Chihiro Sawada defended the atomweight strap for the first time at Shooto Colors 2. She submitted Mirai Nakamura late in the opening round in Tokyo on Saturday night.
The fight was a rematch but the result was the same. The pair first met in 2021 with Sawada taking home a majority decision, this time the result was a much more emphatic win for the newly crowned champion.
Sawada was one of four participants in the 2022 Shooto Atomweight Infinity League. She finished with ten points after beating Yuki Ono and was crowned the inaugural champion as a result.
The former wrestler was putting her belt on the line for the first time after recent wins in Miami and Bangkok. She started the fight with a takedown but her opponent fired upkicks from the bottom and got back up.
Sawada soon had her on her back again with a double leg and outgrappled her, utilizing some hammer fists before finding mount. From there, the 26-year-old controlled her with some knee on belly before dishing out some bigger shots.
The pounding was relentless, and as Nakamura turned to her side, Sawada seized her moment and locked in an armbar. She drew the tap, and the referee intervened with just seconds remaining in the round.
With that win Sawada improves her record to 6-0-1 and extends her winning streak to six. The former wrestler looks like a rising star in the atomweight division while Nakamura’s career is moving in the opposite direction as she falls to 8-7.
“It wasn’t a match where I was able to fully demonstrate what I couldn’t do or what I practiced. I want to aim even higher and compete on the global stage.”
Best of the rest
Haruka Hasegawa (4-3) knocked out Ju Hyung Ko (0-1) in the co-main event which was set at a catchweight of 119lbs. She was coming off a loss to Saori Oshima at Rizin 43 but scored the first-round finish against the debutant here.