It was a date with destiny for Japanese prospect Koha Minowa as he fully realized his dream of becoming a Shooto champion. The 20-year-old defeated compatriot Yohei Komaki for the third time  at the legendary Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

Minowa secured a second-round rear-naked choke to capture the vacant strawweight championship in the main event of Shooto 0126 on Sunday. He also completed a trilogy of stoppage wins over Komaki.

Although Minowa would ultimately take home the title, he had to deal with his opponent’s serious offense in the opening round. Determined to pull off what would have been an upset win, the underdog Komaki came out all guns blazing and landed a series of solid punches.

Feeling the effect of the power shots thrown by his opponent, Minowa had difficulty in implementing his plan of attack. Komaki finished the first round with a beautiful sequence of offense, launching himself through the air to land a knee to the chin and then following up with a right hand.

Keisuke Takazawa / MMA Planet

Winning tactic

While Komaki appeared to pick up where he left off at the start of the second period, Minowa charged in and brought the action to the mat. This tactic would ultimately win him the bout and the belt.

With so much at stake the margins for error were always going to be slim. Minowa made the most of his opportunity as he passed guard and moved into mount.

Komaki found the tiniest bit of space to try and escape but Minowa was one step ahead and used it to secure the back control position he is renowned for. From there he slid his arm under the neck and sank in a rear naked choke.

It is his trademark submission and Minowa was not about to let go He slowly squeezed the will out of his foe until the tap came at the 4:53 mark.

With his third-straight win by way of rear-naked choke Minowa raised his professional standing to 11-2. Komaki falls to 6-4.

Keisuke Takazawa / MMA Planet

Best of the rest

In the co-main event, Takashi Nakayama (8-3-1) prevailed against Mitsuhiro Toma (12-9-2) once again, defeating his rival in the rematch to capture the Shooto featherweight title.

But unlike in their first encounter, where Nakayama pulled off a submission win with 20 seconds remaining in the contest, the three judges at cageside had to decide the outcome this time around.

Meanwhile a victory inside the Shooto cage continues to elude Team Lakay representatives Jared Almazan (1-4) and Jerome Wanawan (4-5) as they bowed to their respective Japanese opposition.

Almazan suffered a 19-second stoppage defeat at the hands of undefeated standout Tatsuro Taira (6-0), while Wanawan dropped a unanimous decision loss to Junji Ito (17-8-2).

Shooto 0126, Tokyo, January 26th
Koha Minowa def. Yohei Komaki via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:53 of round two (Wins strawweight title)
Takashi Nakayama def. Mitsuhiro Toma via Decision (Split) (Wins featherweight title)
Takumi Tamaru def. Nobuki Fujii via Decision (Unanimous)
Motonobu Tezuka def. Mamoru Uoi via TKO (Punches) at 0:19 of round two
Tatsuro Taira def. Jared Almazan via TKO (Punches) at 0:19 of round one
Junji Ito def. Jerome Wanawan via Decision (Unanimous)
Saori Oshima def. Yuki Ono via TKO (Punches) at 3:15 of round two