MMA on DVD: Shooto: Best of 2003 Volume 2

Shooto: Best Of 2003: Volume 2

-No need for any major intro this time I think as I summed up most of the stuff needed in the last Shooto review.

Shooto: 07/13 In Korakuen Hall

Tokyo, Japan

Lightweight Fight: Hatsu Hioki vs Hiroyuki Takaya

Hioki is currently one of the higher ranked 145lbs fighters in the world, after wins over the likes of Mark Hominick and Jeff Curran, while the last I’ve seen of Takaya was him suffering a nasty knockout in K1 Hero’s courtesy of ‘JZ’ Calvancanti.

Round 1 gets us underway and they exchange some punches, and quickly Hioki gets dropped by a left hand. Ref calls the standing 8 count and then they restart, and Hioki comes back with a right high kick and a flurry! They trade punches wildly, before Hioki shoots, but can’t get Takaya down, and Takaya breaks off and decks him with a right hand this time. 8 count is given again, and from the restart Hioki catches a kick and gets a takedown to guard. He passes into half-guard and looks to pass to side mount, before going for a heel hook instead, but Takaya manages to pull out and stands. They press forward into a clinch, but Takaya breaks and stuns him with punches again, and to me it looks like Hioki goes down, but evidently the ref didn’t think so as the match continues. Hioki shoots but Takaya stuffs the takedown, and tags him with another combo. Hioki manages to trip him down to guard as the round ends.

Round Two gets underway and Takaya nails him again, decking him with a right hook. Ref gives the 8 count and the fight restarts, and Takaya blocks a takedown and ends up on top, landing some punches. They come back up and Takaya continues to land strikes, but Hioki manages to catch a kick and get the takedown. He goes for a leglock again though, and Takaya escapes to his feet, dropping some punches to end the round.

Must’ve been a B-Class fight as that’s the final round, and the judges score it for Takaya. Takaya looked good there, putting Hioki down on numerous occasions and it made for an exciting fight, and boy has Hioki seemingly improved a lot since then.

Lightweight Fight: Naoya Uematsu vs Jin Kazeta

These pair had a couple of good showings on Volume 1 of this set, so hopefully this will be pretty good.

They exchange kicks to open, before Uematsu gets a takedown and rolls into a heel hook attempt. Both men go for the leglock, but then come back to their feet, where Uematsu almost gets what would’ve been a beautiful armdrag takeover. They exchange in the clinch, and Uematsu gets a takedown to half-guard, before passing to side mount. Kazeta turtles up, and from there Uematsu slips on an armbar from the top position ala Ed Herman on Chris Price, and flips him over for the tapout.

Very slick armbar from Uematsu – the armbar from the back position is always a thing of beauty to watch.

Middleweight Fight: Jutaro Nakao vs Sauli Heilimo

Haven’t seen Nakao fight in a long time actually, not since his UFC run if I recall correctly. He always looked pretty talented there to me though. Heilimo is a Finnish guy training with what was I believe Joachim Hansen’s camp, Team Scandinavian.

Heilimo opens with some punches, before jumping to guard. Nakao stands and we get the classic “koala” position with Heilimo clinging on, before Nakao goes down into the guard. Heilimo flips over and goes for his own takedown, but Nakao defends it well, so Heilimo pulls guard again. Nakao lands some punches, but Heilimo reverses over into top position. Nakao reverses that though, and gets full mount, where he lands some punches and gets an armbar on the bell.

Round 2 and Heilimo shoots for a takedown, but Nakao sprawls back, and in a really nice transition, hooks his leg around Heilimo before applying a SICK reverse triangle choke, which gets the tapout pretty quickly.

Nakao looked very good in that one and the finish was pretty slick to say the least. Not often you see a reverse triangle in MMA.

Shooto: 08/10 In Yokohama Gymnasium

Yokohama, Japan

Bantamweight Fight: Junji Ikoma vs Hiroaki Yoshioka

Don’t think I’ve come across either of these guys before, as the Bantamweight division’s probably the one I know the absolute least about.

