PANCRASE 317, August 23, 2020, Main Card Preview

In the wake of a successful return to action last month, Pancrase has put together another stellar card promising the kind of quality MMA fans expect from the legendary promotion. Top tier fighters from Japan`s elite MMA gyms go head to head and leave it all in the cage this Sunday, 23rd of August. Pancrase 317 features eight main card and four preliminary bouts, and will stream live on their Youtube channel from Studio Coast, Tokyo,  14:00 start, Japan Standard Time

Main Card Matches

Main Event – Featherweight Championship Contender Match – 3R/5M

Lotus Setagaya fighter, 4th ranked Taichi Nakajima enters the Featherweight contenders match following a strong win over Russian Boris Federov. Well versed in all aspects of the game, with excellent control and versatility, Nakajima can compete with the very best, and is capable of causing upsets. While not a large Featherweight known for his power, Nakajima possesses a dynamic kicking game that has produced highlight reel finishes, a sensational spinning back kick knock out being a prime example. What constantly seems to hinder his ascent is an inability, at times, to secure the key moments to steal rounds. A split decision loss to Kyle Aguon saw the 31 year-old`s last title shot go up in flames, he will not want history to repeat itself. Expect a highly motivated Nakajima to bring his “A game” to the main event contenders match.

Facing off against Nakajima will be Alliance gym fighter, Yoshinori “Rising Star” Horie. A highlight reel knock out artist, Horie tore through the 2017 Neo Blood tournament leaving opponents out on the canvas. With devastating punches, kicks and knees, the explosive Karate stylist locks on target, covers distance in the blink of an eye, and turns opponents lights out. With his reputation and resume, “Rising Star” was promptly picked up by the UFC, where he lost a spirited battle trading shots with a bigger, stronger striker. The loss lit a fire in the 25 year old who is determined to secure the Pancrase title and punch his ticket back to the UFC. Horie will be eager to make a statement with another spectacular finish in a fight not to be missed.

Co-main Event – Lightweight – 3R/5M

Dominant as a Shooto Lightweight champion, Koshi “Luxor” Matsumoto makes a return to Pancrase after a 9 year absence with his sights set firmly on the belt. Last outing, Matsumoto faced reigning Lightweight King of Pancrase, Takasuke Kume in a Pancrase vs Shooto showcase under the One Championship banner. While ultimately losing a competitive decision, the elite Shooto Champion caused a few scares for Kume, who had to dig deep and fight tooth and nail to pull off the victory. True to his Judo roots the M PLATIC gym fighter is an accomplished grappler and deadly submission artist. With rangy, pin point boxing and aggressive kicks and knees, on the feet “Luxor” is just as proficient at putting opponents away.

Matsumoto perhaps feels destined to get his rematch with Kume and redemption, but will not be looking past Pancrase`s stacked Lightweight contenders. Takashi Matsuoka is a prime example of the divisions depth. Ranked at number 9, the Pancrasism Yokohama representative has a potential career turning opportunity in front of him should he take out Matsumoto. With heavy hands that have fight-turning potential, Matsuoka has refined his wild “go for broke” style to become a well-versed MMA fighter. While it would appear as though Matsuoka has the cards stacked against him, he has little to lose in exchanging with Matsumoto and has the kind of skillset that is dangerous regardless of opponent. Owning wins over Pancrase and DEEP legends, Takafumi Ito and Yasuaki Kishimoto, Matsuoka is ready to pull out all stops and add another scalp to the collection.

6 – Flyweight – 3R/5M

A consumate top ranker with a calculated, clinical approach, Ryuichi Miki utilizes his karate speed and accuracy to break opponents down before calmly capping the fight off with a violent finish. 2016 Flyweight King of Pancrase has been climbing back up the mountain since losing the title, claiming consequtive wins in his last 2 outings. The Cave gym standout prefers to strike from the outside, with impeccably timed lightning quick attacks he leaves few openings for his opponents. The methodical dismantling of opponents can backfire on the 37-year-old however, as working his way into fights and building momentum leaves little room for error when it comes to judges decisions. With his recent spectacular flying knee knock out of Manabu Inoue, the number 3 ranked Miki finds his stock is higher than ever and will not disappoint when he enters the cage.

