Japan’s busiest MMA promotion Pancrase returned last week with a 20 fight card. In the main event, Nazareno Malegarie and Isao Kobayashi put their respective Featherweight Championships on the line in a five round bout. The show also included UFC alumni, JMMA royalty, and much more. Let’s look at Pancrase 305.

Preliminary Card

Bout 1: Yohei Misawa vs. Satoru Enomoto (2019 Neo Blood Tournament Second Round Flyweight) (3×3)

Right off the bat it’s worth noting that the broadcast got a new graphics package. The first fight was a Neo Blood Tournament bout. Enomoto tried for a takedown in the first minute of the bout, pinning Misawa up against the cage. They stayed in a clinch until the referee pause the belt due to Enomoto getting hit below the belt. He got a cut on hit head around the hairline which also got cleaned up during the pause. The fight resumed but they didn’t start back up in the position they paused in. The second round showcased Misawa’s better striking. Enomoto landed a clean double leg takedown in the second minute of the second round. He landed some shots from top position until the round concluded. Misawa tried for a single leg takedown in the final round, but it was successfully defended. After being on the cage for a litte Enomoto did a leg trip to score another takedown. Enomoto’s ground work made up for his weaker stand-up striking. Satoru Enomoto got the unanimous decision victory.

Bout 2: Yosuke Shimoda vs. Kiyoshiro Akasaki (2019 Neo Blood Tournament Second Round Flyweight) (3×3)

The other second round fight in the flyweight tournament was next. Right off the bat, Akasaki went in for a takedown. Shimoda was able to fight it off and even try for a guillotine against the cage. Akasaki slammed down Shimoda, but the guillotine was not let go of. They stood up against the cage and stayed in a clinch for the rest of the round. Shimoda was hit with quite a few unanswered strikes in the final seconds. On the ground in the second, Akasaki landed a lot of strikes on the ground. After more and more grinding from Akasaki they stood up, but Shimoda was so tried that he fell from some strikes. The referee came in and stopped it after Shimoda fell.

Bout 3: Junpei Ueno vs. Nobuaki Yamamoto (2019 Neo Blood Tournament Second Round Bantamweight) (3×3)

The next two fights we saw were from the Bantamweight division of the competition. After some light striking from both fighters, Yamamoto tried for a double leg takedown. Sitting against the cage, Ueno tried for a guillotine. When standing up in clinch, Ueno delivered a knee to Yamamoto’s head. There was a groin shot in the opening seconds of the second round to Yamamoto. Yamamoto landed a good takedown in the second round, and did yet another when they stood up against the cage. Ueno had some good strikes when standing up, but Yamamoto took it to the ground once again when the third round started. Ueno tried for a rear naked choke in the final minute of the fight. The judges gave the fight to Junpei Ueno, which the commentators didn’t understand.

Bout 4: Masahide Hiraoka vs. Yuki Nagai (2019 Neo Blood Tournament Second Round Bantamweight (3×3)

To decide who would face Junpei Ueno in the finals, Masahida Hiraoka and Yuki Nagai fought each other next. Nagai chased a single leg takedown early but never fully got it. He was on Hiraoka against the cage for the whole round. Hiraoka had good striking in the second round but was trapped in more grappling when Nagai shot for another takedown. They stayed on the ground for the rest of the round. The final round felt like more of the same, with Hiraoka’s striking being stopped once he was put against the cage. Hiraoka ended up winning the bout via decision.

Bout 5: Kazuki Kasai vs. Takuya Saito (2019 Neo Blood Tournament Second Round Featherweight) (3×3)

We moved on to the Featherweight bouts next in the prelims. The first round was a busy one from both fighters. Kasai threw Saito to the ground and then tried for an arm triangle on the ground. Kasai was pretty dominant throughout the bout. Kasai was dominant with many throws in the second round as well. His ground game was showcased more than his striking in the first two rounds. Kasai was out-striking Saito in the final round.  It’s worth noting that Kasai had a height and reach advantage. Saito tried for anything, even a rolling thunder. Kasai caught the rolling thunder and put in an arm triangle, which made Saito tap out.

Bout 6: Seio Date vs. Joji Goto (Bantamweight) (3×3)

In a break from the Neo Blood Tournament, Joji Goto faced Seio Date. Goto turned a missed strike into a guillotine, landing knees to the body when in clinch. Goto landed tons of punches while standing against the cage. His flurry was ended when he accidentally landed a knee to the groin. Quite a high amount of groin shots on these prelims. They clinched back against the cage for the rest of the round. When the second round started, Date was leaving the room for kicks, constantly backing up. On the ground, Date tried for a heel hook. Goto had a dominant final round, with Date backtracking the whole time due to strikes. The referee stopped the bout with only a second left in the round, giving Goto the victory. Date was struggling through that whole round.

Bout 7: Sho Sekihara vs. Nobuhisa Kudo (Bantamweight) (3×3)

In another Bantamweight bout, Sho Sekihara debuted against Nobuhisa Kudo. In the first minute of the bout, Sekihara stopped a takedown attempt, landing tons of hammerfist strikes while Kudo was holding onto his leg. Sekihara looked very comfortable in there. He taunted quite a bit during the fight as well. Kudo was wobbled in the final seconds of round one, but couldn’t finish it. Sekihara had a slower second round. The fight went all nine minutes with Sekihara having an even more laid back round. Sho Sekihara was given the victory by the judges.

Bout 8: Shun Miyakawa vs. Kohei Maeda (Bantamweight) (3×3)

Yet another Bantamweight bout was next. The first round had some close striking, with Maeda scoring a takedown before the final minute. Maeda got another takedown in the second round while clinching the body of Miyakawa. Maeda was in top position while landing strikes. A similar takedown was done in the final round by Maeda. Miyakawa was able to escape being on the ground this time, standing up for a few seconds. Unfortunately, he was thrown down once again seconds later. The fight went it’s scheduled distance, with Kohei Maeda being selected as the winner.

Bout 9: Yasutaka Kato vs. Kaneaki Watanabe (Featherweight) (3×3)

In the ninth bout, the Featherweights squared off. Watanabe shot for a takedown early, but Kato guarded it. They went back to stand-up, where Watanabe landed a right hook that dropped Kato and ended the bout.

Bout 10: Yuki Yamamoto vs. Tatsuya Tomozane (Lightweight) (3×3)

Finishing off the prelims was a Lightweight bout. Heading into this contest, Tatsuya Tomozane was making his Pancrase debut and was on a six-fight win streak.Tomozane landed a takedown halfway through the first round. Tomozane was moving much more quicker than Yamamoto was. At the very start of the final round, there was a hard groin shot to Tomozane. Yamamoto wasn’t successful with much throughout this bout, although he did last through the whole thing. The scorecards favoured Tatsuya Tomozane.

Main Card

Bout 11: Yuki Kosaka (14-6-2) vs. Shuhei Sakano (10-3-1) (Bantamweight) (3×3)

Shuhei Sakano, coming from Rebel FC, face Yuki Kosaka in the opening main card bout. Sakano had a great walkout, dancing to “Dream Fighter” by Perfume. Both fighters had some good moments in the opening minutes. Sakano backed up a few times while striking, making the fight go back into the center of the cage. Kosaka took the fight to the ground after Sakano resisted the takedown for a while. Kosaka never got to really do work on the ground as Sakano was resisting well enough. At the start of the second round both fighters threw tons of strikes but hardly connected, in part due to the distance they kept. Sakano landed a takedown and took Kosaka’s back, but lost the position quickl. They stood back up, where Kosaka tried for a single leg takedown. Sakano landed elbows while Kosaka was still trying for the takedown. Kosaka got the fight back to the ground for the final seconds of the second round. Sakano was dropped by a jab at the start of the third round. Sakano tried for an armbar when they went on the ground later. The final minute of the fight was close, with Sakano trying for a triangle choke and an armbar. Both fighters went the distance with the judges giving the win to Shuhei Sakano via split decision, although he looked as if he didn’t believed he deserved to win.

Bout 12: Takafumi Ato (8-8-1) vs. Yuta Miyazawa (3-2) (#11) (Strawweight) (3×3)

In the second main card bout, Takafumi Ato faced Yuta Miyazawa in a Strawweight bout. Miyazawa landed a strong takedown in the first minute of the bout, throwing down Ato a second time when he stood up. Ato got up a second time, while Miyazawa held him from behind and did some knees. They split up with a minute left in the first. In the final seconds of the round, Ato had Miyazawa backtracking due to some punches. Both fighters seemed to lose composure with their striking at the end. Miyazawak got a takedown after a minute of exchanging punches in the second. They stood back up for another hectic final minute of the round. Ato got dropped by a punch but recovered quickly. Ato was on Miyazawa’s back, throwing punches as the fight ended. In the opening moments of the third round, Miyazawa got a takedown but lost is right after. It seemed like Ato was more interested in engaging in a fire fight. Ato got a takedown but lost control, with Miyazawa landing knees against the cage whilst standing. They broke up with both fighters being very fatigued in the final minute. Miyazawa landed a final takedown, with the fighters both throwing punches as the fight ended. It was another split decision, with it going in favour of Yuta Miyazawa.

Bout 13: Yusuke Kawanago (15-6-2) vs. Katsushi Sugiyama (12-8-1) (#11) (Featherweight) (3×3)

In the final three minute round fight, Yusuke Kawanago faced Katsushi Sugiyama. Kawanago landed a takedown in the first minute after they traded punches. Kawanago got a cut above his left eye which made the fight pause for doctors to check. They decided to let the fight continue. Kawagano was dropped by a left and right combo, and then was given more punches on the ground until the referee stopped the fight. Similar to a finish earlier, Sugiyama got his win in the very last second of a round.

Bout 14: Joey Crisostomo Jr. (2-3) vs. Chihaya Yoneyama (6-1-1) (Bantamweight) (3×5)

The next Bantamweight fight saw the Pancrase debut of Spike22’s Joey Cristostomo Jr. against Chihaya Yoneyama. Yoneyama took the fight to the ground in the first after a kick tripped Chrisostomo. He landed elbows from top position. Crisostomo tried to get out, but Yoneyama put him back down and did more. The first round was nothing short of dominant for Yoneyama. They went back to the ground in no time when the second round started. While on top, Yoneyama started to unload with some punches. There was a pause where he tried for two submissions, then started doing elbows and punches which made the referee step in and end it.

Bout 15: Bakytbek Duishobaev (6-1) vs. Yuchi Ohashi (5-2) (#8) (Bantamweight) (3×5)

The next bout M-1 Challenge alumni Bakytbek Duishobaev facing Yuchi Ohashi. Ohashi landed a left hook into a clinch, and then landed a knee which dropped Duishobaev, making only a few more strikes necessary to win, in under a minute.

Bout 16: Takeshi Kasugai (22-6-1) vs. Hidekazu Fukushima (14-7) (#4) (Bantamweight) (3×5)

At this point in the show we started to see more experienced fighters square off. Takeshi Kasugai and Hidekazu Fukushima, who have 50 bouts combined, fought next. Kasugai showed off powerful hands in the first minute, dropping Fukushima, although Fukushima recovered almost instantly. They stayed on the ground after Kasugai got the knockdown, with Fukushima eventually even getting the top position in a half guard. Fukushima had some real dominant grappling, although Kasugai did land some punches on the ground near the end of the first round. Kasugai shot for a takedown at the start of the second round but did not get it. It was clear that Kasugai was the better striker. They stayed standing up for the majority of the second round. Fukushima failed to score another takedown in the initial minute of the final round. Fukushima seemed to heat up a little more in the last round, but Kasugai kept his striking up as well. The fight went the distance with Takeshi Kasugai getting the nod from all three judges.

Bout 17: Akihiro Gono (36-23-8) vs. Yuki Kondo (60-35-9) (Welterweight) (3×3)

In a fight of two fighters with extensive records, Akihiro Gono faced Yuki Konda. This is a trilogy fight between these two fighters, with the series being 1-1. Their latest meeting was in 2006 at Pride Shockwave. This fight had three minute rounds. The first round had some close striking, with kicks from both fighters being frequent. They opened up more with punches in the second round, with Kondo walking down Gono. There was a low blow to Gono at the start of the third which cause a break. The third round was when both fighters really started to up their striking output. Unfortunately for Gono, he has hit with yet another low blow in the final seconds of the round. The fight went to decision. It was Yuki Kondo who got the upper hand in the trilogy, with all three judges giving the win to him.

Bout 18: Kazumasa Majima (12-1) vs. Issei Tamura (12-9) (#5) (Featherweight) (3×5)

In the next bout, #5 ranked Featherweight from Krazy Bee, Issei Tamura, fought Kazumasa Majima, who made is Pancrase debut coming from REBEL FC. Majima went for a takedown in the first minute of the bout, which Tamura stopped at first, but after some work against the cage, Majima had it his way. He showcased his dominant grappling for the rest of the first round. Majima brought the fight to the ground again in the second and tried for a rear naked choke. Majima held the fence at one point for quite a few seconds but the referee did not see it. The second round has similar to the first. The final round was the only time Majina really had some strikes, landing elbows and punches from top position. He put in an arm triangle with a minute and a half left in the round, making Tamura tap out.

Bout 19: Mamoru Yamaguchi (31-12-5) (#7) vs. Toru Ogawa (10-3) (#5) (Flyweight) (3×5)

In the co-main event of the evening, two ranked Flyweights in Mamoru Yamaguchi and Toru Ogawa faced off. Ogawa had the better striking in the first round. Ogawa’s dominant striking continued through the second. The whole fight was stand-up, with Ogawa being absolutely dominant. The judges had it as a unanimous victory for Toru Ogawa.

Bout 20: Isao Kobayashi (23-5-4) (Featherweight Interim Champion) vs. Nazareno Malegarie (29-5-1) (Featherweight Unified Champion) (Featherweight) (5×5)

The main event of Pancrase 305 was a clash between the two Pancrase Featherweight Champions, Isao Kobayashi and Nazareno Malegarie. It was noted by the broadcast team that Malegarie cut a large amount of weight for this fight. The first round was a methodical one, with Kobayashi getting some good shots in. The second round felt like an improvement for Malegarie while Kobayashi kept up with his striking as well. Kobayashi tried for a takedown in the final minute of the third round but couldn’t get it. All of the rounds in the fight had very close striking, with the tempo of strikes increasing as the fight went on. Both fighters tried for takedowns in the final round. There was never any moments that made one fighter stick out particularly. With a minute left Malegarie tried for a heel hook, but Kobayashi got out shortly. The fight went all 25 minutes, with the judges giving Isao Kobayashi the unanimous decision, making him the only Featherweight Champion.

Pancrase will return at the end of this month with Pancrase 306, main evented by Welterweights Hiroyuki Tetsuka and Hiromitsu Miura fighting for the vacant Pancrase Welterweight Championship.