They begin very tentatively, before Yoshioka lands a couple of low kicks and clinches, getting a takedown to guard and almost giving his back in the process. Ikuma gets an armbar, but Yoshioka avoids, only to be kicked away and then they come back to standing. They clinch up and Ikuma gets the takedown and almost mounts, but Yoshioka goes for a leglock and Ikuma is forced to work to avoid that. They stand again, and this time Ikuma tags him with punches before Yoshioka gets the takedown to end the round.

Into the 2nd, and Yoshioka tries a spin kick, but ends up taking a knee to the gut into the clinch. They break and Ikuma lands a good right hand, so Yoshioka clinches again. He tries a trip, but Ikuma blocks and spins into a rear waistlock, and from there he hops up right into a rear naked choke, and pulls him down before choking him unconscious.

Another really nice submission finish there; normally the fighters pull the opponent down before choking them, but here it was the other way around as he jumped up right into the submission while Yoshioka wasn’t expecting it.

Lightweight Fight: Alexandre Franca Nogueira vs Stephen Palling

These two had fought before, with perennial Shooto champ Nogueira winning by submission, so not sure of the reason behind the rematch here. Still it’s Nogueira and I always like his stuff.

They circle to open the first round and Palling lands a few jabs and some leg kicks, as well as a nice body punch. Nogueira pretty much does nothing, and the round peters out with very little action at all.

2nd round begins with more of the same, and we get a WHOLE ROUND of circling with the odd jab being thrown, one of the worst rounds I can recall seeing in MMA. Like another Koscheck-Sanchez even.

Nogueira ducks a punch to open the third and gets a takedown, finally some action. Palling scrambles to his feet and Nogueira goes for his trademark guillotine, but Palling works free into the clinch. Nogueira gets the takedown again and passes to side mount, where he tries a kimura, but Palling turns out so Nogueira goes for the armbar instead. Palling escapes, but gets reversed and Nogueira gets on top again, working with punches in half-guard. He passes to side mount, but Palling scrambles up, only for Nogueira to get another takedown, working from the top to end the round.

Judges have it a draw, with one going for Palling, one for Nogueira, and the other calling the draw. Don’t know how I would’ve scored it actually – a draw is probably fair as although Nogueira clearly won the third, he did NOTHING in the first and second and you’ve got to reward Palling for at least landing something in those rounds I guess. Horrible fight for two rounds although the third was perfectly acceptable.

Welterweight Fight: Joachim Hansen vs Takanori Gomi

Now THIS ought to be good. When deciding whether to pick up Shooto’s 2003 or 2004 sets, this was one of the pivotal fights that made me choose the former, as both men went on to big things in Pride about a year or so after their fight here. This was a title fight too, with champion Gomi defending against Hansen, who I guess earned his shot by destroying Rumina Sato earlier in the year.

Round 1 begins, and they exchange early, with neither man really getting the better of it, before Hansen pulls guard. He ties Gomi up, so Gomi stands and Hansen scoots forward and tries some crab kicks from his back. Ref brings him up and they exchange into a clinch, where Hansen tries a throw, but ends up in guard. He keeps a tight guard again, so Gomi stands back up, only to be knocked off balance by a crab kick. Hansen comes up, but Gomi catches him with a good right hand, and they exchange punches into the clinch, where Hansen again pulls guard. They exchange in the guard to end the round.

2nd round, and Hansen shoots in looking for a takedown, but ends up on his back in guard again. Gomi stands and kicks at the legs as Hansen lands some kicks from his back, and then the official stands Hansen up. They go into the clinch, and Gomi trips him, but Hansen shifts his weight on the way down and hops onto Gomi’s back! He gets both hooks in and lands punches as Gomi stands, bent over, with Hansen on his back. Hansen continues to land punches, before pulling Gomi down, rolling him over, and locking up a rear naked choke! Gomi looks in DEEP trouble and grimaces badly, but somehow he manages to work his neck free, but still has Hansen on his back. Hansen goes for an armbar though, and misses it, and Gomi escapes out into Hansen’s guard. Hansen kicks him away, but Gomi goes back into the guard, and then stands again to end the round.

Third and final round, and they trade strikes, a really even exchange, before Hansen shoots and pulls guard. They exchange in the guard before Gomi stands and Hansen follows. Hansen misses a left high kick and shoots, but Gomi blocks and then lands a couple of nice knees to the head. Gomi tries to turn and take the back, but Hansen rolls, and almost takes Gomi’s back, only for Gomi to roll free to Hansen’s guard. Gomi stands and takes a couple of upkicks to end.

To the judges, and one has it a draw….but the other two score it for Hansen, making him the NEW Shooto Welterweight Champion, and also ending Gomi’s career in Shooto as he never returned to the promotion after this loss. Great fight that was really difficult to score – the striking was basically even and so was the grappling, but the difference was obviously the second round, as Hansen came ridiculously close to ending things with the rear naked choke and controlled Gomi from the back for the majority of that period. Still, excellent, close fight that I’d love to see a rematch of today.

Shooto: 09/05 In Korakuen Hall

Tokyo, Japan

Bantamweight Fight: Tiger Ishii vs Takahisa Toyoshima

I’m not 100% sure but I believe Ishii is one of the top ranked 123lbs fighters in the world today. Not heard of his opponent, Toyoshima, however.

They circle and exchange tentatively for a LONG time ala Palling/Nogueira, not much action at all, until Ishii decks him with a BIG RIGHT HAND. Standing 8 count ends the round as Toyoshima is okay to continue.

Toyoshima opens the 2nd by looking for a takedown, but Ishii blocks and gets his own takedown to guard. He stands though, and they press with Ishii landing some strikes. Toyoshima goes for a takedown and gets it, but drops right into a triangle choke, and Ishii tightens it up for the tapout.

Dull first round but the finish to the fight was pretty fun.

Featherweight Fight: Yohei Mikami vs Kenji Osawa

No clue about either of these guys, sorry.

They exchange to the clinch but break quickly, and Mikami looks like he wants to strike. He lands some good punches, and then drops him momentarily with a body kick, but Osawa pops right up and no 8 count is given. They clinch, but come back out and Mikami continues to land, before getting a takedown to guard. Again they come back to their feet, and we get an open trade into the clinch, where Mikami gets another takedown. Osawa uses a butterfly guard push-off to stand, but gets taken back down and Mikami then works to take the back. Osawa turns into his guard, and lands some punches to end the round.

2nd round and Mikami shoots in, but Osawa blocks and lands some nice punches. They exchange to the clinch with both men landing clean, and break off with some good punches, Mikami’s nose ending up bloodied. Osawa tries a takedown, but Mikami gets a reversal and comes back to his feet. They circle and Mikami gets a rear waistlock, so Osawa drops for the Parisyan-style rolling kimura. Mikami turns to avoid it and gives his back, but then reverses into Osawa’s guard swiftly. Osawa reverses that and gets a side mount, but Mikami reverses THAT and they come up with Mikami getting a single leg trip to guard, where he lands some punches to end the fight.

To the judges, and it’s Mikami’s decision. Pretty close fight that was fun to watch, but it wasn’t outstanding or anything.

Lightweight Fight: Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto vs Caleb Mitchell

Kid looks UBER-cocky here, just strutting around the ring pre-fight like he owns the place. Mitchell physically looks like a clone of Nick Ertl to me, a thin pasty dude.

They begin and Kid dives right in with punches, and throws Mitchell to the ground like a rag doll. Caleb comes back up, and throws a lunging low kick, but Kid calmly counters with a HUGE RIGHT HAND that lands cleanly, knocking Mitchell SILLY.

Jesus, was that a perfectly timed punch or what? Replays show that he clocked Mitchell right on the jaw and just knocked him into next week. Post-fight Kid dances around the ring like a Japanese Naseem Hamed, the more I see of this guy the more I like him. Sick knockout.

