Pancrase 319 Review

Koshi “Luxor” Matsumoto defeated Hiroto Uesako (Dec 29-28, 28-28, 29-28)

The champion vs champion main event promised something special and without doubt delivered as Koshi Matsumoto and Hiroto Uesako went back and forth in an enthralling display of skill, endurance and heart. Uesako quite literally kicked off the 1st round as he flew across the cage leg extended. The Shooto champ was well prepared but was caught by the follow up right hand. The opening exchange set the tone as Matsumoto struggled to find his timing. Unorthodox timing, fearless rushes and heavy firepower,the gutsy ex Deep champion covered distance quick and was getting through. Matsumoto showed signs of damage as blood streamed from his nose but was undeterred. The Shooto champion found success targeting the body before zeroing in on the head. The back and forth round went to Uesako 3-0.

In the 2nd round Matsumoto continued to adjust and a real battle of wills ensued. Uesako continued his game, leaping and running forward with well timed big overhand blows. Matsumoto got a read and found his rhythm, moving his head just enough to avoid the shots. Ducking very low, Matsumoto found a home with strikes to the body. From there his hands darted up top, catching Uesako unaware. A solid jab backed up by a strong straight hand, “Luxor” was creating angles and staying at his range. This time damage was accumulating on the Team Cloud/Wajutsu Keishukai Hearts fighter and the round belonged to “Luxor”, evening the score.

By the 3rd round Matsumoto was leading the dance. Having firmly calculated and adjusted the cerebral fighter was catching the former Deep champ before, during, and after exchanges. Uesako would not back down though and, still dangerous, sprinted across the cage to land big right. The volume and accuracy was wearing on Uesako as his rival was slowly taking over.The M.Platic fighter strategically pressed Uesako to the cage looking for a high crotch takedown. With 20 seconds left Uesako split and from that point on both fighters planted their feet and concluded the match with a furious exchange.

Traditionally a slow starter, Matsumoto adapted throughout the match, earning a hard fought victory over a fearsome heavy hitter. With Matsumoto now on the Pancrase roster the Lightweight division has a new contender!


Takeshi Kasugai defeated Toshinori “Tsune” Tsunemura (Dec, Split, 29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

The co-main event was a tense affair, both fighters understood the significance of a win and the ramifications of slipping up. Takeshi Kasugai used fantastic footwork to evade Tsune’s long 1-2s while landing kick after kick to the legs. Catching the inside thigh of the southpaw, Kasugai also short stepped forward with rear leg, creating an angle to kick the outside thigh. Tsunemura attempted to counter with hands and, while generally falling short, managed to slip a few in.

Round 2 got underway and “Tsune” changed tactics. With a well timed shot he drove through Kasugai, putting him down and pressing him against the cage. The Shimura Dojo representative kept his head high however, and shoving his foes head down halted any progression. Unwavering, “Tsune” would not leg go his grip around the body and persisted in his attempts to attain position. His defense on point, Kasugai peppered his opponents head with short strikes. As the round neared an end Tsune mustered a double leg takedown only to be reversed, Kasugai was lightning quick to take the back and secure a deep rear naked choke just as time expired.

Coming into the 3rd round “Tsune” let loose with flurries against the cage. Calm and, with his guard high, Kasugai avoided absorbing damage. Switching gears, and levels, the Reversal Gym Shinjuku Me-We fighter hit a textbook double leg and finally secured top position. Kasugai used an effective guard but Tsunemura was in control and landing blows. As Kasugai worked to his feet his opponent rattled off strikes against the fence bringing the round to a close.

The fight went down to the wire, 2 judges prioritized Kasugai’s activity and strikes against the fence over Tsune’s takedowns and positional control. The Shimura Dojo fighter took the fight by split decision but was critical of his performance, proclaiming it was not the kind of fight deserving of a co-main event.


