Ryo Okada will defend his Shooto Bantamweight Championship for the first time on March 20th, fighting Takafumi Otsuka in the main event of a Shooto Japan card from Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.
The championship title fight headlined a series of bouts announced for “Shooto 2021 Vol. 2” on Saturday.
Okada has slowly but surely climbed his way up the Shooto Japan bantamweight division through the years. Okada put together a five-fight win streak from 2017 to 2019, a series of wins that was snapped by a draw against Tatsuya Ando in 2019.
Okada returned to the win column in May, defeating Kazuma Kuramoto in the second round with punches.
Otsuka is being given the title shot after winning his Shooto Japan debut in 2020. Otsuka, a former DEEP Bantamweight Champion, made his first appearance for Shooto Japan in November, getting a win against Tatsuya Ando after an injury took his opponent out in the opening round.
Otsuka has past experience against experienced bantamweights like Yuki Motoya, Shintaro Ishiwatari and Victor Henry.
Undefeated Taira Matched With Veteran Maeda
Tatsuro Taira will attempt to extend his undefeated record to eight wins in March, fighting former WEC and Pride FC fighter Yoshiro Maeda.
Having competed since 2018, Taira has been active on the regional Japanese MMA scene and quickly attained a respectable record. His last win was in November, where he took a unanimous decision win against Kiyotaka Shimizu.
Maeda will look to bounce back from a stoppage loss he faced in 2020 to Ryuya Fukada.
Fullswing Looks To Break Losing Streak Against Goto
Experienced Shooto Japan fighter Uoi Fullswing will attempt to snap a three-fight losing streak in March against Joji Goto.
Losses in Shooto Japan and RIZIN have put Fullswing on the longest losing streak of his career thus far. He last competed in August, where Yuki Motoya caught him in the third round with a guillotine choke.
Goto is returning to Shooto Japan after earning a win on the regional scene against Kenta Hattori in December.
Nojiri Gets Quick Turnaround Against Ichijo
Yasuyuki Nojiri will return just months after his last performance to fight Takahiro Ichijo in March.
While Nojiri is undefeated as a pro, he experienced a result outside of the win column for the first time last month, as he fought to a draw against Kota Onojima. The fight was also the first time Nojiri didn’t finish a fight as a pro.
Now just weeks removed from his last fight, Nojiri is already booked for his next fight.
Similar to Nojiri, Ichijo is returning following a draw. Ichijo has struggled in the past few years, as he has lost seven of his last 10 bouts.
Takahashi Returns Following Pro Debut, Booked Against Kiryu
Yuki Submission Takahashi’s second pro fight has been booked for the March card, as he is being paired against Kiryu.
Takahashi won his pro debut in late 2019, submitting Masashi Oshiro within a round. Now after a year outside of the cage, Takahashi will return in March.
Kiryu sees himself enter his March booking after losing two consecutive fights via decision in 2020. The 43-year-old fighter has a negative record of three wins, six losses and one draw.
Here are all of the bouts that were announced.
Bout 5: Ryo Okada (16-4-3) vs. Takafumi Otsuka (28-17-1) (Shooto Bantamweight Championship)
Bout 4: Tatsuro Taira (7-0) vs. Yoshiro Maeda (38-18-3) (Bantamweight)
Bout 3: Uoi Fullswing (22-9-5) vs. Joji Goto (11-4-1) (Featherweight)
Bout 2: Yasuyuki Nojiri (4-0-1) vs. Takahiro Ichijo (7-9-1) (Featherweight)
Bout 1: Kiryu (3-6-1) vs. Yuki Submission Takahashi (1-0) (Bantamweight)