Shooto: GIG Central 4

Nagoya, Japan

Featherweight Fight: Hiroyasu Kodera vs Keisuke Kurata

Not heard of either of these two but they do give us a cool staredown. Apparently Kodera is simply known as HIRO, and that’s one thing I’ll never get about Japanese culture, how they use RANDOM CAPITALS now and then.

Kodera walks right out and lands a HUGE OVERHAND RIGHT that puts Kurata down, and man, the referee doesn’t even bother finishing his eight count as it’s clear Kurata is DONE. Doctors FLOOD the ring immediately as he looks seriously hurt, and good lord was that a hard shot. I thought Kid’s punch in the last fight was nasty, but this puts that into the shade. Frightening.

Welterweight Fight: Koutetsu Boku vs Naoki Matsushita

Boku was someone who I expected to be impressed by when I saw his stuff on the first volume of this set, but turned out to be a bit disappointing, so hopefully he’ll look a little better here. Not heard of Matsushita, but the same rule applies to his name as does Urushitani from the first disc…

Matsushita shoots in to begin, and Boku blocks, but gets slammed down to guard anyway. He scrambles right back up though and then avoids another takedown attempt, and begins to land punches. Boku starts landing at will and taunts Matsushita, putting his hands down, dancing around and generally doing a Naseem Hamed impression. He avoids the takedown and gets the back for a moment, before coming back up, and it’s more of the same as Boku dances around the ring, OWNING Matsushita with combos, jabs and counters.

2nd round begins in much the same way, as Boku avoids Matsushita’s big swings and then decks him with a right hand. Ref gives him the 8 count and then they restart, and Boku continues to punish him and puts him down again. Matsushita gets up to continue, but Boku follows in with a right high kick, and ends things with a crisp combo, putting him down for the final time.

Boku looked GREAT there, much better than the last two fights of his I saw, as he displayed some excellent striking skills to pick apart his opponent. Don’t think the hands-down cocky stance would work against other people, but it made for an ill fight here.

Welterweight Fight: Daisuke ‘Amazon’ Sugie vs Tom Kirk

Kirk is out of Chris Lytle’s Integrated Fighting camp, interesting to see one of those guys pop up in Shooto even if I haven’t heard of him before. Sugie is almost always fun though so this should be okay.

Sugie shoots to begin and works for a takedown, and despite blocking Kirk eventually ends up on his back in half-guard. Sugie works to pass, but Kirk manages to scramble to his feet in a clinch. Sugie trips him back down to half-guard though, and then passes to side mount to look for a kimura. Kirk rolls, so Sugie transitions to an armbar, and Kirk ends up actually rolling his way into the hold and taps out there.

Kirk didn’t exactly look great there but Sugie was pretty impressive on the ground, transitioning to the armbar nicely as Kirk rolled away from the kimura.

Featherweight Fight: Kentaro Imaizumi vs Jeremy Bolt

Imaizumi was in a couple of really good fights on the first volume, especially his war with Ryota Matsune, so it’s nice to see him again. Bolt is another Integrated Fighting guy who I’ve not heard of before, though it’s less surprising I guess with him being in the 135lbs division.

They exchange strikes early, but neither looks to be hurt and Bolt catches a kick and lands a right that puts Imaizumi down in guard. He gets into side mount, but Imaizumi reverses to his feet, and they exchange before Imaizumi blocks a takedown attempt and gets on top in half-guard, landing punches to end the round.

Into the 2nd, and they circle and exchange, but Bolt goes down after a combo citing an eye poke. Ref calls time before they restart and Imaizumi gets the better of the exchange, but lands a low blow and the ref calls time again. They restart and this time Bolt looks for a single leg, but Imaizumi locks up a guillotine and that’s enough to get the tapout.

Solid, if not outstanding fight.

Lightweight Fight: Joao Roque vs Hiroyuki Abe

This ought to be fun as Abe is one of those guys who nearly always puts on an exciting show regardless of his opponent. Roque’s been in some slow fights from what I’ve seen though so hopefully the trend for Abe won’t change here.

