Shooto – Renaxis 4 (9/5/99)

In the 1990’s, one of the premier leagues in MMA was the Shooto organization. Originally founded by Satoru Sayama (the original Tiger Mask and Super Tiger) in 1985, this organization is the longest running MMA league around today.

This Shooto event is headlined by one of my three favorite fights of 1999 (the other two being Rumina Sato vs Caol Uno and Frank Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz). The main event is a rematch of a non-title fight between longtime Shooto lightweight (143 lbs.) champion Noboru Asahi and Luta Livre practioner Alexandre Franca “Pequeno” Nogueira. In Asahi-Nogueira I, Pequeno burst onto the Shooto scene by countering Asahi’s single leg with a spectacular guillotine choke that left Asahi unconscious at 1:06 of the first round (the first fight is covered in its entirety during the intro video of this Shooto event). Pequeno followed that up with a dominating victory over Masahiro Oishi (the fight starts at 4:18 on YouTube). The fight between Pequeno and Oishi¬†shows Pequeno’s slick transition from a body triangle into an armbar. On that same event on March 28, 1999, Asahi defended the 143 lbs. title in a very close competitive fight against awesome Shooto fighter Uchu Tatsumi.

So they finally meet here again, this time for the Shooto lightweight championship and the fight is one of the most exciting fights of the 1990s. The leglock exchanges are really entertaining, especially the moments of simultaneous heelhooks and toe holds (I must admit I’m a sucker for simultaneous leglocks). Also, Asahi displays a very active and dangerous guard that is able to keep Pequeno from passing it, and in one instance, is able to deliver an awesome reversal that puts Pequeno on his back. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it’s pretty definitive (although the referee did an extremely poor job at the end).

All the videos I link below of the Shooto – Relaxis 4 event are really worth checking out, as the undercard (which is unfortunately clipped and incomplete) is full of great action and the Caol Uno vs Din Thomas fight is a very good strategic contest, with lots of intense struggling and a very satisfying finish. Enjoy the show.

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