Saturday, February 17, 2007

Aoki Proves it Was No Fluke, Defends Shooto Belt

YOKOHAMA, Japan, Feb. 17 — One year ago today, at Yoyogi Second Gymnasium, Shooto crowned its eighth world middleweight champion in Shinya Aoki (Pictures), a grappling prodigy that would become one of Japan’s most valuable fighters in 2006.

Having wrested the belt from Akira Kikuchi (Pictures), their rematch one year to the date of their first encounter would supposedly prove whether or not Aoki had simply caught an unsuspecting Kikuchi by surprise, or if Aoki truly was the next big thing in Japanese MMA.

At least … that was the idea.

Shinya Aoki def. Akira Kikuchi via split decision
Takashi Nakakura def. Mizuto Hirota via unanimous decision
Akitoshi Tamura def. Tenkei Fujimiya via unanimous decision
Takeshi "Lion" Inoue def. Hiroyuki Abe via KO R1
Yusuke Endo def. Ganjo Tentsuku via unanimous decision
Koutetsu Boku and Kenichiro Togashi fought to a draw
Atsushi Yamamoto def. Takeya Mizugaki via unanimous decision

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