While Kakuotogi (combat sports) is in a delicate state in Japanese pop culture as we are over a decade removed from the initial kakuotgi boom in the early shades of this millennium you still cannot shake the feeling of excitement I got when I heard that Caol Uno would be returning to Shooto.
One of the first Japanese star that grabbed my attention during my era as a tape trader was Uno, he wasn’t a flamboyant, outgoing personality like Kazushi Sakuraba or his other Japanese contemporaries but he had a certain level of charm and world-class grappling that made him world-renowned as one of the finest Shootors in the orgnaization’s history.
When he returns to the Shooto ring after an eight year drought of the two-time UFC lightweight title-challenger he will undoubtedly be a shell of his former self, at 37-years-of-age he is a shopworn fighter that has been through some wars in his time but can still be a tough challenge for Shintaro Ishiwatari.
Ishiwatari has distinguished himself as one of the better fighters competing at bantamweight in the land of the rising sun being unbeaten since his 2010 appearance under the World Victory Road’s Sengoku banner against Taiyo Nakahara, a victory over the former Shooto welterweight king would be a good start to upping his stock and gaining traction in North America.
To face Uno he will have to move up in weight though, from 135-pounds to 143-pounds where Uno has spent the past few years of his career.
After 16 years and 46 matches all over the world the final chapter in the career of Uno might be written on September 30 at Korakuen Hall, I, for one, cannot wait.
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