Shooto held its annual ‘Rookie Finals’ early Saturday morning from Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan.
With seven of the eight bouts being Tournament Finals, there were a lot of prospects on this card competing for the right to be called Shooto’s best rookie in their respective divisions.
In the Flyweight Rookie Final, Mikitoshi Yamagami got the glory and also managed to keep his perfect record intact by submitting Junji Ito with a tight guillotine choke in the second round of their scrap.
Another slick submission came courtesy of Kosuke Eda. In the final of the Featherweight Tournament, he quickly overwhelmed Yoshihiko Oyama and transitioned into a smooth rear naked choke, forcing Oyama to tap just three minutes into the fight.
Makoto Maeda showcased his hands with a devastating knockout in the Light Heavyweight Final bout. The unfortunate victim was Takaaki Oban, who went home without the Tournament crown and at the very least a splitting headache.
One of Japan’s top wrestling prospects, Ikuo Usuda, came out on top in his Welterweight Final bout. He bested the much more experienced Yukinari Tamura in a decision victory.
In the only non-Tournament bout, Guy Delameau demonstrated some vicious ground and pound on Paolo Milano, picking up the “W” and evening out his mixed martial arts record at 3-3.
Here are the official results for the Shooto ‘Rookie Finals’:
Guy Delameau (3-3) defeated Paolo Milano (2-3-1) by TKO (4:09-R2)
Shooto Flyweight Rookie Tournament Final :
Mikitoshi Yamagami (3-0) defeated Junji Ito by (3-2) guillotine choke (2:15-R2)
Shooto Lightweight Rookie Tournament Final :
Issei Tamura (3-0) defeated Naohiro Mizuno (4-2) via unanimous decision
Shooto Featherweight Rookie Tournament Final:
Kosuke Eda (7-2-2) defeated Yoshihiko Oyama (0-2-1) by rear naked choke (3:02-R1)
Shooto Light Heavyweight Rookie Tournament Final:
Makoto Maeda (3-1-1) defeated Takaaki Oban (2-2) by KO (0:34-R1)
Shooto Bantamweight Rookie Tournament Final :
Fumihiro Kitahara (4-0) defeated Kentaro Watanabe (2-1) via unanimous decision
Shooto Middleweight Rookie Tournament Final:
Takuya Sato (3-2-2) defeated Takesuke Kume (3-1-2) via decision (Ext R.)
Shooto Welterweight Rookie Tournament Final :
Ikuo Usuda (3-0) defeated Yukinari Tamura (8-2-4) via unanimous decision
Looking forward to seeing how these Rookie champs do in the Shooto/MMA world.
They do these Rookie tournaments every year, the winners often become great fighters, some past examples are...
Tatsuya Kawajiri - 2002 (You all know this Top LW)
Hideki Kadowaki - 2002 (143lb Shooto champ until Lion just beat him)
Kuniyoshi Hironaka - 2002 (UFC and DREAM vet)
Hiroyuki Takaya - 2003 (In WEC, K-1 Heros vet)
Shinichi "BJ" Kojima - 2004 (123lb current Shooto champ)
Takeshi "Lion" Inoue - 2004 (Top 10 featherweight, current Shooto 143lb champ)
Keita Nakamura - 2005 (UFC vet, shared the cage with the likes of Rob Emerson)
Mizuto Hirota - 2005 (WVR GP vet, knocked out Ryan Schultz)
Masakatzu Ueda - 2006 (AMAZING bantamweight, I'd love to see him fight Miguel Torres one day, Current Shooto 132lb champion)
There are plenty of other decent level fighters that emerge from these Rookie Tournaments. So keep an eye on the winners from this year.