Sunday, 16 September 2007

Eurosport Fight Club: Shooto - TV Review

For this review I’m taking a journey into parts unknown. A couple of months ago as part of their Fight Club programme, Eurosport gave me the opportunity to see the Shooto MMA promotion for the first time. I know next to nothing about this promotion, so it was a totally new experience for me as I joined our host for the show at the legendary Korauken Hall in Tokyo, sensei Will Vanders.

Our first fight is in the middleweight division, as Keita Nakamura takes on Keisuke Sakai. A quick contest to start the show, with Nakamura controlling things from the start, hurting Sakai with a blow before synching in a rear naked choke for the tap-out victory.

We move on to the lightweight division next as Keisuke Yamada faces Takeshi Inoue. The first round saw Yamada frustrate Inoue from the open guard position, although the round seemed pretty even throughout. Inoue did much better in the second round, taking Yamada down with a side sweep, and not even a stray low blow from Yamada could stop him, with Inoue winning the match after a judge’s decision.

On to the welterweight division, as Kenichi Hattori faces Yusuke Endo. With Hattori holding him in the half guard, Endo spent much of the first round trying the ground and pound game, before rising to his feet. It was pretty much the same in the second, with Endo in control throughout, and taking the fight to the stand-up towards the end, only for Endo to slam Hattori to the mat. Endo’s dominance was rewarded with the judge’s decision.

Then, staying in the welterweight division, Takumi Nakayama faced Ryan Bow. The first round began as a bit of a stalemate, with neither man able to get the advantage, until Bow took his man down. But while the American tried to ground and pound, Nakayama did well to defend himself. The second began with Nakayama knocking Bow down, forcing the American to take a standing count, before he was able to shoot and take Nakayama down in the half guard, with Bow again trying the ground and pound. The third round went to type, pretty much how it was in the two previous rounds. In the end the judges awarded the decision to Bow, much to the surprise of Nakamura and our announcer.

We stay in the welterweight division again for Gesias Calvancanti against Joachim Hansen. It was a rip roaring start to the first round as both guys went for the shoot before Calvancanti got into the half guard, but even though he looked in a prone position Hansen was able to get in quite a few good shots. It was the same in the second round. Even though the American was on top in the guard position, Hansen was in full control of the action. The third was clearly the most action packed of the three, with some great grappling and submission attempts from both men, with Hansen again looking the better fighter of the two, and rightfully winning the judge’s decision.

Down to the bantamweight division next, as Yasuhiro Urushitani goes up against Junju Ikoma. The first round saw both fighters remaining on their feet throughout, and not much else happening, apart from a few kicks. The script was the same in the second, with Ikoma in particular failing to impress. Urushitani turned things up a notch with a flurry of punches at the beginning of the third, but again, Ikoma looked painful and plodding. Urushitani won the judge’s decision to end this rather dull and lifeless contest.

In conclusion - an enjoyable show, well, save for the last fight. Although there are slight rule differences, Shooto certainly compares favourably with Pride and UFC, and it’s a shame we haven’t seen more from this promotion in Eurosport’s Fight Club series since this show was broadcast in May. So come on Will Vanders! Get your finger out and get us some more Shooto! There’s more to life than K-1 you know!

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