Champs reigned supreme, old guards fell and prospects continued to rise on Friday night at Shooto
- Shootor's Legacy 4 from the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
In the evening's main event, Shooto Pacific Rim 154-lbs champion Yoshihiro Koyama
took a contentious split decision to retain his strap against former Pacific Rim champion Kenichiro Togashi
. Koyama appeared to be getting the worst of the striking and struggled to complete takedowns, but simple aggressive effort alone was enough to get the judge's favor against a defensive Togoshi.
Also on the card, 2010 Sengoku Welterweight GP champion Keita "K-Taro" Nakamura
had his homecoming party spoiled, eating a knee to the face from reigning 169-lbs Pacific Rim champion Akihiro Murayama
before getting choked out midway thought the first and Kyoji Horiguchi
, Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto teammate and 2010's Shooto Rookie MVP, cemented his status as Japan's hottest prospect, demolishing yet another opponent to move his record to 6-0 with five wins coming by KO.
Full results after the break.
Yoshihiro Koyama managed to retain his recently acquired 154-lbs Pacific Rim strap, but only by the slimmest of margins.
After three measured and defensive rounds, at least one judge felt that number one-ranked Kenichiro Togashi's piston-like jab and defensive wrestling should have scored against the champion, but Koyama's control of the ring, lunging punches and a last round takedown effort was enough to sway the remaining two officials. The decision that saw Koyama retain his title certainly wasn't a horrible one, but it was clear to many in attendance that Togashi was doing more damage and effectively nullifying Koyama's game.
Keita "K-Taro" Nakamura, a Shooto Rookie champion, former Shooto Pacific Rim Champion and 2010 Sengoku Welterweight GP champion, was expected to walk through reigning 167-lbs Pacific Rim champion Akihiro Murayama and for the first minute of their short bout, that's exactly what was happening.
Nakamura, a UFC veteran, took the center of the ring and controlled the bout with his length early but midway through the first, Nakamura shot an ill-fated singled that was countered with a devastating knee to the nose. As blood exploded from Nakamura's nose, Murayama pounced on his opponent with punches before taking the bout to the canvas and securing the "Kadowaki special", a variation of the rear naked choke.
After turning in yet another dominant performance, Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto sparring partner and 2010 Shooto Rookie MVP Kyoji Horiguchi has to be considered the greatest prospect in Japan, if not Asia.
It was simply too easy for the 132-lbs powerhouse, blasting the hapless Naohiro Mizuno with kicks to the legs and body for eight minutes until Horiguchi finally decided to end it and utilized his hands - immediately dropping his opponent and raining in fists for the the KO. At no stage was the Krazy Bee product in any trouble and it was clear that Horiguchi was capable of finishing Mizuno at any moment.
Horiguchi will continue to climb the ranks in Shooto but a move to a major league promotion seems likely as soon as he picks up a win over a name opponent.
Coming off his quick Pacific Rim title match knockout loss to Yoshihiro Koyama, Shinji Sasaki was far too passive in his bout with Shin Kochiwa, going down by unanimous decision in a mild upset.
Sasaki was content to measure the distance with his jab and throw single strikes in the slow three-round bout and even when Kochiwa started to take over with his harder strikes through in combinations, there was no sense of urgency from Sasaki. After three rounds, the three judges had no issues in awarding Kochiwa the decision.
In his first appearance at the storied Korakuen Hall, Guy Delumeau's tenacity proved far too much for 2009 Rookie Tournament champion Yuta Sasaki, the Hawaiian besting the formerly undefeated submission artist to win a unanimous decision.
Sasaki started aggressively early, leaping in with a flying knee as the opening gong was still ringing, but Delumeau's relentless takedown attempts, strength and surprisingly creative submission attempts broke Sasaki. A twister attempt in the second and choke, neck crank attempts in the last period and a plethora of punches along the way had Sasaki coughing up blood by the end and the judges had no problem in moving Delumeau into the upcoming 143-lbs Pacific Rim tournament.Shooto - Shootor's Legacy 4 - Sept 23. at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Shooto Pacific Rim 154-lbs Title Match
Yoshihiro Koyama def. Kenichiro Togashi by Split Decision
Akihiro Murayama def. Keita Nakamura
by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) - Round 1, 2:30
Kyoji Horiguchi def. Naohiro Mizuno by KO (Punches) - Round 2, 3:22
Shin Kochiwa def. Shinji Sasaki by Unanimous Decision
Guy Delumeau def. Yuta Sasaki by Unanimous Decision
Haruo Ochi def. Ryuichi Miki by Split Decision
Kosuke Kindaichi def. Kazuhiro Ito by Submission (Kimura) - Round 2, 3:49
Koji Nishioka def. Fumihiko Kawamura by Unanimous Decision
Hirosumi Sugiura def. Tetsuo Seto by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Round 2 - 4:47