TOKYO -- 2008 rookie MVP Issei Tamura took a hard-earned decision Sunday over Hayate Usui in the main event of Shooto Gig Tokyo 2 at Shinjuku FACE.
Game to bang for someone with a day job in the respectable field of book publishing, the gritty Usui struggled defending against the explosive Tamura. Tamura shot relentlessly for takedowns and lunged with quick, heavy right hooks. He landed flush at times, but Usui stayed lucid for most of the fight, clinching up whenever his opponent did manage to spark him.
As for the takedowns, Tamura dragged his opponent to the floor three times and captured Usui's back to threaten with punches. Usui spun around into Tamura's guard on two occasions, but he could offer little offense from the top. In the end, all three judges gave the fight to the Krazy Bee fighter: 20-19, 20-18, 20-18.
Daisuke Ishizawa made short work of Sakae Kasuya. After being whipped to the canvas by a Kasuya single-leg takedown, Ishizawa launched a barrage of up-kicks when Kasuya stood up in his guard. The first two hit and Kasuya was dazed, allowing Ishizawa to land three more. Kasuya then dropped to his knees, and referee Toshiharu Suzuki jumped in for the save at 1:15 in the first round.
Toshimichi Akagi drew with Fumihiro Kitahara in their 123-pound two-rounder. Kitahara tenaciously pressed forward, sticking to a pattern of punches and kicks followed by takedown attempts. Though Kitahara took Akagi down a few times, Akagi was difficult to keep on the canvas. As such, Kitahara won the first round with his relentless strikes and takedowns, but Akagi stole the second period after taking Kitahara's back to threaten first with a choke and then with an armbar. Splitting a round apiece, all three judges ruled the bout a 19-19 draw.
Shooting Gym Yokohama's resident 115-pound firecracker Junji “Flying Monkey” Ito notched a win over a tough Kenichi Sawada. Though Sawada bravely threw tit for tat with Ito, Ito’s strikes were by far more effective. Taking Sawada's best punches in order to land bombs of his own, Ito wore Sawada down and hurt him with a flurry early in the second period. Sawada surged forward with punches in a desperate effort to fight back. Matador-like, Ito evaded and used Sawada's momentum to whip him into the corner before taking his back and sinking the fight-ending rear-naked choke, rendering Sawada unconscious at the 47-second mark.
“Fight of the Night” honors go to Yuta Nezu and Masato Sannai. They took it to each other for 10 minutes in a blistering 132-pound war. Though Sannai valiantly tried to bang with Nezu, Nezu racked up more damage with his winging hooks and sharp, resounding low kicks. Nezu also demonstrated dynamic takedown defense, at one point turning a Sannai takedown into a kimura off of the ensuing scramble for the catch point. This, combined with Nezu's heavier hitting, had all three judges favoring him for the unanimous decision: 20-17, 20-18, 20-18.
Haruo Ochi starched Seiji Akao, but before he could finish him, Akao's corner threw in the towel. Knocked silly by a huge right straight from Ochi, Akao turned into the ropes. As he dizzily got to his feet, Ochi lunged to finish but found referee Suzuki in his way as Akao's towel came sailing over the ropes at the 2:18 mark in the first period.
In the evening's sole rookie tournament bout, the 115-pound Tomokazu Sato pitched a shutout on Atsushi Mochizuki, controlling the grappling in both rounds to get a 20-18 unanimous decision from all three judges.
In other Shooto happenings Sunday, six additional bouts were announced for the May 10 20th anniversary card, “Shooto Tradition Final.” In an interesting cross-promotional bout that will pit a Dream and Shooto alumnus against a Sengoku and Shooto alumnus, Mitsuhiro Ishida will face Cage Force lightweight champion Mizuto Hirota. Strikeforce and longtime Shooto vet Tetsuji Kato will meet Shooto No. 4-ranked 154-pounder Kenichiro Togashi. Also, Pacific Rim welterweight champion Yusuke Endo will face South American welterweight champion Willamy Chiquerim.
Additional bouts announced: Top pound-for-pound female mixed martial artist Megumi Fujii will meet Dong Hee Kim; “Wicky” Akiyo Nishiura will fight Takumi Ota; and Takesuke Kume will take on Jun Yong Jae.