Last weekend marked Pancrase’s first cross promotion with One Championship signifying their newly formed partnership. Going forward there will be an exchange of talent between the two promotions offering fighter an excellent chance for international training and career exposure. We especially see this helping Japanese fighters who have in the past gone their entire career without ever facing a foreign opponent. This is another venue that can put JMMA and it’s talented athletes on the world stage. This is a very good move strategically for both Pancrase and One Championship. For more info on this partnership see HERE
Pancrase 303 was held at the lovely Studio Coast venue as all the recent Pancrase promotions are. This venue is used as a night club and as a music venue for live bands at other times but they have an exclusive agreement for MMA events with Pancrase. This event pits Rafael Morcego Silva vs Kenta Takizawa as the main event. Both of these men are forces to be dealt with in the cage. Both have given stellar performances in the past and this bout was something that fans were no doubt looking forward to seeing. The exciting factors being Morcego with his crushing power and top of the line grappling versus Takizawa’s speed and aggression in the cage. We’ve seen both competitors crush their opponents leading up to this match up.
The event started off with a large amount of preliminary bouts featuring athletes fighting in the Neo Blood tournament. This is a way that Pancrase searches for their newest fighters. You make your way through Neo Blood and you will find yourself starting to appear on the main Pancrase cards in the future. With the addition of the One Championship partnership with Pancrase, Neo Blood stand outs and winners will have an option of getting a 1 year training scholarship to train in the Evolve gym in Singapore from now on. This is just further motivation for the already talented fighters to do well in the tournament.
After the prelims concluded their 10 matches we got into the main card for that evening. 9 Fights on the main card that did not disappoint. At this point it should also be pointed out that in addition to the new partnership with One Championship, Pancrase also entered into an agreement with ISKA (International Sport Karate Association). ISKA is a governing body that insures that all the Unified Rules of MMA are followed by a promotion and they also offer strict guidelines for refs and judges. This meant that in addition to some of the regular refs you see at JMMA events, there were a few new faces representing the ISKA. This is a good step forward for Pancrase. It aligns the promotion with other countries and further shows their commitment to using the Unified Rules. That being said there was a slight hiccup during the refereeing in the Co-Main event that did not go unnoticed by the JMMA fans.
During the fight between Salimkhan Sadulloev (7-3-0) Vs. Hiroto Uesako (14-7-0) the ref stepped in and looked like he was stopping the fight because Uesako was in some serious trouble from the punched being rained down on him from Sadulloev. In fact, the ref jumped in then backed out and the bell sounded. Shortly after that, either the ref experienced a miscommunication with the other officiating staff, or realized his own mistake. He set the fighters up to start going again. Keep in mind he’d already essentially stopped the fight, now he is starting it again. Next in a strange twist of events, Uesako throws 1 front leg kick to the upper knee area of Sadulloev’s lead leg and Sadulloev grabs his side around his ribs and goes down. This left us all wondering what just happened. Perhaps Sadulloev had sustained an injury in round 1 and getting his leg kicked was enough to activate it? We are not sure. However the result of Sadulloev sitting down and not being able to continue the fight cost him the bout and Uesako walked away with the win. (If you have any ideas tell us on Twitter! Follow @mmajpn1)
The main event put up Brazilian champion, Rafael Morcego Silva, against the quick and deadly Japanese contender, Kenta Takizawa. In the lead up to the fight the promotion showed both of the fighter’s highlight reals with some seriously great KO’s in both men’s histories. This was going to be a great fight regardless on which side you were cheering for. The fight started out with a good exchange as both fighters felt each other’s defenses out looking for opportunities to land that amazing KO shot.
Takizawa landed a few solid strikes before being taken down by Silva. Once on the cage floor, Silva quickly moved to Takizawa’s back and sunk in a tight Rear Naked Choke causing Takizawa to tap. That was the end of the fight. In just over 1 minute of Round 1 Silva cements his position as the Bantam Weight King of Pancrase. It looks like he is not going anywhere for a while and it will take a straight up killer to take that belt.
Michinori Tanaka def. Vlad Leontyev via Unanimous Decision
Taiki Akiba def.Ryuichi Miki via Split Decision
Shohei Masumizu def. Rilley Dutro via Unanimous Decision
Yusuke Ogikubo vs. Tatsuyuki Nakamura via Unanimous Decision
Yoko Higashi def. Seo Yoon Jung via TKO (Punches) in Round 1
Hiroto Uesako def. Salimkhan Sadulloev via TKO (Leg Kicks) in Round 2
Yoshinori Horie def. Hiroshige Tanaka via KO (Punches) in Round 1
Kota Kawahata def. Mastaka Hiraga via KO (Slam) in Round 1
Yuki Nagai def. Kenzo Hirokawa via TKO (Punches) in Round 1