Takashi Nakakura (yellow trunks) couldn’t overcome Kuniyoshi
Hironaka’s grappling. | Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
TOKYO -- Kuniyoshi
was thinking about retirement heading into his
lightweight contest with former Shooto
. However, the Japanese BJJ ace found a reason to
change his mind Friday at Shooto
in Tokyo Dome City Hall.
The UFC and Dream veteran relied on his grappling prowess and
toughed out a crucial unanimous verdict (30-28, 30-28, 29-28) over
Hironaka, the current Cage
Force lightweight champion, took the first round by securing
Nakakura's back and threatening with a rear-naked choke. However,
the Osakan evened up in the second frame with repeated guillotine
attempts and hard right hooks standing.
The 34-year-old Hironaka's BJJ black belt came into play in the
third, as he again took Nakakura's back and threatened with punches
and choke attempts to earn the win.
Post-fight, a teary-eyed and relieved Hironaka noted that he was
mulling retirement before this bout and that, should he have lost,
he would have decided to call it a day in the ring. The win moves
Hironaka's mark to 18-8.
The bout was the first for Nakakura since May 2009, when he was
knocked out by Takanori
Gomi inside Shooto's ring. In the defeat, Nakakura suffered a
detached retina that kept him on the sideline for nearly two years,
forced him to vacate the Shooto world title and ponder
All-action flyweight Yuki Shojo
returned from a 13-month absence to earn a unanimous decision over
Tahara. Shojo had his back taken early, but stormed back in the
second frame to pound "Shinpei" with punches and knees. In the
third round, Shojo turned up his ground-and-pound to seal the deal.
Judges Kyosuke Watanabe and Tadashi Yokohama saw it a close 29-28
and 30-29 respectively, while Toshiharu Suzuki had a wide 30-27 for
At 115 pounds, the spindly Mikihito
Yamagami used every inch of his 5-foot-8 frame to outbox the
barely 5-foot Atsushi
Takeuchi, taking scores of 30-26 and 30-27 (twice). It was a
textbook demonstration of effective reach, and save for a flash
knockdown which "Atch Anarchy" scored in the third, the smaller
fighter couldn't escape the jabs and low kicks of Yamagami.
Krazy Bee product Kyoji
Horiguchi affirmed his status as one of Shooto's hottest
up-and-comers, destroying Takahiro
Hosoi in their 132-pound affair. The 2010 rookie champion's
powerful punching blitzed Hosoi and put him away just 66 seconds
into the contest.
Underdog Akira Okada,
a pupil of Takanori
Gomi, used sprawl-and-brawl tactics to earn a split draw
(20-18, 19-19, 19-20) against former Shooto rookie champion
Matsumoto. Matusmoto, a Kuniyoshi Hironaka understudy, was
unable to consistently bring the fight to the floor to impose his
In the evening's lightweight opener, Daisuke
Hoshino was disqualified at 1:27 of the second round after
repeatedly low-blowing Munehiro "Mike"
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