Akihiro Murayama (red trunks) clinched a Shooto Pacific Rim title Saturday. | Photo: Taro Irei

After dropping a decision in 2009 and coming up short in a contentious February draw, Akihiro Murayama made sure to put his stamp on his third meeting with Yoichiro Sato at Shooting Disco 15 “Try Hard, Japan!”

For the second event in a row, the Gutsman Shooto Dojo-produced series was headlined Saturday at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Face by a title bout between Shooto Pacific-Rim 167-pound champion Sato and Gutsman rep Murayama. The opening frame would prove the most competitive, as Murayama looked to pound from guard while Sato shifted below, throwing up armbar and heel hook attempts.

The challenger took control down the stretch, however, imposing his grinding clinch and top games on the Gracie Barra fighter for the better part of rounds two and three. The judges saw it unanimously with a trio of 30-27 scorecards for the 31-year-old Murayama, who afterward described the bout as “must-win” and requested a fight at Korakuen Hall as part of “Shootor’s Legacy 4” on September 23.

T. Irei

Hanawa (front) was stopped late.

Despite admitting some reservations beforehand, Masaaki Sugawara dominated onetime Wajutsu Keishukai teammate Shinichi Hanawa in the evening’s 123-pound co-main event. Sugawara began his striking onslaught early and never let up, busting Hanawa’s nose with a first-round high kick and worsening the damage over two rounds with repeated left jabs and right crosses.

Deep into the third period, Sugawara saw his chance when Hanawa turned to avoid a barrage of punches and knees. Leaping on Hanawa’s back, Sugawara applied a tight rear-naked choke with no hooks, prompting referee Toshiharu Suzuki to save the bloodied elder Shootor with only four seconds left on the clock.

It was Sugawara’s second consecutive finish, having knocked out Ayumu “Gozo” Shioda in October.

T. Irei

Watanabe choked Nakashima.

The undercard saw another rematch from Shooting Disco 14, as 132-pounders Tatsuya Nakashima and Akinobu Watanabe redid their botched February tussle. Whereas the initial bout ended in a 52-second disqualification loss for Watanabe due to an errant low blow, the Rumina Sato pupil this time quickly brought the fight to the mat, where he forced “Nakashi” to submit to a rear-naked choke at the 2:09 mark.

Paraestra Kashiwa represenative Kenta Sakuma scored the only knockout of the night in the show’s 132-pound curtain-jerker, turning out the lights on debuting Gutsman product Daiki Gojima with a series of brutal right hooks at 2:42 of the second round.

Guam-based promotion Pacific X-treme Combat ventured off its home island for the first time Saturday to stage PXC 24 in the Filipino capital of Manila. The main event was a rematch of a January title bout from PXC 22 in which Guamanian big boy Roque Martinez retained his heavyweight belt in a five-round draw with Saipan’s Kelvin Fitial.

Fitial, who drew looks in September by handing South Korean prospect Hae Jun Yang his first defeat, slowly dragged Martinez into deep water once again, coming alive in the third stanza with hard uppercuts and elbows in the clinch. In the fourth, after avoiding a flurry of wild haymakers and sprawling on the champion, the 6-foot-3 Fitial thumped away with punches to the head and ribs until he earned the stoppage, and the title, at the 4:52 point.

PXC bantamweight mainstay and recent “Ultimate Fighter 14” auditionee “Baby” Joe Taimanglo upped his record to 15-4-1 with his fifth consecutive submission win. The Spike 22 representative hit a takedown on Korean Top Team’s Young Jun Kim, secured a body triangle from the back, and finished with a rear-naked choke after only 83 seconds.

Ryan Ford File Photo

Ford has now won four straight.

Two fighters cornered by popular Filipino American Brandon Vera were victorious on the evening, as lightweight Diego Garijo and 140-pound WEC vet Rolando Perez of California’s Alliance Training Center notched unanimous decisions over South Korea’s Tae Kyun Kim and Guam’s Tony Reyes, respectively. Another former WEC fighter, American Top Team Fort Lauderdale leader Rafael Dias, drew with KTT’s Jang Yong Kim in a tepid three-round affair.

The night before UFC 131 in Vancouver, British Columbia, neighboring Canadian province Alberta hosted Aggression MMA 7 “Confrontation” at Shaw Conference Center in Edmonton. When a gap in the cage’s flooring caused the show’s co-main event to be declared a no-contest, it was unclear whether local favorite Ryan Ford and B.C.’s Nick Hinchliffe would even get to tangle in their welterweight headliner. After some delay and repairs to the cage, the 170-pounders got down to business, whereupon Ford largely controlled the fight on the feet. The “Real Deal” recorded his fourth straight stoppage at 0:18 of
the third after dropping Hinchliffe with a right and
pouncing with more punches.

Two-time Bellator featherweight tournament entrant Georgi Karakhanyan took just 2:01 to finish Bodyshop fighter Vince Ortiz with a rear-naked choke Saturday at BAMMA USA’s “Badbeat 2,” the 26-year-old’s second win in a row since being punched out by Patricio Freire in March. The main event at Commerce Casino in Commerce, Calif., saw ex-WEC bantamweight Chad George halt a two-fight skid by subbing Bobby Sanchez with an arm-triangle choke from guard after just 2:32.

Unheralded Russian Musa Khamanaev made the most of an opportunity in the main event of Sunday’s Superior Fighting Championship 4 in Giessen, Germany. Stepping in on days’ notice for injured teammate Yuri Ivlev, the Russian Legion lightweight forced his more experienced German foe, Cengiz Dana, to capitulate to a rear-naked choke at 1:46 of the first round. While local fighters ultimately fell to their Russian Legion counterparts by a tally of 5-4, surging German heavyweight Bjorn Schmiedeberg did tack another win to his six-fight streak, tapping Muslim Makhmudov with an armbar 3:34 into the second stanza.

Longtime boxing promoter Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports produced its sixth MMA card, “Nowhere to Run,” Friday at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I. Competing for the first time in 14 months, Bostonian UFC and WEC vet Alex Karalexis struggled early and ultimately lost a razor-thin split decision to Cleveland-based invader Tiawan Howard. Featherweight prospect Saul Almeida improved to 9-1, utilizing his significant size advantage to outpoint Ohioan Cody Stevens, while Marc Stevens decisioned Abe Pitrowski.

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