In contrast to his opponent, Yusuke Ogikubo is at his best in close, where he out-hustles and out-works opponents to cinch the rounds. While it is safe to say that the K-PLACE grappling ace is not the most physically gifted or powerful fighter, his heart and tenacity cannot be questioned. With grit and tenacity, Ogikubo`s relentless workmanlike approach is hard for opponents to shake off as he smothers and sticks to them like glue. The 2014 Neo Blood Tournament Super-Flyweight Winner has faced the absolute best in the division but found a title shot frustratingly just out of reach. A signature win over Miki would put the 29-year-old firmly on track to King of Pancrase glory.

5 – Bantamweight – 3R/5M

Fighting out of Shimura Dojo in Nagoyao, Takeshi “Agar” Kasugai is a formidable grappler with double digit submission finishes. Coming in a 4th in the rankings, Kasugai sucks opponents in, slams them down and submits them with apparent ease. While it is no secret that “Agar” wants to get the fight to the canvas as soon as possible, many of the divisions best have failed to stop him and been forced to tap out. In his last bout Kasugai went the distance with Alan Yoshihiro Yamaniha but ended up on the wrong end of the score cards. A win could set up another showdown with the current top contender and a path to the title.
Toshinori “Tsune” Tsunemura transitioned from Deep to Pancrase and promptly rattled off 4 straight wins. The Reversal Gym Shinjuku Me-We representative has fallen on hard times as of late and looks to bounce back from back to back losses. A solid all-rounder “Tsune” has an uphill battle ahead of him and will need to be at his very best to ward off Kasugai. With his number 9 spot possibly in jeapoardy and a chance to rocket up the rankings with a win, “Tsune” will be well prepared to pull off the upset.

4 – Featherweight – 3R/5M

While Krazy Bee`s Issei Tamura carved a name for himself as a solid wrestler he has become feared for the ferrocious right hand that starched Katsushi Sugiyama and shocked Yoshinori Horie. With little set up Tamura walks opponents down and then puts them down with clubbing shots. The former King of Pancrase currently sits at number 7 in the rankings and will be hungry to dispose of his foe and get one more step closer to title contention.

On an impressive 5 fight win streak, Yuki Takahashi is a dynamic submission hunter. Excellent in the scrambles Sakaguchi Dojo grappling expert has a lot of faith in his guard game and is very comfortable fighting off his back. Of his last 5 victories 3 have come by triangle choke in the first round. A victory over Tamura would be huge for the career of the 32-year-old and surely propel him into the top 10.

3 – Strawweight – 3R/5M

In a competitive match up between the 6th and 7th ranked Strawweights, K-PLACE fighter Yuta Miyazawa goes head to head with Gutsman`s Hiroaki Ijima. At 39 years old Ijima brings a lot of experience to the table, fighting at the very highest level in one of the deepest divisions in Pancrase he is 3-3 since dropping to 115lbs. Miyazawa is a young gun by comparison, sporting an impressive record he has not faced the level of competition as his opponent and will be confident in his abilities come fight night. As both fighters are coming off losses this is really a “must win” match to secure position among the divisions elite.

2 – Strawweight – 3R/5M

After a rocky start to his career, Tatsuki Ozaki is going strong, stringing together 6 consecutive victories along with the 2019 Neo Blood Strawweight Tournament. The Cobra Kai MMA Dojo earned a place in the top 10 and will look to improve on his number 9 position by taking out 8th ranked Teppei Maeyama. Maeyama has proven himself a very capable and proficient fighter, however, at the highest levels he has faltered. This match should bring out the best of both fighters as they compete to break through to the next level.

1 – Lightweight – 3R/5M

The opening bout of the main card should be fireworks as Kosuke Kindaichi squares off against Tatsuya Tomozane in the Decagon. The talented Lightweights have both taken a hiatus in the past before both coming back in 2018 to each rack up 4 straight wins. K-PLACE Dojo`s Kindaichi has not lost in his last 5 bouts, for Zero Fighter Club warrior Tomozane the streak extends to 7. Both fighters are capable finishers, with the submission edge going to Tomozane and striking in favor of Kindaichi. This must watch bout is the perfect lead in to the main card!

About the Author

Peter Leghorn
Writer and photographer sharing my passion for Martial Arts.

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