Yesterday Pancrase put on their 291st event in the numbered series. This took place at Differ Ariake. It is the historical location from where a majority of the spectacular Pancrase events take place. This makes the second to the last event for the old venue though. It will be demolished early next year to make way for new buildings to be used in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Do not worry, Pancrase will be back stronger than ever starting February 4th, 2018 in their new venue, Studio Coast, in Shin-Kiba.
Pancrase 291 was a stacked card and it had the Middleweight King of Pancrase (KOP) belt up for grabs. This time it was the second matchup between Rocky Kawamura and Yuki Niimura. This fight did not disappoint! The two fighters went to war in the cage and Yuki Niimura emerged victoriously. He was crowned the new Middleweight KOP. It was an amazingly long journey for him as well. He has been fighting in Mixed Martial Arts for 14 years and has had 6 attempts to capture a title and all had failed. This time he was successful and the emotions came through. You could see it on his face and hear it in his voice as he addressed the crowd at Pancrase 291. All the training and hard work finally paid off.
His opponent, the defending KOP, Rocky Kawamura had a tough evening. Kawamura always puts on a good show for the fans. He takes on the Rocky Balboa persona from the Rocky movies. He adds a little English to his promos. They are lines right out of the films like “I must break you.” The crowd loved it. In addition to the snippets of English, he uses the Rocky theme music as his walkout tune.
The first 2 rounds seemed to go back and forth between the two fighters. It was in the 3rd round where everything changed. It was then that Niimura landed some good punches and had Kawamura stepping back and ending up with his back on the cage. Once there Niimura opened up with 3 flurries of punches that eventually ended the fight. During the exchange, Kawamura took some serious shots on the chin tossing his head left and right. At a certain point, as his knees buckled, that was enough for Ref Wada to call the fight and end it by KO in Round 3.
The Semi-Main event was also very exciting. It featured former Bellator fighter, Masakatsu Ueda against Alan Yamaniha. Yamaniha is someone that has been around for a long time in the MMA game. He is also an expert at Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and trains under the Phenom, Roberto “Satoshi” De Souza. Both fighters have long records and this has been a fight that has been brewing for some time.
The fight started off with both fighters looking as if they wanted to keep it standing. They exchanged a few good shots each. After the first couple of minutes in round 1, Ueda lands a solid mid-section kick on Yamaniha but does not snap it back to the chamber position. He leaves his leg extended and Yamaniha catches it and holds the leg up high to set up the trip takedown. Once on the mat, Yamaniha wastes no time in securing the back of Ueda. However he is not able to secure the choke under the chin or get both hooks in. Eventually, he does and even moves into a figure 4 body lock, but it is not enough to hold Ueda. Ueda is eventually able to roll over and just end up in full guard. This would be the tone how the entire fight would go. Yamaniha getting Ueda in a hold and Ueda escaping. This all came to a head in the 3rd round where once again Ueda found himself in Yamaniha’s guard, but he manages to isolate one arm and pull off a very cheeky straight armbar while still in Yamaniha’s guard. Yamaniha is forced to tap with only 8 seconds left in the fight.
There are many excellent fights on this card. Make sure you check out the replay at UFC Fightpass. Also, follow @mmajpn1 on Twitter for live tweets from the venue during live JMMA events.
Results Of Pancrase 291:
Yuki Niimura Beats Ryo Kawamura by knockout (punch). Round 3 -for middleweight title King of Pancrase
Masakatsu Ueda Beats Alan Yamaniha by submission (straight armlock). Round 3, 4:52
Alexandre Cirne Beats Kenta Takizawa by TKO (doctor’s stoppage). Round 2 (Busted nose)
Kenta Takagi Beats Takaaki Nara by split decision
Issei Tamura Beats Takumi Suzuki by unanimous decision
Aziz Pahrudinov Beats Kenichiro Togashi by unanimous decision
Yojiro Uchimura Beats Daniel Requiejo by TKO (knee and punches). Round 3
Hidekazu Fukushima Beats Tadahiro Harada by submission (triangle-armbar). Round 3
Toshinori Tsunemura Beats Tetsuya Yamamoto by unanimous decision
Yoshinori Horie Beats Katsushi Sugiyama by unanimous decision
Shuichi Kanda Beats Yasuhiro Kawamura by unanimous decision