Sunday 27th, Pancrase 318 – Beyond 317 Preview

After a Covid-19 positive forced the cancellation just 10 minutes before their last event, Pancrase 318- Beyond 317! manifests as a plethora of top level bouts. Pancrase has always maintained a strong reputation for fighter quality and quantity, allowing a fair bit of leeway when it comes to scheduling. Despite two bouts recently being scrapped due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the org has pulled off a remarkable 18 bout card. Pancrase 318 features 4 preliminary bouts, followed by 7 Neo Blood tournament matches before concluding with a 7 fight main card.

Against all odds, the esteemed Japanese MMA organization has come through once again with a stellar fight card. Their first audience-less show, Pancrase 318 steams free on their YouTube channel worldwide, Sunday the 27th from 14:45 JST. Remember to participate in the YouTube Super Chat function, where donations aid charities at the heart of the Covid-19 battle.

Main Event: Interim Lightweight King of Pancrase Championship – 5R/5M

The Lightweight King of Pancrase Interim Championship title match takes the main stage this Sunday. If ever there was a match up that promised fireworks on the feet, Genpei Hayashi vs Tatsuya “Yanbo” Saika would be a top contender. Two consummate strikers with conflicting styles, this match will have fans on the edge of their seats!

Fighting out of Wajutsu Keishukai Iggy Hands Gym, ranked top of the division, Genpei Hayashi has had a rocky path to the title. The brawler’s 10-8-1 record does not tell the whole story. Hayashi has fought many of Japans best at Light, Welter and Middleweight and suffered as a result. He has tasted adversity and defeat, adapted, rebounded and grown as a fighter. Back at Lightweight, Hayashi has chained together back to back victories and is firmly back on course for the title.

With an iron chin and hands of stone, Hayashi will be ready to trade with a fearsome opponent. “I definitely won’t be breaking from my usual style. My style is striking” asserts the fan favorite. Knowing his opponent is a fast starter, Hayashi believes his legendary durability and willpower can carry him to victory in the later rounds. “Saika is looking for the first round KO, but on the other hand I’ve got a strong chin. It could go either way, but if I can take punishment, I’ll get him in the end!” he proclaims.

Dobuita MMA Dojo standout Tatsuya “Yanbo” Saika has formidable striking prowess. A wrecking ball who has blasted a straight line through contenders, all 6 of Saika’s victories have come in the first round securing him number 2 spot in the rankings. A sniper on the feet with sharp, accurate and technical striking, Saika will come out the gates guns blazing hoping for another violent 1st round KO.

Facing an opponent known for his toughness, “Yanbo” understands that victory might not come so easy but believes Hayashi’s durability presents opportunities, “Hayashi has a very strong heart, and even if I catch him with a punch, it won’t scare him and he’ll keep coming. But, in that, I’ll be looking for my KO chance” Saika predicts. Whether it is in the first round or the last, the goal is the same, “I want to just show how destructive my punches can be – my KO punch!”

Co-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 knockout of Marcio Cesar 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 this highly anticipated contenders match.

Facing off against Nakajima and coming in a spot below him at number 5 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.

5 – Welterweight – 3R/5M

Masayuki Kikuiri fought back and forth slugfest with Yuta Nakamura last outing. In a war where both fighters were rocked, staggered and dropped, Kikuiri fought tooth and nail to pull out the TKO victory over a sturdy veteran. Fighting out of the aptly named Never Quit gym, the 5-1-1 fighter entered the rankings at 6th place and is poised to make a run for Welterweight gold.

Kenta Takagi is the epitome of a fighter who follows the “finish or be finished” mentality. In his 17 wins 15 have been by KO/TKO leaving only 2 decisions. His aggressive style has proven to be a double edged sword however, with 18 losses he is prone to being finished. On the heels of 2 submission losses the Reversal Gym Kawaguchi Redips knockout artist will be eager to get into a firefight with another heavy hitter.

4 – 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.

3 – Lightweight – 3R/5M

Kazuki Kasai was promoted to the main card slot of Pancrase 316 following a cancellation and rescheduling. The Mach Dojo representative seized the opportunity and brutally TKOd Shinichi Taira to improve his record to 4-1. Kasai will be confident he can silence doubters again as he takes on the more experienced Jiu-Jitsu brothers / ALIVE Ise all-rounder Michiteki Ogawa (9-6-1). Riding a 2 fight win streak and coming off a 1st round KO, Ogawa is skilled, versatile and well conditioned. If Kasai can pull out a victory he would firmly establish him as a contender. Ogawa will be determined to show his level and not be used as a stepping stone.

2 – Featherweight – 3R/5M

Shinmare “Mayo” Komori is coming off back to back losses for the first time in his career. The losses snapped a 4 fight win streak for the strong punching Grabaka fighter. Conversely, Yusaku Hayashi is having a resurgence, after dropping 4 consecutive bouts he capped a 3-fight-win streak with a TKO victory to take the PFC title.

1 – Strawweight – 3R/5M

Opening up the main card, Takafumi “Little” Ato and Atsushi “Mijikai” Nagai have been struggling to stay afloat in the deep waters of Pancrase’s Strawweight division. With both fighters on a 2 fight skid this will be a crucial match up neither can afford to lose.

Neo Blood Tournament Matches

Pancrase Neo Blood Tournament events are great yard sticks for determining future talent. The 2020 Tournaments brackets are beginning to reach a conclusion. With Lightweight and Middleweight finals, Strawweight and Bantamweight semifinals and three other 2nd round fights, tune in to find future prospects to keep an eye on.

1 – 2020 Strawweight Neo Blood Tournament Semi-Final – 3R/5M
Taiga Tanimura (Zendokai, 1-0)
Daiki Asahina (BRAVE Gym, 2-4-4)

2 – 2020 Flyweight Neo Blood Tournament 2nd Round – 3R/5M
Ryoichiro Kitagawa (Cobra Kai MMA Dojo, 1-0)
Aito Tanimura (P’s LAB Sapporo, 0-1)

3 – 2020 Bantamweight Neo Blood Tournament 2nd Round – 3R/5M
Rui Imura (NEXUSENSE, 1-0)
Suneo “Hayato” Tanaka (ASH, 1-1)

4 – 2020 Bantamweight Neo Blood Tournament Semi-Final – 3R/5M
Mutsuki Miyajima (KRAZY BEE, 2-0)
Shuhei “Syuga” Noyama (STYLE MMA Studio, 4-1)

5 – 2020 Featherweight Neo Blood Tournament 2nd Round – 3R/5M
Tatsuhiko Iwamoto (Shooto Gym Blows, 8-6-1)
Tatsuya Saito (ALLIANCE, 4-7-1)

6 – 2020 Lightweight Neo Blood Tournament Final – 3R/5M
Hirotaka Nakada (Wajutsu Keishukai HEARTS, 1-0)
Yu Karino (Tribe Tokyo MMA, 1-0)

7 – 2020 Middleweight Neo Blood Tournament Final – 3R/5M
Yuji Arai (GUTSMAN, 3-6)
Yudai Hirono (PANCRASEism Yokohama, 4-1)

Preliminary Matches

4 preliminary matches kick off the days action. Whether it is fighters debuting or experienced fighters looking to get back on track, all are hungry for victory and the opportunity to claw into the rankings and make it to the main card.

Preliminary Bout 4 – Middleweight – 3R/5M
Yura Naito (Reversal Gym Yokohama Grandslam, debut)
Yusei Muramato (Hybrid Wrestling Kagoshima, 0-2)

Preliminary Bout 3 – Featherweight – 3R/5M
Toshiomi Kazama (Wajutsu Keishukai HEARTS, 0-1)
Atsushi Ueda (Ugokai, 17-20-8)

Preliminary Bout 2 – Bantamweight – 3R/5M
Naohisa Kudo (Zendo Kai Koganei Dojo, 9-9-2)
Riki Kayukawa (Martial Arts Club Nakatsugawa, 2-0; Pancrase debut)

Preliminary Bout 1 – Flyweight – 3R/5M
Yusei Kawakita (Tribe Tokyo MMA, 1-1)
Soma Hashigami (ZOOMER, 2-1)



About the Author

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

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)