Pancrase 319 Preview

Japanese MMA trailblazers Pancrase are back this Sunday, the 25th, at regular venue Shin Kiba Studio Coast. Pancrase 319 will be a live audience event featuring many fighters and bouts displaced from the ill-fated Pancrase 317. The main event highlights matchmaking at its finest as Champion collides with Champion in a match with the right ingredients for a classic. A crucially significant co-main event plus 8 more matches showcasing former Champions, top rankers, veterans and hot prospects round out the main card. Additionally, there will be 7 prelim fights, including the semi-finals of the 2020 Neo Blood Tournaments in the Flyweight and Bantamweight brackets.

PPV is available through TIGET LIVE (within Japan only, no international broadcast) with prelims commencing from 14:30 JST

Main Event: Lightweight – 3R/5M
Hiroto Uesako (Team Cloud/Wajutsu Keishukai Hearts, 18-9) vs Koshi Matsumoto (M PLATIC, 20-9-2)

Splitting his time between Team Cloud and Wajutsu Keishuke Hearts, former DEEP Featherweight Champion, Hiroto Uesako is well schooled in all facets of MMA. Despite his wrestling background, striking is Uesako`s calling card and he is a force to be reckoned with. Versatile, methodical and brutal, Uesako marches forward and unloads a full arsenal of blows to his opponents until they drop. Coming off 2 back to back KO losses the former DEEP Champion is sure to be fired up and hungry for a finish.

Dominant as Shooto Lightweight champion, Koshi “Luxor” Matsumoto makes a return to Pancrase after a 9 year hiatus with his sights set firmly on the belt. Last outing, Matsumoto faced reigning Lightweight King of Pancrase, Takasuke Kume in a Pancrase vs Shooto superfight under the One Championship banner. While ultimately losing a competitive decision, the cerebral Shooto Champion caused a few scares for Kume, who had to dig deep and fight tooth and nail to claw out a 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 equally proficient at putting opponents away.

Co-Main Event: Bantamweight – 3R/5M
Takeshi Kasugai (Shimura Dojo, 25-7-1) vs Toshinori “Tsune” Tsunemura (Reversal Gym Shinjuku Me-We, 14-10-4)

With double digit submission finishes Takeshi “Agar” Kasugai boasts formidable grappling prowess. Fighting out of Shimura Dojo, the Nagoya native will be eager to cement his number 4 spot in the rankings with an emphatic finish. “Agar” drags opponents in, hoists them up, slams them to the canvas then caps it all off with a slick submission. His plan is not a secret yet many of the divisions best have failed to stop Kasugai. In his last bout the Shimura Dojo grappler ended up on the wrong end of the score cards in a competitive bout with top ranked Alan Yoshihiro Yamaniha. For a chance at redemption, Kasugai has to win and will be all business as the cage door closes.

Transitioning from Deep to Pancrase, Toshinori “Tsune” Tsunemura promptly rattled off 4 straight wins to rocket up the rankings. The Reversal Gym Shinjuku Me-We representative has fallen on hard times as of late however, suffering a 3 fight slide this match takes on crucial importance. A solid all-rounder “Tsune” has an uphill battle ahead of him and will look to make the best of the opportunity to topple Kasugai. With his number 9 spot possibly in jeopardy and a chance to climb back up the rankings, “Tsune” will be well prepared to pull off the upset.

Bout 8. Featherweight – 3R5M
Issei Tamura (Krazy Bee, 13-9) vs Akira Okada (Musashi Murayama Clinic / &MOSH, 13-9-3)

While Issei Tamura carved a name for himself as a solid wrestler, he has become feared for the ferocious right hand that shocked Yoshinori Horie and starched Katsushi Sugiyama. With little set up the Krazy Bee representative walks opponents down before putting them down with well timed clubbing blows. The former King of Pancrase currently sits at number 7 in the rankings. If he hopes to vie for a title again he will be eager to make a statement by taking out his durable opponent.

In July Akira Okada dropped down a weight class to clash with reigning Featherweight King Isao Kobayashi. “Akira” was outmatched by the champion but displayed the grit and determination he is known for, battling until the final bell. A physically intimidating wrestler with dynamite in his hands, Okada is in many ways a mirror of Tamura, setting the stage for an explosive encounter. Fighting out of Musashi Murayama Clinic / &MOSH, Okada is winless in his last 4 outings and must secure victory if he hopes to make a run in the stacked Featherweight division. Expect Okada to be firing on all cylinders as he goes to war and tries to right the ship.

Bout 7. Featherweight – 3R/5M
Hiroshige “Hanzo” Tanaka (FUN’S, 13-7) vs Tokitaka Nakanishi (Ishitsuna MMA, 4-2)

Shooto 2019 Featherweight Tournament Champion Tokitaka Nakanishi looks for his 4th successive victory following an impressive 1st round submission of the dangerous Shinmare Komori. Entering the cage following a decision win over Suguru Nii, 8th ranked Hiroshige “Hanzo” Tanaka has tested himself against a “who`s who” of the division, tasting both victory and defeat. With his experience and firepower “Hanzo” will not be intimidated by the resume and grappling prowess of Nakanishi when the bell rings.

