UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 is this Saturday!
Stream every fight live on ESPN+ starting from 10 pm ET.
- Main event: Poirier vs. McGregor 2
- Co-main event: Hooker vs. Chandler
Newly-minted featherweight King of Pancrase Isao Kobayashi (24-5-4) will defend his title against former Pacific Xtreme Combat champ Kyle Aguon (13-7) of Guam’s Spike 22 gym. To go along with that terrific high-stakes contest, two additional fights were also announced.
At flyweight, Naoki Arikawa (4-1-1) will look to defend his win-streak to three when he faces Ryosuke Kano (7-6), who is looking to rebound from a loss at Pancrase 306 back in June. A women’s bantamweight bout was also confirmed for the card. 33-year-old grinder Yoko Higashi (4-1) will be in search of her fifth-straight win when she takes on Tatiane Fontes (3-1) of Brazil who hopes to win her third-straight.
A former Pancrase lightweight champion, fan-favorite battler Isao Kobayashi is an impressive 6-1 in his last seven contests. Following a solid Vale Tudo Japan win in 2016, the Bellator veteran Kobayashi returned to Pancrase and defeated former DREAM champion Hiroyuki Takaya a few months prior to knocking out Marko Burusic under the Pancrase banner. His next fight, funnily enough, wound up being a loss to Kyle Aguon in what was a massive win for the Guam rep.
Since the defeat, Isao Kobayashi has won three-straight. This includes an interim title win against Koyomi Matsushima and a title unifying bout vs. featherweight world champion Nazareno Malegarie. Now, the King of Pancrase hopes to return to Tokyo and defend his crown for the very first time, and it just so happens to be against a man who had previously beat him.
An often talked about fighter out of Guam, Kyle Aguon has been on the radar of so many promotions over the years as a potential signee due to his evergrowing and fast-improving skillset we continue to see from him. The 30-year-old is somewhat of a legend of the aforementioned PXC cage, as well as a former champion. His run in the organization included wins over Rolando Dy, Russell Doane, Trevin Jones, and Josh Alvarez.
Following a 15-fight stint in PXC, spanning from 2008 to 2016, Aguon’s last five fights have taken place under the Pancrase banner. His 4-1 stint with the company is nothing to scoff at, either. Aguon followed up a victory over the current champ in Isao Kobayashi with a loss to Matsushima, a man Kobayashi went on to defeat. Since the loss, Aguon has been able to win two-straight, though both of those wins came by way of split decision.
A proud representative of K-PLACE, Saitama’s Arikawa is a very well-rounded fighter, and he proved this by winning two-straight under the Pancrase banner after leaving Fighting Network ZST in late 2017. Naoki Arikawa has certainly found a new home in Pancrase, but his competition has been lacking. Though coming off a loss, Ryosuke Kano is a 13-fight veteran with a winning record. This is not an opponent that should be overlooked by the usually-not-tested Arikawa.
Yoko Higashi has looked undeniably stellar in her five-fight Pancrase run thus far, but, again, her competition has been very subpar. Losing in her debut to a fellow debutant, Higashi’s last four opponents (and wins) held a combined record of 1-7. Typically referred to as “Brutos,” Tatiane Fontes is an alum of SFL 2018 whose sole loss came against the UFC-bound Sarah Frota. Winning her last two under the SFL and Shooto Brasil banner, Fontes’ opposition as of late has been much better than that of Higashi.