Isao Kobayashi unifies featherweight title at Pancrase 305

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Isao Kobayashi claimed the unified title at Pancrase 305. Photo: Akihito Tatematsu.

Isao Kobayashi has unified the Pancrase featherweight title in one of the closest championship fights you will see.

Isao and interim champ Nazareno Malegarie have been sidelined with injury for the past year and were looking to stamp their authority on the featherweight title.

Over five rounds they went toe-to-toe, trading big shots while hunting for the opportunity to take the fight to the ground.

Early into the five-round war Kobayashi went on the offensive, attacking Malegarie’s lead leg and doing his best to shut down the Argentinian.

As the fourth round closed in, the fight was dead even, with both men having won two rounds each. It was all down to the final round.

Kobayashi stepped it up a notch, landing solid kicks that bucked Malegarie, to claim the undisputed featherweight title.

With the win, options will now open up for Kobayashi. ONE Championship Japan president Andy Hata was in the cage, but a contract with ONE was guaranteed.

“I haven’t thought about anything,” Kobayashi said. “I’d like to take my time before making a decision.”

Toru Ogawa Dominates

The co-main event was saw a revitalised Toru Ogawa bounce back from a crushing TKO loss to dominate former flyweight champion Mamoru Yamaguchi for three round.

Toru Ogawa celebrates his win over Mamoru Yamaguchi.

The Tribe Tokyo prospect should now rocket up the ranks of the flyweight division and put himself right into contention.

In a featherweight bout, Kazumasa Majima frustrated UFC veteran Issei Tamura for three rounds, giving the KrazyBee fighter no room to move as he smothered and battered him.

Majima dominated Tamura on the ground and gave him little opportunity to anything but defend. At 3:41 into the third round he locked in an arm triangle to force the tap.

Majima extends his run to 14 straight wins, 12 of them via submission.

Mr Pancrase wins

One highlight of the Pancrase 305 card was a trilogy match between “Mr Pancrase” Yuki Kondo and fellow JMMA royalty Akihiro Gono.

“Mr Pancrase” Yuki Kondo picked up a second win over his longtime rival. Photo: Akihito Tatematsu.

Kondo was relentless with his kicks and could not be drawn into Gono’s counter strikes. All three judges gave the decision to Kondo, who improved his epic record to 60-35-9.

Next up is Pancrase 306 on Sunday 30 June, where Hiroyuki Tetsuka will face Hiromitsu Miura for the vacant welterweight title.

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