Strawweight King of Pancrase Mitsuhisa Sunabe

Pancrase 295: Strawweight King of Pancrase Mitsuhisa Sunabe Defends His Crown with a Slam KO

Tokyo, Japan – Defending strawweight King of Pancrase Mitsuhisa Sunabe (29-7-4) has rarely been at a loss for answers during his seven year, 15 fight unbeaten streak. It turns out that 34 year old challenger Shinya Murofushi (13-6-1) had the skills to pose a few ponderous puzzles for the 38 year old champ, as he used unpredictable movement and timing to find openings for his well-integrated striking/grappling combos. After losing round one on the scorecards, Sunabe started to get the hang of Murofushi’s rhythm and cracked him with a staggering left hand that served as the best punch of the fight. The action intensified to a fever pitch when Murofushi snatched a guillotine choke, but Sunabe responded with a Gerald Harris-style slam that knocked the challenger out cold on impact! Awesome finish for the strawweight King Mitsuhisa Sunabe, who picked up the round 2 KO win to cap a finish-filled Pancrase 295 event in style!

Fight 13 – Featherweight: After a back-and-forth first few minutes that was briefly halted by a head butt, 25 year old Yokohama native Koyomi Matsushima (9-3) forced Isao Kobayashi (23-5-4) down against the cage but made the baffling decision to smash him in the eye with an illegal grounded knee to the eye socket. One broken orbital later, this fight was waved off, awarding Isao Kobayashi the win by round 1 disqualification. Quite a less than ideal, and painful, way to win an interim King of Pancrase title.

Fight 12 – Lightweight: Cartoonishly endearing JMMA legend Satoru Kitaoka (41-16-9) reminded skeptical fans that he’s not quite done yet, as he took Ukraine’s Taras Sapa (13-4) to the ground immediately and drowned him in the deep end within 5 minutes. The 38 year old Kitaoka spent the round methodically advancing position before he sold out for a heel hook with seconds to go. Sapa defended by smashing Kitaoka in the face, but that didn’t disrupt the veteran’s nasty torque and Sapa had to tap out in pain just before the round 1 bell. Classic work from Kitaoka, who picked up his 20th submission victory as a pro with the same move that he used to tap Carlos Condit over 12 years ago.

Fight 11 – Featherweight: This was a 15 minute grapplefest that saw 23 year old Juntaro Ushiku (12-6-1) start strong before holding on as Yojiro Uchimura (15-12-3) turned the tables and battered him with ground strikes in round 3. Ushiku’s early work proved to be just enough as he emerged with a split decision win over the 13 year vet.

Fight 10 – Mens Strawweight: What a slick finish from Tatsuya So (16-16-4), who pulled off a crucifix neck crank with full stocks to tap out Suguru Hayasaka (16-12-5) two minutes into their male 115 pound bout. Shout out to @CatchWrestling for clarification on the finish!

Fight 9 – Lightweight: Pancrase has no qualms about matching green rookies with very experienced tests early in their career. That’s just fine with Masayuri Kikuiri (4-0), who had no qualms putting away a fourth straight veteran opponent when he KO’d Shigeaki Kusayanagi (10-9-6) with a widowmaker of a left hook in round 3. Whereas many fighters ease into their pro career with matchups against inexperienced or debuting opposition, Kikuiri has triumphed over adversaries with a combined record of 32 wins, 45 losses, and 12 draws on fight night.

Fight 8 – Lightweight: Promotional lifer Takashi Matsuoka (11-9-1) scored his eighth KO in 17 bouts under the Pancrase umbrella, this time at the expense of Makoto Fukaya (4-2). Fukaya started strong with a knockdown via left hand. But Matsuoka stayed composed, got the fight to the mat, and forced his opponent to wilt under the stress of ground strikes en route to a round 2 TKO.

Fight 7 – Flyweight: Tatsuya Watanabe (15-11-2) tried to smash his way out of a first round triangle choke from 22 year old Costa Rican Andre Morera (5-1) but ended up stalemated on top in the submission hold. The ref erroneously thought that Watanabe was sleeping and leaped in to stop the fight – Morera was awarded the submission win even though the Japanese fighter was in no danger. Oops …

Fight 6 – Featherweight: Eleven year veteran Toshihiro Taguchi (10-12) used crafty movement to fluster Yasutaka Kato (1-2), and used a pair of right hands to smash him to the mat for the round 1 TKO stoppage. Slick stuff from Taguchi to snap his recent three fight losing streak.

Fight 5 – Featherweight: No frills to this one as Takuya Saito (4-3) grabbed the back and sunk in the mata leon (RNC) to finish off debuting Taroh Kotobuki (0-1) in round 1:

Fight 4 – Featherweight: Check out how Darani Date (5-3) expertly reels Hanbyo Oniyama (4-2) in before unleashing the left head kick from hell for a round 2 KO:

Fight 3 – Bantamweight: Someone forget to give Yosuke Nomura (1-0) and Yuma Kitamura (4-1) the memo, as they participated in the only bout of the seven Pancrase 295 prelims that went the full three rounds. Nomura walked away with the unanimous decision thanks to ground control and GNP.

Fight 2 – Bantamweight: Straightforward stuff here, as Yuichi Ohashi (3-5) took down Yusei Tashiro (0-3) and locked in an armbar for the round 1 sub.

Fight 1 – Flyweight: Debuting Tatsuki Okano (0-1) landed some serious punches on the jaw of Kiyoshiro Akasaki (1-2) late in their fight, but found himself tapping to a round 3 mata leon (RNC) shortly thereafter as his opponent’s grappling advantage won out.

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