Pancrase has recently announced a title fight and the start of a four-man tournament for their May 30th event at the Studio Coast in Tokyo, Japan. In the main event of the card, ISAO Kobayashi will attempt to defend his Featherweight King of Pancrase Championship against Taichi Nakajima.
The title fight will headline the promotion’s first numbered event in 2021.
Kobayashi has been in Pancrase’s title picture since 2018 now. After earning an interim belt in 2018, he was promoted up to main champion the next year with a win against Kyle Aguon.
Kobayashi last fought in July, defeating Akira Okada in a non-championship bout at Pancrase 316.
Nakajima is being given a title shot after picking up two wins in 2020. He defeated former UFC fighter Yoshinori Horie in his last fight, picking up a split decision win.
Four-Man Tournament For Interim Belt Scheduled
Pancrase has set up a four-man flyweight tournament for May which will start the process of finding a new interim champion. The previous interim champion, Shohei Masumizu, vacated his belt recently due to injury.
Per a press release by the promotion, current flyweight champ Senzo Ikeda has offered a title unification bout to whoever prevails in the tournament.
The winners in May are scheduled to compete in the final in August.
The first of two tournament bouts will see Toru Ogawa face Taiki Akiba. Ogawa returned to the win column last month, defeating Kenji Yamanaka on a “Road to ONE” card.
Akiba enters the fight after snapping a two-fight losing streak in his last bout. The 30-year-old last fought in November, where he defeated Tomohiro Adaniya on a collaborative card between DEEP Impact and Pancrase.
The second semi-final fight is between Masatatsu Ueda and Satoru Enomoto.
Ueda earned a split decision back in December over Kohei Sugiyama. The fight was his return to the cage after a year outside of the cage.
While Enomoto enters the tournament with a smaller record than the three other fighters in the tournament, he is the only competitor entering the bracket with more than one consecutive win. He has won his last five appearances in Pancrase, which date back to as far as 2018.
Pancrase 321 currently has seven bouts in total scheduled. The lineup also includes the return of MMA veteran Yuki Kondo.
Bout 7: ISAO Kobayashi (26-5) vs. Taichi Nakajima (15-11-1) (Featherweight King of Pancrase Championship)
Bout 6: Toru Ogawa (13-4) vs. Taiki Akiba (11-9-1) (Flyweight Interim Championship Tournament Semi-Finals)
Bout 5: Masatatsu Ueda (12-5) vs. Satoru Enomoto (9-3) (Flyweight Interim Championship Tournament Semi-Finals)
Bout 4: Ryo Hatta (14-6) vs. Yuta Miyazawa (4-3) (Strawweight)
Bout 3: Yuki Kondo (61-37-9) vs. Yoshinori Suzuki (5-15-1) (Welterweight)
Bout 2: Masahide Hiraoka (6-5) vs. Rui Imura (4-0) (Bantamweight)
Bout 1: Emiko Raika (10-7-1) vs. Nori Date (3-4) (Flyweight)