Abe comes out with some strikes, but Roque quickly secures a takedown to half-guard. He looks to set up an arm triangle, but then the referee stands them up. Huh? Not seen a stand-up yet in Shooto and that was bizarre, Roque was halfway to getting a submission. Roque gets the takedown again off the restart though, and uses the arm triangle setup to get full mount. Abe avoids an armbar attempt, but gives his back, and then Roque looks for a rear naked choke, before switching to an armbar from the back position. Abe manages to escape that into Roque’s guard, and then avoids a triangle choke too! Abe lands some punches and stands to end the round.

Roque misses a big knee to open the 2nd, and then shoots and gets a bodylock takedown directly to full mount. He looks for the arm triangle again, and then changes it up, landing some punches before slapping on an armbar for the tapout.

Good showing from Roque in an enjoyable fight, as Abe was game and escaped a lot of problems before succumbing to the armbar.

Shooto: Who Is Young Leader!

Tokyo, Japan

Welterweight Fight: Nobuhiro Obiya vs Tomonari Kanomata

Obiya made an appearance in Pride last year actually, losing to Gilbert Melendez, while I believe Kanomata trains with the Purebred/Killer Bee camp.

Round 1 begins, and Obiya clips him with a big right quickly, causing Kanomata’s legs to give out. He falls forward onto Obiya though, who pulls him to the mat, and then as the ref hasn’t spotted he’s already out, Obiya lands a series of hammer fists for the TKO.

Ha, bit of a weird ending as replays make it look like the very first right actually put Kanomata away, and it was just the way he fell that made it look like he was shooting for a takedown.

Shooto: Wanna Shooto 2003

Tokyo, Japan

Lightweight Fight: Akitoshi Tamura vs Yohei Nanbu

Tamura is interestingly ranked as the #1 145lbs fighter in the world right now (discounting Kid Yamamoto) after defeating ‘Lion’ Takeshi recently on a 2007 Shooto show. Nanbu didn’t exactly look impressive last time I saw him eating a knee en route to being KOd, so I’m thinking Tamura’s going to look good here.

They openly exchange to begin, before clinching, but Tamura breaks with a knee. Nanbu comes wading forward with some sloppy strikes, and we get a pretty shoddy exchange before Tamura blocks a takedown and gets on top with full mount. He lands a flurry and then gets Nanbu’s back, before going into side mount. Nanbu reverses though, and looks for his own takedown, but Tamura blocks and gets side mount again. He looks for an armbar, but can’t get it fully extended and Nanbu escapes into Tamura’s guard to end the round.

They clinch to open the 2nd, and Tamura lands some knees. Tamura continues to get the better of the exchanges as they go in and out of the clinch, before he gets a trip to side mount. Nanbu pops right back up though, and tries to pull him down, but ends up on the bottom in guard. Tamura looks to pass, and lands punches as Nanbu flails from the bottom, and the fight ends not long after.

Tamura picks up the unanimous decision, no surprise as it was very one-sided for the most part. The grappling here was solid, but the less said about the striking exchanges the better I think.

Featherweight Fight: Shuichiro Katsumura vs Eugenij Konkov

Konkov is another of the seemingly never-ending list of Lithuanian MMA fighters making their way in Japan. Seriously, there’s so many of them and so little to distinguish between them.

Katsumura gets a quick takedown to guard, and then into side mount, but they come back to their feet only for Katsumura to get an ankle pick down to half-guard again. This time he gets full mount, and Konkov gives his back, where he takes punches before Katsumura locks up a rear naked choke for the tapout.

Quick and easy win for Katsumura. Next!

Heavyweight Fight: Jon Olav Einemo vs Mindaugas Kulikauskas

Kulikauskas, as you might’ve guessed, is another Lithuanian guy. Einemo meanwhile is one of Joachim Hansen’s training partners, a genuinely skilled and huge grappler from Norway who’s done well in Abu Dhabi and fought a couple of times in Pride last year, losing to Fabricio Werdum and beating James Thompson with an armbar.