Akira “Akira” Okada defeated Issei Tamura (KO, Punch, 0:42, rnd 2)

In the battle of powerhouses Issei Tamura and Akira Okada both entered the match with similar, explosive, skill sets. As the bell rung it was Tamura who struck first, from a karate stance he swung every punch with fight ending intentions. Blasted by a right hand Akira slumped against the fence, backpedaling from the follow up 1-2s. Weathering the storm Akira reverted to his wrestling. Latching on to a leg from a kick, Akira capitalized to take the Krazy Bee wrester down. Tamura muscled back to his feet but Akira’s hands were already locked to flatten him down again. The wrestling exchanges continued until Tamura stood, pushed his opponents head into the cage, and forced him to pull guard.
After a much needed respite, the Musashi Murayama Clinic/&MOSH turned the tide in round 2. Tamura came out guns blazing with a low kick and 1-2 combination prompting a response from “Akira”. Not backing down a left then right rocked Tamura, putting him on wobbly legs. Akira starched his foe with a thunderous counter right, sending Tamura to the canvas. Following his loss to champion Isao Kobayashi “Akira” gets his career back on track with a sensational KO 42 seconds into the round.


Tokitaka Nakanishi defeated Hiroshige”Hanzo” Tanaka (Dec, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

A grueling war of attrition defined Hiroshige”Hanzo Tanaka’s match with Tokitaka Nakanishi. After an exchange of kicks Nakanishi searched for the takedown against the fence and both fighters jockeyed for position. A remarkable Suloev stretch attempt from the Ishitsuna gym fighter tested Tanaka’s flexibility but the Fun’s gym fighter escaped and reversed. The 2nd round saw Nakanishi duck strikes, secure underhooks and work to the back. He threatened with a rear naked choke for the majority of the round before Tanaka reversed and took top position. A jump kick opening to the 3rd for Nakanishi got him to the clinch where he once again secured hooks on Tanaka and rode the position. “Hanzo” scored a late reversal but it was too little too late for the veteran. Nakanishi edged every round on the judges scorecard with a strategic performance.

Ryo Asami defeated Masaya “J-Taro” Takita (Dec, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

The eccentric Takita and “The Outsider” veteran Asami both showcased their dynamic grappling styles in an entertaining bout of submission attempts and reversals. Takita had the edge early, scoring the 1st take down he fended off a guillotine before maneuvering to take the back. With Asami turtled up “J-Taro” figure of foured an arm and stretched the Rings fighter out, isolating the other arm for submission attempts. It was an technique the Wajutsu Keishukai / Kingcraft grappler would try again in the 2nd round but to no avail, Asami was schooled on the ground himself. Asami looked for a guillotine and triangle choke and turned the heat up as the fight progressed. With superior positional control the heavier Rings rode back position and was relentless with ground and pound as “J-Taro” started to fade. The dominant 3rd round ensured the win for Asami.

Masahide Hiraoka defeated Sho Sekihara (TKO, Cut, 1:07, rnd 1)

Krazy Bee gyms Hiraoka caught Sekihara coming in with a with a short combination that opened a cut over the right eye. The Reversal Tokyo Standout fighter was visibly upset as the anti-climatic end came just 1:07 into the round.

Yutaka Kobayashi defeated Yuki Kondo (Dec 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Kobayashi methodically bull rushed Kondo with a barrage of punches to set up the clinch. Against the fence the powerful fighter worked Kondo over, landing knees, elbows and shoulder blows. Dropping levels Kobayashi seized single legs to dump the veteran to the canvas. Kondo locked Kimura grips and avoided giving up his back, squaring up to face his adversary. While separated both southpaws let the strikes go, Kondo picking his shots, right hand working well and looking for the high kick. Kobayashi landed his own 1-2s and was the busier fighter. Kondo came on strong showing his heart in the last round as he gave all he had. In the end it was not enough as Kobayashi claimed victory and a big scalp over a Pancrase legend.

Kondo’s accomplishments are well documented and in the history books. His legendary status already written. At 45 years old he demonstrated that, in his 107th fight, with his fighting spirit he can still be competitive. If history has taught us anything, the renowned warrior will be back.

