clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Shooto Restarts MMA in Tokyo Following Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

TOKYO - It had only half the fights of the originally planned event, was in a smaller venue, was sparsely attended and carried a somber mood, but MMA finally restarted in Tokyo on Friday night with Shooto: Shootor's Legacy 02 at Shinjuku FACE.

Shooto's second major event for the year was originally scheduled for March 12, the day after the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami battered North East Japan, taking the lives of over 10,000 people with many more still missing and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

With fears of a nuclear meltdown still looming, MMA returning to Tokyo was a welcome distraction and a testament to Japan's ability to rally and continue on with life despite significant hardship.
Social outings in Japan have been a rarity since March 11 and the atmosphere at the Shooto charity event was reserved as many used the opportunity to catch up with other members of the community to discuss the continuing series of disasters that have rocked Japan.

Takanori Gomi, Hayato "Mach" Sakurai, Shooto featherweight champion Shuichiro Katsumura and Shooto great Rumina Sato put up rare items for auction to raise funds for disaster victims (although "Mach" amusingly was unable to remember where he got most of the items he was auctioning) while Caol Uno, "Lion" Takeshi Inoue and others were on hand to collect donations from patrons.

Leading Shooto promoter Sustain had hoped for a twelve-fight card but due to the disasters, was only able to piece together six fights and so further entertainment was needed. Former Shooto bantamweight and featherweight ace Mamoru Yamaguchi put on an MMA exhibition match with Shooto Pan Pacific lightweight champion Taiki Tsuchiya and Shuichiro Katsumura and Rumina Sato also participated in an entertaining Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu exhibition match with Sato claiming the victory via points with his sweeps.

In the evening's main event, Pancrase flyweight king Kiyotaka Shimizu put on a clinic against Junya "Kodo" Kudo, controlling the fight with his Sambo inspired wrestling before spinning to Kudo's back to get the rear naked choke midway through the second stanza.

Wajutsu Keishukai RJW product Wataru Miki provided the highlight of the night as he fought two competitive rounds with Takayoshi "Tiger Eye" Ono until a moment of Zen in the final minute of the second round from side control. Miki simply stepped over his opponent's head and triangled his legs and much to his surprise, managed to force the tap by inverted triangle choke.

Crowd favorite Kosuke "Rambo" Suzuki put on an passion filled performance with Tadaaki "Onibozu" Yamamoto, the two hammering each other with powerful punches, with neither fighter able to get an advantage. After two rounds of violence, the judges rightly ruled the bout a draw.

2010 Shooto rookie champion Yuta "Uruka" Sasaki just managed to get by Hayato "Mach" Sakurai pupil Yoshifumi Nakamura as he used his striking to get the unconvincing majority decision. Sasaki has grown a reputation for his dangerous submission game following his impressive rookie tournament performance last year and Nakamura gave him no chance to flex his grappling muscles in their encounter.

Yusei Shimokawa and Takehiro "Tiger" Ishii were inseparable as they fought a competitive although uninspiring two rounds that were ultimately ruled a draw and in the evening's opener, Kenji Yamamoto battered Kenta Sakuma for two rounds, dominating with powerful punches that tested the jawline and sprawling to prevent Sakuma from gaining and safety on the mat.

Despite the empty seats and somber mood, life is finally returning to normal in Tokyo for the MMA community.

Shooto: Shootor's Legacy 02 - April 1st, 2011 at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan

Kiyotaka Shimizu def. Junya "Kodo" Kudo by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 2, 3:16
Wataru Miki def. Takayoshi "Tiger Eye" Ono by Submission (Inverted Triangle) – Round 2, 4:06
Kosuke "Rambo" Suzuki drew. Tadaaki "Onibozu" Yamamoto
Yuta "Uruka" Sasaki def. Yoshifumi Nakamura by Majority Decision
Yusei Shimokawa drew. Takehiro "Tiger" Ishii
Kenji Yamamoto def. Kenta Sakuma by Unanimous Decision

Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu Exhibition Match
Rumina Sato def. Shuichiro Katsumura by Points (6-2)

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting