Officials from Japan’s Shooto
organization this week announced that Shooto world title fights
will be contested over five rounds of five minutes each, effective
Jan. 16, 2013.
Non-title affairs in Shooto’s Class A division will remain
three-round contests, but officials announced that Class B fighters
-- previously restricted to two-round fights -- will now be
eligible to compete in three-round bouts. Shooto’s next “major”
event will take place Nov. 11 at
Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
Founded in 1984 by Satoru Sayama -- also known as pro-wrestling’s
original Tiger Mask -- Shooto held its inaugural amateur show in
1986 and then put forth its first pro offering in 1989. Though
Shooto’s rule set is now much closer to the unified rules of MMA
with which most North American fans have become familiar, the
Japanese combat sport previously operated under unique guidelines,
allowing strikes to the back of the head and requiring an
eight-count be given to fighters who had been knocked down. Both of
those rules were abolished in 2009.
Many Shooto champions have gone on to compete successfully in both
the defunct Pride Fighting Championships and the UFC, including
Hioki, Caol Uno,
Hansen, Jake Shields,
Bahadurzada and Takanori