This was a huge opportunity for Kota Shimoishi.
In the Japanese MMA, for a fighter like Shimoishi who does not live near Tokyo area, its not so easy to get an opportunity to fight in the big MMA show because majority of them are held in Tokyo. Meaning, they really don't get too many chances of fighting top names to prove themselves.
Sure, besides, DEEP, other Tokyo-based promotions like Pancrase and Shooto do promotes shows outside Tokyo but not too often.
So, for an Osaka-based Shimoishi, this fight against Yoshiyuki "Zenko" Yoshida, had to be the biggest fight in his career. Because, this was not just about facing an UFC / Bellator veteran, this was the headliner of the year's biggest DEEP show held in his home turf.
And, instead of choking under the pressure, a 27-year old from team BLOWS delivered.
From the beginning of the fight, Shimoishi pressured Yoshida with takedowns followed by ground and pound. Seemed like "Zenko" took little too many damages early and never really recovered till the end.
After losing to Satoru Kitaoka in DEEP lightweight title fight on New Year's eve 2014, although he is turning 41 in little over a week, Yoshida decided to continue fighting. However, this loss to Shimoishi had to be a huge step back for "Zenko". At his age, its going to be difficult to re-motivate himself to get back into a title contention. Earlier in his career, Yoshida said he would like to fight into late 40's, "like Randy Couture" so its going to be interesting to see what kind of decision he is going to make now.
On the other end, for Shimoishi, this win maybe good enough to get a title shot.
And, for Japanese MMA and for DEEP, may not be a bad to see a 27-year new face from Osaka in the title fight. After all, the champion, Kitaoka, just turned 35 this year. He is not too young either.
For any sports, its always good to see young talents threatening old guards.
DEEP OSAKA IMPACT – 04/29/2015
Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
At Abeno Ward Center Hall, Osaka, Japan
The Main Event – DEEP Lightweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Yoshiyuki "Zenko" Yoshida (Japan / HALEO TO TEAM) vs Kota Shimoishi (Japan / BLOWS)
Winner: 3R Kota Shimoishi by Decision (0-3)
Co-Main – DEEP Middleweight Bout 5 min / 3R
RYO (Japan / Run's End – ZERO-ONE MAX) vs Katsutoshi "Victory" Yanagi (Japan / Katsura-juku)
Winner: 1R 3'26" RYO by KO (knee shot)
8th Match – DEEP Straw-weight Bout 5 min / 2R
Daichi Kitakata (Japan / Pancrase Inagaki-gumi) vs HEAT Takeshi (Japan / Wajiutsu Keishu-kai Funabashi Dojo)
Winner: 3R Daichi Kitaka by Decision (3-0)
7th Match – DEEP Bantamweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Yusuke Kagiyama (Japan / MMA Dojo Cobra-kai) vs Hidekazu Fukushima (Japan / BLOWS)
Winner: 2R Hidekazu Fukushima by Decision (0-3)
6th Match – DEEP Welterweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Ryuichirou Sumimura (Japan / Trinity Suns) vs Nao Yoneda (Japan / D Plus)
Winner: 1R 2'55" Ryuichirou Sumiura by Submission (rear naked choke)
5th Match – DEEP Featherweight Bout 5 min /2R
Katsuyoshi Beppu (Japan / MMA Dojo Cobra-kai) vs Mitsuhiro Okada (Japan / CB IMPACT)
Winner: Cancelled (doctor stoppage on Okada)
4th Match – DEEP Bantamweiwght Bout 5 min / 2R
Kintaro (Japan / Pancrase Inagaki-gumi) vs Satoshi Watanabe (Japan / CM IMPACT)
Winner: 2R Kintaro by Decision (3-0)
3rd Match – DEEP Bantamweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Ryuhei Nakamoto (Japan / BLOWS) vs Shingo Nakazawa (Japan / Paraestra Osaka)
Winner: 2R Shingo Nakazawa by Decision (0-3)
2nd Match – DEEP Bantamweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Sho Nonaka (Japan / Pancrase Inagaki-gumi) vs Hiroshi Komatsu (Japan / BLOWS)
Winner: 1R 4'33" Sho Nonaka by Submission (side triangle choke)
1st Match – DEEP Straw-weight Bout 5 min / 2R
Icho "Snufkin" Tomonaga (Japan / MMA Dojo Cobra-kai) vs Tatsuki Ozaki (Japan / TEAM CLUTCH)
Winner: 1R 3'42" Icho "Snufkin" Tomonaga by Submission (side triangle choke)
Opening Match – DEEP Bantamweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Kanta Kodera (Japan / P's LAB Osaka) vs Taiki Akiba (Japan / reliable)
Winner: 2R Taiiki Akiba by Decision (0-3)
Report by Shu Hirata
Photo courtesy of DEEP FC facebook page –