So here’s a new little segment I’ve decided to post from time to time. I’ll highlight various up-and-coming athletes in the Japanese/Asian MMA and grappling scene.
First up is Shooto Featherweight(61kg/132lbs) Michinori Tanaka. Tanaka fights out of Yokohama’s Reversal Gym Groundslam, coached by former Shooto champions Shuichiro Katsumura and “BJ” Kojima. 21 year-old Tanaka smashed through last year’s Shooto Rookie tournament and earned the title of tournament MVP after an exciting back-and-forth match with “Yashabo” Ishihara in the finals.
Tanaka’s greatest weapon is his speed. He’s got a quick takedown shot and can transition between positions easily on the ground. He supplements his speedy wrestling style with heavy punches and constant submission attempts.
The Rookie MVP is already being put on larger Shooto cards and I see him climbing up the ranks fairly quickly, much like 2010 Rookie MVP Kyoji Horiguchi.
Here’s a few of Tanaka’s recent fights: