This Sunday's Shooto card is missing a few elements that the other big upcoming Japanese cards have, most notably weight classes over 155lbs and a TV deal with HDNet. I put it to you that Shooto--Revolutionary Exchanges 1: Undefeated makes up for these deficiencies in a big way, both by staging some meaningful bouts in lower weight classes and by strength of it's typically unwieldy name.
I entertained notions of breaking down the card accurately and insightfully, but I'm too stupid and lazy. Instead, here is the card, obligatory fight-finder linkage, merit-less opinions, and a some videos that I certainly wasn't helpful enough to have uploaded myself.
Photo: Eduardo "Dudu" Dantas and Masakatsu Ueda (via www.x-shooto.jp)
132lb Title Bout: #1 Masakatsu Ueda (9-0-2) vs. #2 Eduardo Dantas (7-1-0)
Ueda is a strong fighter with a relentless ground game. His previous fight against So Tazawa went the distance but was entertaining. There were a several spots where it really seems as though Tazawa would have to be submitted, but he held on, no doubt due to the mystical power of shootbox pants. (Sidenote: Why are mystic shootbox pants more powerful than magic grappling tights? The belt.) Eduardo "Dudu" Dantas is a real talent: young, rangey, very quick in transition. His one loss is by disqualification, and he holds a win over BJ Kojima at 132lbs. Marcos Galvao, a Nova Uniao teammate, fought Ueda to a frustrating draw last September. A lot of interesting things could happen in this fight, but I'm just going to assume that Ueda will stubbornly avoid getting lamped or submitted and retain his title via decision or by ever thrilling default in the event of a draw.
123lb (Non-title Bout): #1 Shinichi Kojima (10-3-5) vs. #6 Jucie Formiga (2-0-0)
It would be nice if this was a title fight as well, but Shooto has their own crazy schemes. At least this isn't likely to end in a draw. If you haven't seen Formiga, here is his fight vs. Ralph Lauren, and his most recent bout against Maicon William. Formiga is a highly regarded Nova Uniao representative (ya don't say), but I feel that the advantage lies with "BJ" Kojima. He's had some spotty performances, and his attempt to jump up in weight classes was not a success, but he looked strong in his last outing--if you missed it you really should check it out: Part 1, Part 2. (Sidenote regarding Formiga's "official" record--Jordan Breen noted on air that the Sherdog fight finding minions were aware of more of his fights and had seen tape of them, but must refrain from adding them until they get such basic information as the date the fight actually took place. He might have been talking about another Nova Uniao member, but the point is that Brazil is awesome and I'm not going to re-listen to find out for sure.)
114lb: #3 Takeshi Sato (8-6-1) vs. #5 Atsushi Takeuchi (6-4-2)
Sato's record isn't astounding, but he's scrambled his way into two efficient rear-naked chokes in his last two outings. Takeuchi bloodied up 2008 Shooto Rookie Tournament flyweight champion Mikitoshi Yamagami on his way to a convincing two round decision in March. I feel like Sato will find a submission here, but it isn't a very well-reasoned prediction. Either way, clarity will contiue to develop for Shooto's littlest class of all.
123lb: #10 Yasuhiro Akagi (7-3-1) vs. Masaaki Sugawara (6-4-0)
Akagi last fought 2 years ago, losing to Kojima via ear destruction. Sugawara currently stands as the last victory of Mamoru's MMA career. Can't say that I have any strong thoughts on this one.
154lb: Shinji Sasaki (7-2-0) vs. Yukinari Tamura (8-3-5)
Sasaki's fight against Bendy Casimir at Tradition 1 last year was excellent. He's slick, and should be able to submit Tamura.
143lb: Taiki Tsuchiya (4-2-0) vs. Kazuhiro Ito (5-3-1)
Ito has achieved that most brutal sort of MMA infamy. Ouch. For what it's worth, Tsuchiya upset the man who introduced Ito's face to the canvas just over a month ago. I myself don't have any idea what it's worth.
Rookie Tournament 2nd Round:
143lb: Tsuneo Kimura (3-1-0) vs. Yoshinao Oki
154lb: Hiroki Kuga (2-1-0) vs. Munehiro Kin (1-1-0)
154lb: Koji Nishioka (0-0-1) vs. Harada
132lb: Kota Onojima (1-0-0) vs. Inagaki
Couldn't tell you much about these gentlemen. Here's a video of Munehiro Kin encouraging his last opponent to topple in a mildly amusing manner.
So then, the only thing left is to wait for the fights to go down! And then to wait for the fights to be uploaded on to the world wide web by mysterious and benevolent forces. You watch a few videos here and there, next thing you know you'll be a reasonably informed fan of another couple weight classes. This will be even more relavant as the WEC continues to grow. If I made any mistakes or omissions, let me know. (And just to fill the quota: Brock Lesnar? Brock Lesnar.)
(Post edited to correct typographical errors, clarify some nicknames & add a picture.)