Einemo begins with two good low kicks, before getting a BIG SLAM down into side mount. He immediately steps over to full mount, lands some punches, and then bam, he slaps on an armbar for the tapout in under a minute.

Wow, Einemo looked awesome there, just blew through his opponent in a total squash. Wouldn’t mind seeing him in UFC at some point actually as he’s a hugely skilled grappler with a solid enough record.

Lightweight Fight: Naoya Uematsu vs Katsuya Toida

Not even going to bother with an intro here as I can’t think of a thing to say about these two.

Toida comes out and misses a flying kick, and Uematsu gets a takedown. Toida an ankle lock, and then they come back up before Uematsu gets the takedown again. Toida goes for an ankle lock again and uses it to reverse to his feet, where he lands a pair of good low kicks. Toida shoots in, but Uematsu gets a guillotine, but only gets it in half-guard and Toida quickly escapes and passes to the side. He tries to take the back, but ends up in the koala position instead before Uematsu throws him down. Uematsu drops a punch, and then they come up into the clinch where Uematsu pulls guard. He tries a triangle, but Toida avoids and stands to drop some punches, but leaves his leg wide open, and Uematsu grabs it and twists into an Achilles hold for the tapout.

Good fast-paced fight, with a bit of irony considering Toida was the guy going for the ankle submissions before the ending.

Shooto: 11/25 In Kitazawa Town Hall

Tokyo, Japan

Welterweight Fight: Yoichi Fukumoto vs Koumei Okada

Man, and I thought Urushitani was an unfortunate name? Though Fukumoto sounds sort of cool I think.

They circle off before going into a brief clinch, and then break and Fuku lands a good knee strike. They keep going in and out of the clinch, until finally breaking off for good, and Fukumoto lands a nice body kick. Okada gets a good right to the clinch though to end the round.

They clinch to open the 2nd and Okada gets a takedown to guard, but not much happens until Fukumoto gives his back and uses the position to escape to his feet. He misses a right high kick, but then comes forward and lands another, knocking Okada stupid for a serious highlight-reel KO.

Shitty first round but the 2nd was decent enough and the ending was DYNAMITE, looked like a clone of Alan Belcher’s head kick on Jorge Santiago. Except this happened like three years previous, but you know what I mean….

Shooto: 2003 Year End Show

Tokyo, Japan

-This is pretty great now as the DVD gives us the WHOLE Year-End Show, which from what I can gather is traditionally the most stacked show of the year in Shooto.

Featherweight Fight: Masato Shiozawa vs Alex Khanbabian

Shiozawa was on the last Year-End Show I reviewed, but I don’t think I’ve come across him since actually. Khanbabian, although I haven’t seen him before, is part of the American Kickboxing Academy.

Shiozawa opens the 1st with a takedown to guard, and looks to take the back as Khanbabian scrambles. He gets the back, but doesn’t have both hooks, instead trapping Khanbabian’s arm with both of his legs. Khanbabian escapes to his feet though, only to be taken right down again. Shiozawa lands some punches from the top, nice solid stuff while working to pass, and pass he does, into side mount. Khanbabian escapes again though, only for Shiozawa to clinch, and get another takedown to end the round.

Shiozawa opens the 2nd with a single leg to guard, where he stacks up to land some punches. He flips Khanbabian over, and then takes his back, and from there he slides nicely into a textbook rear naked choke for the tapout.

Shiozawa looked impressive there; all over Khanbabian from the off despite the latter showing some good skill in scrambling out of a couple of awkward positions.

Lightweight Fight: Hideki Kadowaki vs Bao Quach

Quach is the first guy on these DVDs outside of Hansen and Einemo to cut a pre-fight interview in clean English, so no doubt I’m rooting for him in this one.

Kadowaki opens with a couple of good leg kicks, and then catches Quach’s attempt at an answer and gets a takedown to guard. Quach keeps a tight guard and the ref brings them back up, and they clinch where Quach gets a headlock takedown, only for Kadowaki to reverse into top position. They scramble up and Kadowaki tackles him RIGHT OUT OF THE RING. Ill. They restart and then clinch again, and Kadowaki gets a trip to guard. He passes to half-guard, but Quach uses a kimura attempt to sweep on top to end.

