After stealing the Osaka Pro Championship from Delfin the month prior, these two clash again in yet another shoot style match up for the title. While this yet again operates under some form of shoot rules, it does seem to differ from the May bout, at least in terms of presentation. Yet again, we have three minute rounds, but this time we have on-screen graphics showing each man has a limited number of rope breaks and knock downs.

The match begins with both men carrying lessons from their first encounter. Murahama now understands what a threat Delfin is even in a shoot setting, and so he comes out swinging looking for that early knockout. Delfin, for his part, continues to stick to his tried and true strategy of trying to ground Murahama where he has the advantage.

Even though Delfin succeeds in getting Murahama to the mat–and even forcing him to burn some rope breaks–it comes much harder to him this time around than last. Murahama’s a little wiser to Delfin’s game and works to stuff those attempted takedowns at every turn. It’s really only Delfin being a little more clever in response to Murahama’s amped up aggression that allows him to stay in the fight. Every now and then, Murahama will throw wildly with a big kick and it leaves him open for Delfin to take him back down to the mat. Even when Murahama goes down though, he’s gotten more adept at trying to work his way out. His main solution is one of brute force–just keep punching Delfin until the challenger lets him do.

It’s such an exciting dynamic because these two have fully left behind the feeling out stages in their first fight, leaving us only with these two concentrated attacks instead. Although Murahama finally looks like he’s getting the best of Delfin with those killer strikes of his, the end of the round arrives just in time to keep Delfin in the thick of things.

The second round sees their familiar dynamic continue to play out. Again, Delfin very much has the advantage down on the mat but Murahama’s desperation makes him far more dangerous about going for a big knockout blow in the hopes of getting the win. Also worth noting is that much like Murahama attacking the eyes in the first match, Delfin doesn’t mind bending the rules a bit when it’s to his advantage. When Delfin gets Murahama back up into the ropes, instead of breaking clean, he uses it as a chance to throw the champion back down to the mat.

In fact, it’s that little bit of foul play that allows Delfin to ground Murahama which quickly leads into getting the cross armbreaker that earns Delfin the victory. Perfect eye for an eye storytelling there as Delfin takes an opening afforded him much as Murahama did in the first match.

What a thrill it is to see Shoot Style Delfin continue to thrive. I never could have guessed that he’d have the ability to tell such concise and clear stories with this kind of furious pace in a shoot style setting. That makes it all the more exciting that he does this so goddamn well! This isn’t the last of the Delfin/Murahama matches, so rest assured we’ll be seeing them again very soon. Can’t wait to see what they do next.

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