Pancrase to crown featherweight king in May

Interim champ Isao Kobayashi gets his shot at the crown.

A featherweight unification bout has been added to Pancrase 305, with interim champion Isao Kobayashi set to face decorated Argentinian grappler Nazareno Malegarie.

Kobayashi claimed the interim belt after defeating Koyomi Matsushima at Pancrase 295 last April. The Japanese veteran brings a stellar 23-5 record to the fight, having defeated the likes of Yusuke Kasuya, Yutaka Saito, Will Chope and Hiroyuki Takaya.

Malegarie (33-5-1) returns to Pancrase after three bouts with PFL in 2018. Malegarie made his MMA debut in 2007 and went on a tear, racking up a stellar 16-fight win streak.

His impressive record earned him a spot in Bellator’s Season 4 Featherweight tournament where he suffered his first professional defeat in a razor thin unanimous decision to Daniel Straus.

At Pancrase 285, Malegarie defeated Issei Tamura via rear-naked choke to claim the featherweight title, but was unable to defend his crown at Pancrase 289 due to injury.

Pancrase 305 is set for 26 May at Studio Coast in Tokyo and will feature trilogy bout between two Japanese legends Yuki Kondo and Akihiro Gono.

Former flyweight king Mamoru Yamaguchi (31-12-5) will return to face Toru Ogawa (10-7) in a flyweight showdown, while the preliminary will see the semi-final rounds of the of the Neo Blood bantamweight, flyweight and strawweight tournaments.

This weekend at Pancrase 303, Rafael Silva (29-6) will defend his bantamweight belt against surging Japanese prospect Kenta Takizawa (9-4).

Pancrase 305 card includes

· Isao Kobayashi vs. Nazareno Malegarie
· Toru Ogawa vs. Mamoru Yamaguchi
· Hidekazu Fukushima vs. Takeshi Kasugai
· Yuki Kondo vs. Akihiro Gono


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