Kadowaki begins the 2nd with a takedown to guard, and Quach brings his leg up to look for the rubber guard. He uses a guillotine to sweep his way on top, and then blocks some nice sweep attempts from Kadowaki and works out to the side to take the back. Quach loses his hooks though, and then lands an illegal knee as they come back up, with Kadowaki still on three points. Ref calls time, and then restarts, and Kadowaki lands some good low kicks before pulling guard. He sweeps to mount, but Quach gets half-guard back and Kadowaki mounts him again right on the bell.

Third and final round, and Kadowaki lands some jabs and low kicks, before getting a takedown to guard. He flips Quach into the turtle position, and then traps his arms into a crucifix position. Kadowaki looks for a crucifix armbar variant, but Quach avoids, so instead Kadowaki uses his legs to move Quach’s arm out of the way, and then locks on a WEIRD rear naked choke variant, almost from underneath Quach, and that gets the tapout.

Unbelievable submission finish and a tremendous grappling match to boot. Really really good fight from a technical standpoint.

Bantamweight Fight: Robson Moura vs Junji Ikoma

Again I can’t help but marvel at how small these fighters are. Seriously, 123lbs? That’s TINY. Moura looked like a sick grappler last time out though.

Moura shoots to open the 1st, and Ikoma sprawls right out of the ring to avoid it. They restart, and exchange some feeler strikes before Moura clinches, and works to get the takedown to guard. He passes to half-guard and then mounts. Ikoma bucks desperately, but takes some punches before Moura transitions to side mount just before the end of the round.

2nd begins and they circle, with Moura swinging punches before getting the takedown to half-guard. He mounts quickly, but Ikoma reverses over into Moura’s guard. Moura scrambles though, and gets a front facelock, before getting back into the top position in guard. He stands and kicks the legs to close the round out.

Third and final round, and Ikoma comes forward, clearly knowing he’s behind, but Moura catches him with a takedown as he comes in. He steps into side mount, but Ikoma rolls into a front facelock instead, only to end up back in guard quickly. Moura passes from guard to side mount to north/south, completely controlling his opponent, and then locks up an arm triangle and mounts, but can’t finish things before the fight ends.

To the judges, and it’s unsurprisingly a decision for Moura, who dominated in every aspect of that fight. Very good grappling shown by him even if he didn’t do any real damage with his positions.

Welterweight Fight: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs Ryan Bow

You can’t really go wrong with Kawajiri, so this ought to be a good one, especially with an opponent as solid as Bow.

Bow shoots in to begin, but Kawajiri blocks and they clinch up and exchange knees. Kawajiri takes one to the groin and they call time to let him recover. He blocks another attempted takedown and they clinch again, before breaking off after exchanging some more knees. Kawajiri suddenly NAILS him with a left hand coming forward, putting Bow down and as he comes up, he slides all over the place like a drunk on ice. Ref gives him the 8 count and then restarts, and Kawajiri rocks him with another left and some knees from a Thai clinch, sending Bow sliding around again. Kawajiri follows with a pair of heavy rights, and Bow shoots in out of desperation, but ends up on his back, and Kawajiri pounds away from there to end things.

Awesome showing for Kawajiri who packs absolute dynamite in his punches. Literally the first clean one he landed had Bow on dream street and it was all downhill for him from there. Hilarious to see him sliding around like that too.

Bantamweight Fight: Mamoru Yamaguchi vs Yasuhiro Urushitani

Pretty sure this is a title fight, with Mamoru defending his belt. His afro is OUT OF CONTROL here, so weird to see a Japanese man with an afro haircut.

They press forward with neither landing anything major, until Urushitani catches a kick and gets a waistlock, before taking Mamoru’s back. Mamoru works well to avoid the rear naked choke attempts, but Urushitani lands some punches, so Mamoru turns into a mount and then reverses to his feet as the round ends.

