Kota Onojima claimed the Shooto Japan Pacific Rim Bantamweight Championship on Sunday night, going three rounds against Nobuki Fujii for a unanimous decision win.
The fight headlined “Shooto 2022 Opening Round,” which took place at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.
Onojima’s win came through a solid striking performance through three rounds, dictating the pace in a slow three-round fight. He was the clear leading fighter in exchanges and entered the final round with a solid lead.
Fujii’s best moment was in the third round briefly, as he got on the back of Onojima and attempted a rear naked choke.
The belt was recently vacated by Tatsuya Ando, who gave up the title so he could challenge for the promotion’s main bantamweight championship.
Onojima was placed in the title position after going undefeated over the past two years. This includes three wins and two draw outcomes. He more recently scored a decision win against Seigo Yamamoto, beating him in October.
Fujii also entered the event with momentum, as he had scored two wins previously. However, he was coming off a break, as his prior appearance was in January 2021.
Wrestler Nakamura Beats Nojiri In Seconds
Former freestyle wrestler Rinya Nakamura had an incredibly fast win on Sunday night, defeating Yasuyuki Nojiri in just seconds with strikes.
Nakamura hurt Nojiri just seconds into the fight, flooring him with a left hook while he was leaped at. A quick flurry of ground and pound shots to a recovering Nojiri then followed, causing the referee to end the fight in the first minute.
The win was Nojiri’s third finish win since debuting in May. He has a strong record in freestyle wrestling, having won the U23 World Championships in 2017 and been a World Cup representative for Japan in 2018.
Nojiri turned pro in MMA after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were delayed by a year, per Ed Gallo of Bloody Elbow.
Patrick Extends Flawless Run With Stoppage Victory
Sho Usami Patrick extended his undefeated record with a finish win, defeating Kazumasa Sugawara late in the first round.
Usami finished the fight in the closing seconds of the opening frame, dropping Sugawara with an overhand right. Poised to end the bout, Usami unloaded with a fast flurry of right hooks that dropped Sugawara again and stopped the fight.
Usami now has four wins since turning pro in May 2021. Two of those victories have come via stoppage.
Sugawara is on a three-fight losing streak since October.
Usami, along with co-main event winner Nojiri, is sponsored by entertainment company LDH.
Arai Extends Winning Streak With Punches
Jo Arai had a brutal victory over Takemasa SKINNYZOMBIE Kiuchi, dropping him many times in one round before the fight was finally finished.
Arai first dropped Kiuchi a minute into the fight with his lead jab. He was able to knock him down again in the fourth minute of the round, piecing together a combination of straight shots while moving forward.
After two more knockdowns due to left hooks, including one that happened in the closing seconds of the round, the fight was stopped and Arai was given his win.
Arai now has an impressive five-fight winning streak together. He had a quick win last time around as well, defeating Tateo Iina within a minute in June 2021.
Kiuchi had a loss last time around, dropping a decision two months back against Ken Asahina.
A fight between Yuto Sekiguchi and Takeru Uchida was set to happen before this fight. However, COVID-19 protocols removed this bout from the show.
Former Champ Kurobe Bounces Back
Former Shooto Japan and DEEP Jewels Atomweight Champion Mina Kurobe returned to the win column, grinding out a unanimous decision victory over Momoka Hoshuyama.
Kurobe was able to control most of the two-round fight by earning dominant positions on the ground.
Kurobe had a strong four-fight winning streak broken in November, as Satomi Takano beat her to become the new Shooto Japan Atomweight Champion.
Hoshuyama had earned her first pro win in November, defeating Chisato Wada on scorecards.
Veteran Hisae Scores Submission In Return
Veteran Hisae had a win in her return to MMA, defeating pro debutant Haruna Kato in the first round via submission.
Hisae was able to catch Kato in the second minute with an armbar, fully extending the hold for a tap after previously fighting to attain the hold.
The fight on Sunday was Hisae’s first appearance in MMA since 2016. The 41-year-old fighter is best known for being an active fighter on the JMMA scene in the mid-to-late 2000s.
Kato, 18, was fighting as a pro for the first time.
Nakamura Works To Decision Win
Miku Nakamura got one step closer to evening her pro record in her appearance, beating Yuki Ono via unanimous decision after two rounds.
Work on the ground from Nakamura is what secured her the win. Not only was she able to have ground control for most of the fight, but she made use of the positions with ground and pound shots.
The victory snapped a two-fight losing streak that Nakamura had. She struggled in 2021, losing three of her four fights that year.
Ono’s prior bout was a draw against Chihiro Sawada.
Sugimoto Beats Newcomer Salt With Wrestling
The wrestling-heavy style of AACC gym fighter Megumi Sugimoto earned her a victory over newcomer Salt. Their two-round fight resulted in a unanimous decision win for the Shooto Japan veteran.
Sugimoto spent a large portion of the fight in clinch positions but was able to earn a takedown in both rounds.
This was Sugimoto’s first appearance since she won a fight against Mikiko Hiyama in May 2021. She had RIZIN Super Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki in her corner for the bout.
Kudo Stops Takeaki For First Pro Win
Keiichiro Kudo had an explosive first pro win on Sunday, defeating Takeaki Kinoshita within a round with strikes.
Kudo exploded forward with a combination of punches on Takeaki. This included a left hook that folded him and caused the fight to end.
Kudo had an unsuccessful pro debut in November, losing a decision to Yoshihiro Koyama.
Kinoshita was also coming off a loss, having dropped a majority decision against Tateo Iida in October. He now has a negative record of four wins and five losses.
Veteran Abe Earns First Win In Decade
Masatoshi Abe kicked the card off with a unanimous decision win, going two rounds against Atsushi Makigaya for the win. He used his striking to get the scorecard nod, landing with straight punches frequently.
Since most of Abe’s career took place in the 2000s, his fight on Sunday was his first victory since 2011. His prior bout was a stoppage loss in 2019.
Makigaya is now on a five-fight losing streak that has lasted three years. He has an incredibly negative record of seven wins and 26 losses.
The card was previously scheduled to be opened by Hayato Sasaki and Koki Morita, although that matchup was removed from the card due to COVID-19 protocols, per GONG.
Main Card (4:00AM EST / 6:00PM JST) (AbemaTV)
Bout 10: Kota Onojima def. Nobuki Fujii via Decision, Unanimous (Vacant Shooto Pacific Rim Bantamweight Championship)
Bout 9: Rinya Nakamura def. Yasuyuki Nojiri via TKO, Strikes (RD 1)
Bout 8: Sho Usami Patrick def. Kazumasa Sugawara via TKO, Strikes (RD 1)
Bout 7: Jo Arai def. Takemasa SKINNYZOMBIE Kiuchi via TKO, Strikes (RD 1)
Bout 6: Mina Kurobe def. Momoka Hoshuyama via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 5: Hisae def. Haruna Kato via Submission, Armbar (RD 1)
Bout 4: Miku Nakamura def. Yuki Ono via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 3: Megumi Sugimoto def. Salt via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 2: Keiichiro Kudo def. Takeaki Kinoshita via TKO, Strikes (RD 1)
Bout 1: Masatoshi Abe def. Atsushi Makigaya via Decision, Unanimous