Bout 6. Featherweight – 3R/5M
Masaya “J-Taro” Takita (Wajutsu Keishukai / KINGCRAFT, 16-20-4) vs. Ryo Asami (RINGS, debut)

Ryo Asami successfully used his blend of Judo and Sambo to topple the vicious strikers prominent in the Rings Outsider organization, securing the Lightweight belt in the process. Still going strong at 47 years old, veteran grappler Masaya”J-Taro” Takita welcomes Asami to Pancrase in what promises to be an entertaining showdown on the mat.

Bout 5. Bantamweight – 3R/5M
Masahide Hiraoka (Krazy Bee, 6-5) vs. Sho Sekihara (Reversal Tokyo Standout, 3-1)

Sho Sekihara and Masahide Hiraoka both saw their 3 fight consecutive victories come to a sudden halt in their last outings. After winning the 2019 Neo Blood Bantamweight Tournament Winner Hiraoka stumbled and needs to pick himself back up to retain his 12th place ranking. For Sekihara an excellent opportunity is in front of him to claw his way into the rankings in just his 5th professional appearance.

Bout 4. Welterweight – 3R/5M
Yuki Kondo (Pancrasism Yokohama, 61-36-9) vs. Yutaka Kobayashi (Free, 11-22-4)

Although Yuki Kondo`s illustrious career may be winding down his desire to fight has never waned. Moving up in weight class, Yutaka Kobayashi receives the honor of being the 107th opponent for the Pancrase legend. A deceptive record, Kobayashi is a competent and capable opponent and should provide a suitable challenge for the veteran warrior.

Bout 3. Strawweight – 3R/5M
Yuta Miyazawa (K-PLACE, 3-3) vs. Hiroaki Iijima (Gutsman, 12-13-3)

The competitive Strawweight division sees a pivotal match between numbers 6 and 7 in the rankings. Hiroaki Iijima, who has taken on the divisions elite, faces a 3 fight skid and drop in ranking and needs to rebound. Coming in 1 spot higher in the rankings, Yuta Miyazawa would like to get back to his winning ways after a disappointing loss last outing snapped his 3 fight run of victories.

Bout 2. Bantamweight – 3R/5M
Shuichi “T800” Kanda (Paraestra Hiroshima, 10-9-1) vs. Kodai “Jake” Murata (Paraestra TB/Fighting NEXUS, 10-6-1)

After a promising start in Pancrase, 2015 Neo Blood Bantamweight Tournament Winner Shuichi Kanda has faltered at the higher levels of the ruthless Bantamweight division. “T800” has a difficult hurdle to pass in the persistent and relentless Kodai Murata. Currently the ZST Bantamweight Champion, “Jake” will be out for vengeance, having tasted defeat at the hands of Kanda 5 years ago.

Bout 1. Bantamweight – 3R5M
Yasuhiro Kawamura (Wajutsu Keishukai AKZA, 11-6-1) vs. Ryuki Kaneda (Free, 3-0)

Kicking off the main card is a bout that features 2 fighters with polar opposite styles. Ryuki Kaneda has Kickboxed at the highest of levels, the 2017 Legends China Tournament Winner has had success in Rise and Rizin among others. Welcoming the striker to Pancrase is experienced MMA fighter and submission hunter Yasuhiro Kawamura. A true contrast in styles that will almost certainly produce a decisive winner!

Preliminary Bouts

Bout 7. Bantamweight Neo Blood Tournament Semi-Final – 3R/5M
Shinsuke “MG” Matsubara (Paraestra Higashi Osaka, 5-2) vs. Rui Imura (NEXUSENSE, 2-0)

Bout 6. 2020 Flyweight Neo Blood Tournament Semi-Final – 3R/5M
Kenji Yamanaka (Freedom@Oz, 9-8-1) vs. Kohei Maeda (GRABAKA, 3-1)

Bout 5. 2020 Flyweight Neo Blood Tournament Semi-Final – 3R/5M
Satoru “Tiger” Date (Team DATE, 8-12-7) vs. Soichiro Umekawa (Cobra Kai MMA Dojo, 2-2)

Bout 4. Middleweight – 3R/5M
Taiga Iwasaki (Daido Juku / Paraestra Tokyo, 1-0) vs Makoto Kawawa (Zendokai Shinjuku, 5-16-3)

Bout 3. Flyweight – 3R/5M
Kiyoshiro Akasaki (Katori Dojo, 4-4) vs Kunta Hashimoto (K-PLACE, 4-1)

Bout 2. Strawweight – 3R5M
Keito Yamashita (Reversal Gym Shinjuku Me,We, 1-0 vs Tomoki Otsuka (CAVE, debut)

Bout 1. Strawweight – 3R/5M
Karen Date (Team DATE, 1-0) vs Fumika Aoki (Reversal Yokohama Ground Slam, debut)

About the Author

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

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