Yuta Miyazawa defeated Hiroaki Ijima (TKO, Ground and Pound, 0:47, rnd 2)

Versatile all-rounder Ijima went for the legs early as he fished for a submission of his back. Miyazaya held out, prompting a return to the feet where he blasted power punches and thudding low kicks. Fighting back up following a well timed double leg, Ijima held his ground and turned up the intensity. An effective jab and 1-2 combination secured the 1st round on 2 of the 3 scorecards for the Gutsman fighter. It turned out scorecards would not be needed. A monstrous right hand from Miyazawa stiffened Ijima’s legs before an ensuing blitz put him down. Some ground and pound sealed Ijima’s fate as referee stepped in 0:47 into the round. Fighting out of K-Place gym, Miyazawa solidified his status as a real contender in the division.

Kodai “Jake” Murata defeated Shuichi “T800″Kanda (Dec, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Murata and Kanda fought for supremacy in a bout where grappling became the deciding factor. “Jake” racked up the longer control time, with a great back game, working in single and double hooks to stifle the Paraestra Hiroshima’s offense. “T800” had his moments with his own takedown, some big knees against the cage and more effective striking. By the 3rd round Kanda was behind and swinging for the fences on a fading opponent, a big left hand finding its mark. The Paraestra TB/Fighting Nexus representative held strong and found to his comfort zone in the clinch and on the mat. Brushing off a “T800” arm lock attempt Murata finished on top earning the ZST champion a victory in a close match.

Yasuhiro Kawamura defeated Ryuki Kaneda (Triangle Choke, 1:52, rnd 1)

Kickboxer Ryuki Kaneda’s takedown of Yasuhiro Kawamura proved to be his undoing. The slick Wajutsu Keishukai AKZA fighter fed an arm through the legs and locked a tight triangle. From that point the writing was on the wall for Kaneda who struggled but succumbed at 1:52 of round 1.

Preliminary Bouts

Bantamweight Neo Blood Tournament Semi-Final
Rui Imura defeated Shinsuke “MG” Matsubara (TKO, Armbar, 3:33. rnd 1)

Imura locked in a tight armbar, going “belly down” for the finish, Matsubara’s limb bent to an scary angle. Sporting good defense (and hyper flexibility) “MG” went out of the frying pan and into the fire as his arm was wrenched once again. Prioritizing fighter safety and longevity the ref stepped in to call the bout giving Imura the win via TKO.

Flyweight Neo Blood Tournament Semi-Final
Kenji Yamanaka defeated Kohei Maeda (dec, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

The bout between Yamanaka and Maeda was contested mostly against the cage as neither fighter could find the opening needed to complete the takedown. Yamanaka stood out for the judges, the busier fighter did damage on the feet and moves on to face Date in the finals.

2020 Flyweight Neo Blood Tournament Semi-Final
Satoru”Tiger” Date defeated Soichiro Umekawa (KO, spinning back fist, 3:20, rnd 2)

Date made a huge impact in his match with Umekawa. The opening round saw Umekawa content to trade kick for kick with the rangy kicking specialist. Fighting at Date’s range proved costly though. In the 2nd round a brutal spinning back fist from Date echoed around the arena. Umekawa went out cold at 3:20 of the round and needed to be stretchered out by the medical team.

Taiga Iwasaki defeated Makoto Kawawa (Rear Naked Choke, 1:47, rnd 1)

Iwasaki physically out matched a game Kawawa. Delivering some brutal ground he took the back and finally wrapping things up with a Rear Naked Choke at 1:47 in the 1st.

Kunta Hashimoto defeated Kiyoshiro Akasaki (Rear Naked Choke, 2:26, rnd 1)

Hashimoto was all business inside the cage Akasaki, using heavy hands to set up a strong throws. Once the match hit the ground from a suffocating body triangle, Hashimoto worked on a Rear Naked Choke. Akasaki endured as long as possible before giving in at 2:26 of round 1.

Keito Yamakita defeated Tomoki Otsuka (dec 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Fans were treated to an mesmerizing display of sweeps, reversals and submissions attempts from Yamakita and Otsuka. Both went all out for a finish. While Yamakita was generally a step ahead Otsuka maintained tight defense and the exciting bout went to the judges.

Karen Date defeated Fumika Aoki (Rear Naked Choke, 4:22, rnd 1)

Date put her improved grappling game on display against the cage and on the mat. She submitted a game Aoki with a Rear Naked Choke at 4:22 of the 1st round.

About the Author

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

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