Yamagami Crowned Quick, Icon Sato Falls Again at ‘Shoot the Shooto’

Mikihito Yamagami took Shooto 115-pound gold from Junji Ikoma in just 41 seconds. | Photo: Taro Irei

TOKYO -- It took all of 41 seconds for Mikihito Yamagami to blitz Junji Ikoma and wrest from him the Shooto 115-pound world championship in the main event of “Shoot the Shooto 2011” at Tokyo Dome City Hall.

Ikoma originally won the title -- previously vacated by Rambaa Somdet due to injury -- in a rollicking war with Junji Ito at last April. Yamagami crushed him in a fraction of the time to take it for himself.

T. Irei

Shooto's new 115-pound ace.

“My speed and punching power was improved for this fight. Because of that, I was confident in the power of my left hand. I wanted to jab and just wait for the moment to unleash my straight,” said Yamagami after the fight.

An eager Ikoma engaged with punches and low kicks to start the bout, but Yamagami countered with rangy southpaw jabs and right hands, surprising the champion. Yamagami landed a left hook to flatten him on his back, whereupon he lunged to finish with brutal ground-and-pound. Referee Toshiharu Suzuki dove then at the 41-second mark to rescue the supine Ikoma from an overzealous Yamagami, who got more than a few extra punches in.

In the latest chapter of the Pancrase-versus-Shooto story, former Shooto 123-world champion Shinichi “B.J.” Kojima took a lackluster decision over current 125-pound King of Pancrase Kiyotaka Shimizu.

Both grapplers opted to lock horns on the feet for much of the fight, but outside of a Kojima teep to the face followed by a crisp two punches in the first frame, neither man scored any significant damage.

T. Irei

Kojima wasn't pleased with
his performance.

The third frame was a tad more exciting when after Kojima was broken from the rear waistlock on Shimizu, the Pancrasist stepped up his offensive output in an attempt to finish. Judges Tomohiro Tanaka, Suzuki, and Tadashi Yokoyama ruled the bout 30-29, 30-28, 30-27 for Kojima.

“My fight wasn't so good, kinda like my last fight. I figured out what I lack now: it's a lack of heart combined with a lack of forward movement. That's only developed by training hard,” said a disappointed but idealistic Kojima after the bout. “I want to return to the condition I was in when I used to finish fights by submission.”

In a battle of wrestling wills, Hawaiian transplant Guy Delameau turned in another gritty performance to take a close majority decision over 2008 Rookie Tournament MVP Issei Tamura, punching his ticket the finals of Shooto's 143-pound Pacific Rim title tournament.

The American evened up or stole rounds with his constant pressure, smashing Tamura into ring corners where he harassed him with short punches and constant takedown attempts.

Delumeau secured his lead in the third when after a picturesque lateral drop, he captured the Krazy Bee fighter's back to finish out the round with choke attempts and punches to the side of the head.

T. Irei

Tamura couldn't escape Delumeau's

Judges Tanaka and Suzuki ruled the bout 30-29 and 30-28 for Delumeau respectively, while Hiroyuki Kanno alone saw it a 29-29 draw.

The other half of the 143-pound Pacific Rim championship bracket did not have as definitive an outcome as Tenkei Oda and Wataru Miki fought to a contentious split draw.

Over the course of 15 minutes, Oda and Miki traded punches and middle kicks. Signifying how evenly matched the fight was, judge scores went in every possible direction with judge Kanno seeing the fight 30-29 for Oda. Referee and in-ring judge Suzuki instead saw the bout 29-28 for Miki, while the last judge, Tanaka, saw it a 29-29 draw.

Miki he was later awarded a berth across Delumeau for the finals by way of a blind drawing after the event. Both men will meet at Sustain's next major Shooto card slated for Jan. 8 at Korakuen Hall.

Oda, by merit of drawing with Miki, won't walk away empty-handed however, as Shooto officials deemed that the loser of the random draw would get first crack at the new 143-pound Pac Rim champion in 2012.

In only his second MMA fight, WPKL Europe Featherweight champion Nico Verresen blasted Shooto legend and fan favorite Rumina Sato into unconsciousness in a brief, but riveting 130-pound bout.

T. Irei

Sato went for a painful ride.

True to his Shooto-style go-for-broke grappling roots, Sato dove for submissions, locking the Belgian up in a reverse triangle while hunting for the toe hold at the same time. Verresen both managed to hang on and punch his way back to standing, whereupon he put snapping hands, a Brazilian kick, and a knee on Sato's chin, wobbling him.

Verresen further lumped Sato up, again punching his way back to the feet where he delivered the coup de grace, flattening Sato with a finishing right hand. The official time was 4:17 of the first round.

Former Shooto 143-pound champion Akitoshi Tamura took a decision (30-28, 29-28, 29-27) over Sengoku veteran Shigeki Osawa in a close contest.

In typical Tamura fashion, the WEC veteran was content to fight off of his back, punching infrequently from bottom and throwing up the rubber guard to render Osawa inert for the first two periods. Tamura sealed the decision victory by stealing Osawa's back to threaten with punches and the choke in the third frame.

Former Shooto world title challenger Ryuichi Miki went down to hard-swinging Kentaro Watanabe, 20-18 on all cards. Watanabe's toughness saw him absorb the punches to land repeated left hooks across Miki's jaw to drop him four times throughout the fight.

Lightweight Daisuke Hoshino made quick work of Akira Okada, clipping him and snaking an arm under and around the neck for a tight rear-naked choke. As soon as a glassy-eyed Okada collapse, referee Suzuki jumped in to pull Hoshino off at 0:36 of the first round.

Starting the evening, Koshi Matsumoto took a page from his mentor, Shooto world champion Kuniyoshi Hironaka, by putting Takahiro Kajita on his back to threaten with straight armbars, a heel hook, and the guillotine for unanimous 20-18 cards.

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