The card for the Shooto event on 17 November has been opened with a grudge match of sorts. Ryo Okada will defend Shooto’s ranking honor against Pancrase top bantamweight Nobuki Fujii’s debut.
Originally, Fujii said that he wants to prove the power of Pancrase in Shooto, and revenge his loss five years ago to current Shooto champ Shoko Sato. Eighth ranked Shootist Okada heard this and responded on social media that – basically – nobody was going to come in from outside and get an immediate title shot, so he stepped up. Fujii’s sensei, “TK” Tsuyoshi Kosaka, agreed on the spot, and the match was made right during the press conference.
Fujii’s on a two-year tear, having won six fights most recently taking out Alan Yamaniha. Okada has a two-fight win streak, with his claims to fame being a finalist in both the 2013 Rookie Tournament and the 2015 Infinity League. With honor on the line, this match should provide a crazy amount of scramble.
Shooto has put together four matches in the theme of “Top Ranker Survival”. At flyweight, third ranked Takumi Tamaru meets sixth ranked “Onibows”. At bantamweight, tenth ranked Tatsuya Ando faces fellow top ten Minamide Tsuyoshi for a style versus style contest of wrestling versus boxing.
At lightweight, fourth place Naoyuki Kotani welcomes ninth place “Captain Africa” to the top ten, and fifth ranked Yoichi Fukumoto takes on Yuta Kaneko.
17 November 2018
Ryo Okada vs Nobuki Fujii
Takumi Tamaru vs Tadaaki Yamamoto
Naoyuki Kotani vs Shutaro Debana
Tatsuya Ando vs Go Minamide
Yoichi Fukumoto vs Yuta Kaneko
Takamasa Kiuchi vs Shuto Aki