The Shooto 30th Anniversary Tour hit Tokyo today with a card headlined by a flyweight title fight between champion Hiromasa Ogikubo and challenger Kiyotaka Shimizu. The contest started slowly but came to life at the end of the third round.
After nearly 15 minutes of almost constant inaction Ogikubo landed a right kick at the very end of the third. It was more of a glancing blow than a solid shot but immediately a nasty cut opened at the corner of Shimizu’s right eye.
The blood didn’t seem to be flowing into the eye but the injury gave Shimizu, who had done next to nothing in the previous three rounds, a sense of urgency. At the start of the fourth he shot for a takedown only to be clipped by a right hand behind the ear.
His momentum took him forwards and there might even have been a clash of heads but instead of grasping for Ogikubo’s legs the challenger found himself collapsing face first onto the canvass. He was in no state to intelligently defend himself and the champion took advantage to finish the fight with a flurry of punches.
It was a dramatic end to a contest that had produced very little by way of drama up until the final stages. Ogikubo improves to 18-4-2 and looks set for a second run with Rizin while Shimizu drops to 22-15-3.
It was a disappointing evening for UFC veteran Caol Uno (33-20-5). The 43 year old dropped a unanimous decision to Holland’s Duane van Helvoirt (18-8).
However Koshi Matsumoto (20-8-2) will look back on the date with fond memories. He stopped Naoyuki Kotani (36-17-7) with a flurry of punches in the fourth round to defend his Shooto lightweight title.