to shift Sato to the July bill, including foreign opponents’ apprehensiveness to travel to Japan following the March 11 Tohoku earthquake.
Sato, 37, has been a staple in the world’s longest-running MMA promotion since his debut in 1994. Having competed primarily at 154 pounds, the Roots gym leader’s quest for Shooto gold has seen him move down the scale in recent years. The bout with Ueda will mark the lowest contracted weight of Sato’s fighting career.
From 2005 to 2009, Sato hit a 1-6 skid which nearly saw him walk away from the sport. However, since unsuccessfully challenging “Lion” Takeshi Inoue for the Shooto 143-pound world title in May 2009, the grappling specialist has won back-to-back bouts, knocking out fellow Shooto legend Ryota Matsune and Team Quest member Corey Grant.
Ueda, meanwhile, burst onto the pro Shooto scene in 2006, winning that year’s 132-pound rookie tournament. The 33-year-old would go undefeated in his first 12 bouts, claiming the 132-pound world title and thrice defending it before being shockingly submitted by current champ Shuichiro Katsumura in March 2010. Since then, Ueda has posted consecutive wins against fellow ex-champ Akitoshi Tamura and Bellator veteran Ralph Acosta.