Nobuki Fujii edged a split decision to beat Hayoto Ishii at Shooto 1127 in Tokyo on Sunday. The 33-year-old has now claimed back-to-back victories while his opponent saw his two-fight winning streak snapped.
Ishii set his stall out early to stick the jab and look to land the left body kick. Fujii, who was challenging for the Shooto Pacific Rim bantamweight belt for the second time, hit back with a hard left hook to the body.
Ishii landed a calf kick but saw the strike caught as Fujii went for a takedown. When the pair got back to their feet they began trading low kicks and jabs as the pace picked up.
As the round came to a close it was Fujii who was in the driver’s seat as he wobbled his opponent with a right cross. Ishii threw him to the canvas at the start of the second round but the 27 year old popped back up only to have his back taken.
Fujii went for a kimura and used the submission attempt to drag the fight to the ground but it was Fujii who gained the upper hand by securing top position before unloading with some ground and pound.
When they returned to their feet Fujii cracked his opponent with a body shot before shooting a double leg. He then wrapped Ishii up as he sought out the rear naked choke. Despite failing to finish, he ended the stanza strongly with a barrage of punches against the fence.
Ishii rallied at the start of the third, and uncorked some straight punches before catching Fujii with an elbow on the break. But just as he was landing with more one-two combinations, Fujii was able to reverse momentum.
He secured a single leg takedown and landed on top. They didn’t stay in the ground for long and the fight finished with the two men trading strikes and Ishii landed with a high kick late on.
It left the judges with a difficult decision but it was Fujii who prevailed, claiming the Shooto Pacific Rim bantamweight belt and moving up to 20-12-3. Ishii drops to 17-5-3 after coming up short in the first defence of the title he won at Shooto 0522.
Best of the rest
Kiyotaka Shimizu had his retirement fight but the 38 year old didn’t get to walk away from the sport on a high. He was stopped by undefeated prospect Wataru Yamauchi after just 40 seconds.
Shimizu retires with a record of 25-16-3 and is best known for being a former flyweight King of Pancrase. Yamauchi moves up to 5-0 and the 23 year old must be in contention for the first title shot of his career.