Shooto Sets 9-Bout Lineup for 2011 Rookie Tournament Final

By Chris Nelson Nov 30, 2011
Former rookie champions and unbeaten hopefuls line the nine-fight bill for Shooto’s 2011 Rookie Tournament Final released Tuesday by the Japanese organization.

Shooto will crown its 10th class of freshman aces Dec. 18 at Shinjuku Face in Tokyo, with six tourney finals ranging from 115 to 168 pounds bolstered by a trio of Class B bouts.

In non-tournament action, flamboyant Dokonjonosuke Mishima disciple and 2010 roookie champ at 115 pounds Masayoshi Kato (a.k.a. Macho the Butterfly) will try to keep his perfect record intact against Shinya Murofushi. Krazy Bee’s Yusuke Yachi, the 2009 rookie champ at 143 pounds, will look to get back in the win column against Kazuhiro Ito, and ex-strawweight ranker Katsuya Murofushi will return from a 26-month absence against Tadaaki Yamamoto.

Perhaps the 2011 rookie field’s brightest prospect, 154-pounder Yusuke Kasuya (Pictured) of Akimoto Dojo, will square off with Nobumitsu Taison, who comes fresh off a first-round knockout in his Nov. 27 semifinal. The youngest finalist, 19-year-old Yuya “Monkey” Shibata, vies for the top spot at 123 pounds against 29-year-old Hiroshi Osato, while 115-pound armbar machine Jun “Requiem” Nakamura tangles with Osaka’s Satoshi Sasao.

Reversal Gym Yokohama and Hayato Sakurai’s Mach Dojo each send two representatives to the tournament finals. The teams will clash at 143 pounds when Sakurai student Yoshifumi Nakamura meets Chuji Kato, while Reversal’s Michinori Tanaka faces Akihito Ishihara at 132 pounds and Mach’s Yuki Okano takes on Gota Yamashita at 168 pounds.

All fights are scheduled for two five-minute rounds; in the event of a draw, tournament finals are decided by an extension round.

Shooto has held staggered tournaments in multiple weight classes since 2002 to determine the organization’s top newcomers. Notable past rookie champions include Takeya Mizugaki, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Hiroyuki Takaya.
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>