Shoji Saito scored a unanimous decision win over Takuma Sudo at Shooto 0521 on Sunday. The 28 year old continued his fine recent form and now has six wins and a draw from his last five fights.

The opening round saw Saito making his mark with a sharp left jab, swiftly followed by a series of low kicks. Sudotook evasive action and responded with a front left kick.

Saito countered with a powerful right cross, followed by a well-executed right body straight off a feint. Sudo responded by forcing him back against the cage before launching into a double leg.

Sudo soon went for the neck with his right arm but Saito was able to fight off the choke attempt. He switched to an armbar but the 28 year old was able to escape and get to his feet.

Shoji Saito on top of Takuma Sudo at Shooto 0521

Keisuke Takazawa

Leg locks

Moving into the second round, Saito began by firing off stiff  jabs. When Sudo initiated a single leg he exposed his back momentarily, attempting to pull his leg free.

Sudo eventually succeeded in dragging him down but ended up on the bottom. He immediately went to work and grabbed hold of his opponent’s leg, looking for a kneebar or a heel lock.

Saito was clearly in danger of getting submitted but he went on the attack, unleashing a barrage of elbow strikes. Sudo endured the punishment and continued to crank on the leg but couldn’t secure the heel hook.

Entering the final round Sudo attempted to pull guard and ended up sitting down. Saito tried to pick him off with low kicks and was careful to make sure they weren’t caught.

Takuma Sudo heel hooks Shoji Saito at Shooto 0521

Keisuke Takazawa

Final takedown

Back on his feet Sudo pressed forward and used a single leg takedown attempt to push Saito into the cage. However his opponent was able to land a hard right hand as he fought off the continual takedown attempts.

The referee was getting bored of seeing Sudo simply sit down in the hope of luring Saito to the ground and gave him a warning. The fight finished with him trying and failing to secure one final takedown.

The judges weren’t impressed with Sudo’s strategy either. All three awarded the bout to Saito who improves to 6-2-1 while his opponent drops to 7-2.

Shoji Saito celebrates victory at at Shooto 0521

Keisuke Takazawa

Best of the rest

In the co-main event Hiroshige Tanaka continued his late career renaissance. The 41 year old made it back to back wins with a decision victory over Loibe Neto.

Tanaka is a ONE Championship veteran who also had a stint with Pancrase and has been fighting for the best part of two decades. The win takes him to 15-8 while his Brazilian opponent slips to 6-4.

Shooto 0521, Tokyo, May 21st
Shoji Saito def Takuma Sudo via Decision (Unanimous)
Hiroshige Tanaka def Loibe Neto via Decision (Unanimous)
Tsubasa Saito def Tatsuma Okada via Submission (Rear naked choke) at 1:43 of R2
Yoshihiro Koyama def Toshihiko Yokoyama via Decision (Majority)
Yamato Hamamatsu vs Taira Uehara ends in a Draw (Unanimous)
Kaisei Takehara def Tesshin Isobe via Decision (Unanimous)
Yoshizumi Kobayashi vs Yusuke Matsushita ends in a Draw (Unanimous)
Sota Nagai def Takumi Arai via TKO (Punch) at 1:13 of R1
Yo Otake def Yuhei Koga via TKO (Punch) at 0:50 of R2
Takeshi Kunito def Taichi Aoi via Submission (Arm triangle choke) at 2:14 of R2