SHOOTO MAY SHOW
A major Mid-year show, just a week away that will help cultivate the Shooto Middleweight (167 lbs) title scene. The title was vacated by Anderson Silva back in 2001. Since that time a number of fighters have been contending for the right to take the Shooto world Championship belt home. Currently, the wave-maker Jake Shields, who has earned the number 1 ranking, is set to take on Ray 'Bradda' Cooper for the championship. That fight is scheduled for July 9th in Honolulu, Hawaii where it will be both a title bout, and a rematch of the fight that introduced Shields to the Shooto world. A bout in which Shields lost to the local favorite and Shooto verteran.
But what does that have to do with the May 3rd card in Tokyo??? The winner of that bout will not be ablew to bask in the glory of his new belt for long, as other contenders will be hot on his heels. Long standing top 3 Shooto world ranker (currently number 2) Jutaro Nakao is going in against rising star Akira Kikuchi for the right for the next title shot... likely to take place in December. Both men are known as submission machines and this clash promises to be both exciting and technical. A rare combination that can often be found within the Shooto circuit. To note, the fighters have each fallen to the current title bout contender – Nakao to Cooper, and Kikuchi to Shields. So the next title bout also provide an interesting rematch/championship bout as we have with Cooper/Shields.
The action doesn't stop there however... The May card is a truly stacked card with a number of talent fighters and compelling match-ups. Shooto legend Rumina Sato continues to forge into the 143 lbs weight class with a bout against European up-and-comer Erikas Petraitis. The spinning leg lock master Takaharu Murahama takes on another rising star in the undefeated Kenichiro Togashi. Long time Shooto stand-out Jin Akimoto faces off against the very exciting Kentaro Imaizumi in a battle of the little guys, who each have their eye on the Shooto 132 lbs World Championship belt, which resides snuggly around Ryota Matsune. 123 lbs World Champ Mamoru steps up in a non-title affair against the exciting Hiroaki Yoshioka is a rematch of their 2002 match-up. Lastly, the co-main event along with Nakao/Kikuchi is top 143 lbs contender Stepan 'Bozo' Paling of Hawaii, taking on Hiroyuki Takaya. Takaya has the championship in his sites after drawing in a tough bout with Brazilian Joao Roque. He is rising fast and wants to tell the incumbent contenders, like Paling, you have had your chance... now it is my time. But Paling is not done with the Shooto World Title. He fought to a draw against the current and long standing champion Alexandre Nogueira last August. A strong win here will allow him to reassert himself for another title shot especially considering he is presently the number 1 ranker in the division. His teammate Ray Cooper will be in his corner, giving him a chance to scout the fighter in the main-event, who are potential opponents for December.
Promoted by Sustain
Class-B / 2 x 5 minutes rounds
MW [167 lbs] - Kotobukimaru v. Yu Shiori
BW [123 lbs] - HIRO v. Shinichi Hanawa
WW [154 lbs] - Takayuki Okouchi v. Tomonari Kanomata
WW [154 lbs] - Takeshi Yamazaki v. Antanas Jazbutis
LW [143 lbs] - Rumina Sato (Pacific-Rim No. 10) v. Erikas Petraitis
Class-A / 3 x 5 minute rounds
WW [154 lbs] - Takaharu Murahama (World No. 9, Pacific-Rim No. 7) vs. Kenichiro Togashi
FW [132 lbs] - Kentaro Imaizumi (World & Pacific-Rim No. 1) v. Jin Akimoto (World No. 5, Pacific-Rim No. 4)
BW [123 lbs] - Mamoru (World Champ) v. Hiroaki Yoshioka (World No. 5)
LW [143 lbs] - Stephen Paling (World & Pacific-Rim No. 1) v. Hiroyuki Takaya (World No. 4, Pacific-Rim No. 3)
MW [167 lbs] - Jutaro Nakao (World & Pacific-Rim No.2) v. Akira Kikuchi (World & Pacific-Rim No. 5)
SHOOTO MAY SHOW
Sato is Class B? That sucks
No... but his opponent is, thus it is a Class-B bout
Sato and Paling will also be on the card in July in Hawaii