Featherweight madness abounds as Pancrase kicks off its 2015 with the 264th event hosting Featherweight King Takumi Nakayama defending his title against Nam Phan.
Takumi makes his third title defense on top of a 4-year run that has only seen him lose once across three promotions- ironically to newly-signed Will Chope. Takumi is a miracle of sorts; at 41, he’s still one of the toughest and most active fighters and his late-career drop to featherweight has been a boon for him. Remarkably, ten years ago his won the KOTC Lightweight Championship. For an even more jaw-dropping bit of history, Takumi choked out Tatsuya Kawajiri in their co-pro-debut way back in 2000.
Enter Nam Phan, a massive veteran of King of the Cage, Strikeforce, Bellator, Sengoku, and a career in the UFC that spanned 5 years. After losing to Takeya Mizugaki and then Vaughan Lee in Japan, Phan heard the calling to “come home” to Asia and signed with Pancrase. He retransformed back into his old self by KOing Kenichi Ito at GrandSlam, and halted Yuki Baba’s ascension with a first round choke.
These two massive MMA veterans have pride, reputation, and a title on the line when they finally meet. While it could start as a very cautious and technical affair, they should end up in a scrap worthy of note.
Widely-recognizable Will Chope will make his first fight in Pancrase against Satoshi Inaba. Chope has racked up thirty fights in the span of just 4 years, earning the URCC Championship and being signed to the UFC in the process. Billing himself as the world’s tallest featherweight is not his only accomplishment; Chope has notched 21 wins with an amazing 18 finishes, and one of those was over King Takumi in PXC.
Across the cage will be Inaba, a tough striker who has been almost as active inside Japan as Chope has been out of it. After jumping over from Shooto, Inaba made a run at the 2013 Neo-Blood tournament, only falling short in the finals against highly-regarded prospect Hulk Oshiro. He surmounted the loss with three back to back wins and set his eyes firmly on the throne of Takumi.
Chope is slobbering to get another shot at Takumi as well. Both fighters want a championship shot so bad that all of Pancrase can taste it. It’s a good match up and bound to bring sparks. Inaba won’t be able to work his way to a decision in this one.
Also on the card, current number 2 featherweight Guy Delumeau faces seventh-ranked Akitoshi Tamura. Delumeau experienced a tough 2012 but came back to choke out Yojiro Uchimura and handed Hulk his only loss to date. He alternated with a 1-1 tally in 2014. Now in 2015 he will attempt to keep his footing in the rankings to earn the next title shot.
Tamura is a dude who, back in the day, consecutively beat Wiki Nishiura, Lion Takeshi, and Rumina Sato. His grittiness earned him stints in WEC and Sengoku, before coming home to Shooto where he failed to get judges to see his way against Yuji Hoshino and Yusuke Yachi.
Delumeau versus Tamura needs a finish to claim a title race pole position to the KOP crown.
Also on the card, former bantamweight contender Yo Saito takes on 2014 Neo-Blood tournament winner Shohei Masumizu. The first round for a shot at the Super Flyweight title takes place with two matches. Kizaemon Saiga takes his second MMA match against Ryo Takagi. Stalwart fighters Kei Yamamiya and Shunichi Shimizu also appear on the bill.
February 1, 2015
#14 – Featherweight King of Pancrase
Takumi Nakayama タクミ（パラエストラ大阪／王者）※3度目の防衛戦
Nam Phan ナム・ファン（米国／パラエストラ八王子／1位）
#13 – Featherweight
Satoshi Inaba 稲葉 聡（秋本道場jungle junction／9位）
Will Chope ウィル“ザ・キル”チョープ 米国／ジャガンナート・ファイトクラブ）
#12 – Lightweight
Guy Delumeau ガイ・デルモ（米国／GUTSMAN／2位）
Akitoshi Tamura 田村彰敏（総合格闘技津田沼道場／7位）
#11 – Bantamweight
Kizaemon Saiga 才賀紀左衛門（Me,We）
#10 – Light Flyweight King of Pancrase Tournament 1st Round
Hiroyuki Abe 阿部博之（ドラゴンテイル／フライ級（54.4kg）3位）
Takuya Eizumi 江泉卓哉（総合格闘技道場 武門會）
#9 – Light Flyweight King of Pancrase Tournament 1st Round
Masakazu Utsugi 宇都木正和（パラエストラ古河／1位）
Yoshihiro Matsunaga 松永義弘（禅道会新宿道場／フライ級（54.4kg）4位）
#8 – Flyweight
Yusei Shimokawa 下川雄生（ドラゴンテイルジム／5位）
Kent Kambe 神部建斗（ALLIANCE／7位、ネオブラッドトーナメント2014同級優勝）
#7 – Bantamweight
Yo Saito 齊藤 曜（トイカツ道場／4位）
Shohei Masumizu コンボイ升水（マルワジム横浜／7位、ネオブラッドトーナメント2014同級優勝）
#6 – Bantamweight
Naoki Tajima なおKING（CORE／6位）
Nobuki Fujii 藤井伸樹（ALLIANCE）
#5 – Lightweight
Hiroki Nagaoka 長岡弘樹（総合格闘技道場DOBUITA／8位）
Juntaro Ami 網潤太郎（和術慧舟會AKZA）
#4 – Middleweight
Ikkei Nagamura 一慶（フリー／1位）
Keiichiro Yamamiya KEI山宮（GRABAKA）
#3 – Super Flyweight
Shunichi Shimizu 清水俊一（宇留野道場/ハイブリッドファイター）
Toshihiro Komiya 小宮稔大（パラエストラ八王子）
#2 – Featherweight
Yuta Sato ユータ＆ロック (秋本道場jungle junction／修斗ライト級（65kg）環太平洋9位）
Yuki Nakahara 中原由貴 (マッハ道場)
#1 – Super Flyweight
#4 – Welterweight
Shotaro Yabe マンモス谷部（NATURAL 9）
Makoto Kawawa 川和 真（禅道会 新宿道場）
#3 – Lightweight
Genpei Hayashi 林 源平（HEAT）
Yutaka Kobayashi 小林 裕（U-FILE CAMP）
#2 – Featherweight
Kota Kondo 近藤孝太（ハイブリッドレスリング山田道場）
Yasuhiro Kawamura 河村康博（和術慧舟會AKZA）
#1 – Bantamweight
Daiki Gojima 合島大樹（GUTSMAN）
Ryo Iseki 井関 遼（GRABAKA）