Shooto announced its 2015 at year’s end, and the lead off event will feature the 6th Pacific Rim Lightweight Championship between number 1 ranked Yoshifumi Nakamura and number 3 ranked Caol Uno.
Nakamura of MACH Dojo has bounced between featherweight and lightweight for the past couple of years, and holds wins over Yusuke Kagiyama and Akitoshi Tamura. The MACH Dojo product is a diminutive brick house with a deadly double leg and a gruesome top grinding game. At just 5’3″, Nakamura’s low center of gravity gives him a natural edge in these skill sets. He’s proven tough to submit, but has a suspect chin.
Caol Uno doesn’t need much of an introduction. With a blistering 6-fight win streak over some good young and hungry opponents, Uno’s recent run in the sport has been all for a second UFC bid. Which never came.
This writer queried Dana White personally at UFC FN: Le vs Bisping about a possible new chance for Uno in the international spotlight. White replied, “He’s still fighting? How old is that guy?”, to which I responded, “How old is Cung Le?”
In any regards, Uno’s shot at Shooto’s second tier belt is a generous and deserved opportunity from Shooto. Nakamura rides a 4-fight streak going into the title match, however his dropped fights to Taiki Tuschiya, Wataru Miki and Ulka indicate more of where his level stands in relation to Uno. Uno may be 39, but he doesn’t see an end to his career any time soon.
Top-ranked Wataru Miki will face Grachan Champion Shigeki Osawa. Miki will be looking to make a resurgence on home turf after a rough 2014 in VTJ. Osawa didn’t fare well in VTJ either, but had a phenomenal 2014, going 3-1-1 and winning the Grachan belt. Records aside, these two have fought the best and bring excitement into the ring whenever they enter.
Also on the card, 2013 Rookie Champ and MVP Takaki Soya is back in action against Taku Kajikawa, and the first round of the 2015 Infiniti League Featherweight Tournament kicks off with a match between Ryo Okada and Takuya Ogura.
SHOOTO 2015 Opener
January 25, 2015
6th Pacific Rim Lightweight Championship
Yoshifumi Nakamura 中村好史
Caol Uno 宇野 薫
Wataru Miki 美木
Shigeki Osawa 大澤茂樹
Koshi Matsumoto 松本光史
Yu Fujimaki 藤巻 優
Takaki Soya 征矢 貴
Taku Kajikawa 梶川 卓
2015 Infiniti League Featherweight Tournament
Ryo Okada 岡田 遼
Takuya Ogura 小蒼卓也
Kanamonoya no Hide 金物屋の秀
Ribazaru Shun 狸瑪猿シュン
Tateo Iino 飯野タテオ
Jun Nabeshima 鍋島 潤
Tomoya Hirakawa 平川智也
Takanori Takahashi 高橋孝徳