Urushitani gets a takedown to begin the 2nd and then moves into the waistlock again, looking to take his back, but Mamoru reverses and gets on top. He stands to kick the legs, and then goes down into the guard. Mamoru lands some punches but Urushitani kicks him away, and stands. Mamoru catches a kick and gets a takedown, and works to pass, standing to kick at the legs again before the bell.

Third and final round, and they exchange early, before Urushitani catches a kick and looks for a single leg. They fall through the ropes, and then restart and exchange, and Urushitani takes a poke to the eye. Ref calls time and this time Mamoru catches a kick and gets the takedown to guard. He stands and kicks the legs, and then goes down into the guard with some punches. Urushitani tries to reverse, but Mamoru stays on top and continues to land, passing to side mount to end the fight.

Decision goes the way of Mamoru; could’ve gone either way really as Urushitani did more in the first round than Mamoru did in the last two, but then again Urushitani hardly did a thing from the 2nd onwards so hey, you have to beat the champion to win the belt I guess. Bit of a slow fight here.

Lightweight Fight: Alexandre Franca Nogueira vs Rumina Sato

Shooto Legend vs. Shooto Legend; I’m somewhat surprised it took them so long to set these two up against each other actually. No idea on the hype but I’m thinking it would’ve been quite big.

Round 1 and Sato catches a kick and shoots….but Nogueira blocks with the DEADLY GUILLOTINE and jumps guard, pulling him down for the tapout in under a minute!

Well, on one hand that was anticlimactic, but on the other, how can you argue with tapping a guy in less than a minute? Definitely surprising to see a legend like Sato get caught like that, that’s for sure.

Welterweight Fight: Vitor ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro vs Joachim Hansen

And the crowning piece of this set, two of the world’s absolute best 155lbs fighters going at it with the Shooto Title on the line for the first time since Hansen took it from Gomi. This ought to be DOPE.

Hansen comes out looking to strike, but Shaolin is having none of it, and gets a takedown to guard. He passes to side mount, and we get a long sequence of Hansen scrambling back to half-guard and Shaolin passing to side mount, but it’s Shaolin who looks to primarily be in control. Hansen ends the round in full guard, with Shaolin working to pass.

Hansen looks to strike again to open the 2nd, and this time he lands, wobbling Shaolin with a low kick and as he’s off balance, Hansen spins onto his back and looks to get his hooks in! Shaolin quickly gets out of the back door though, and gets on top in Hansen’s guard. He works to pass, and soon gets to side mount. Hansen looks to roll out, but this allows Shaolin to slap on the ARM TRIANGLE OF CERTAIN DOOM, and he passes over to the side! Hansen tries to punch his way out, but sure enough, he’s forced to tap instead, making Shaolin the NEW Shooto Welterweight Champion.

Just a grappling clinic from Shaolin, as it’s not like Hansen is some clueless guy who can be controlled on the ground and tapped easily. Shaolin made it look that way though as he was all over the Norwegian from the opening bell, and to end things with such an emphatic submission was a tremendous accomplishment for him. Probably the biggest win in his career in fact. Great fight to end the show with.

-And a highlight reel closing with Shaolin ends the DVD.

The Inside Pulse
: Everything I said about Volume 1 of this Shooto set applies to this one, except I would say Volume 2 is even better and more accessible to the less hardcore fan. There’s far less slow-ish, grappling oriented fights on this DVD and a lot more in the way of highlight reel finishes with both submissions and knockouts, and the added bonus of marquee fights like Hansen/Gomi and Shaolin/Hansen is just the icing on the cake. Realistically the 12/14/03 show itself would’ve been worth a high recommendation so to have that in full, as well as the best fights of the second half of 2003 on one DVD is insane. If you can get past the fact that the commentary and everything is in Japanese, this is an absolutely awesome DVD. Highly recommended.

Coming Soon….

UFC: 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, Fight Nights 1-10, and the TUF III Finale.
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.

Until next time,

Scott Newman: