Slated to go down on September 29, live from the Studio Coast arena in Tokyo, Japan, Pancrase is set to return with a mightily deep Pancrase 308 fight card.
In a frontrunner for the night’s main event, perennial lightweight contenders will do battle as Salimkhan Sadulloev (7-4) and two-time UFC fighter Yusuke Kasuya (10-5-2) face one another for vacant lightweight gold. The official title that will be on the line appears to be the interim lightweight championship. The official lightweight world champion, Takasuke Kume, will reportedly head to ONE Championship for at least one bout. So, in the meantime, an interim title has been created.
Despite recently losing to resident knockout-artist Hiroto Uesako, Tajikistan’s Sadulloev went into that Pancrase 303 bout riding a four-fight win streak. This included four finishes, with three coming inside the opening round. Salimkhan Sadulloev viciously knocked out promotional mainstay Akira Okada in his Pancrase debut.
Yusuke Kasuya is a two-fight veteran of the UFC has picked up big wins worldwide in multiple MMA promotions. In 2011 under the Shooto banner, Kasuya took out Nobumitsu Osawa before signing with Legend FC and submitting Damien Brown less than two years later. Another two years later, in the Pacific Xtreme Combat organization, Kasuya stopped the always exciting Frank Camacho on a PXC 47 card that featured Yusuke Yachi, Cortney Casey, and Zebaztian Kadestam.
Speaking of lightweights, former HEAT lightweight champion Tom Santos (11-9) will return to Pancrase as he faces Fighting NEXUS veteran Tatsuya Saika (5-1) at Pancrase 308.
On paper, this fight is an all-action firefight. Santos and Saika are both known for their incredible knockouts. Brazil’s Santos is on a big-time skid as of late, however. He is 1-4 in his last five, with losses to Daron Cruickshank in his RIZIN debut, Kume in a Pancrase title-challenge, Guilherme Doin in a potential Shooto Brasil title-eliminator, and a first-round title losing knockout loss to Kyung Pyo Kim in his last outing at HEAT 45. His sole win as of late was his HEAT title-winning performance against Rae Yoon Ok.
Tatsuya “Yanbo” Saika has won three-straight. This includes two Fighting NEXUS knockouts; a 13-second punch knockout against Shuya Arimura and a 25-second knee KO against Young Uk Woo. Making his Pancrase debut last month, the 28-year-old needed just 94-seconds to stop a veteran of nearly forty fights in Yutaka Kobayashi. Saika lives by the sword or dies by the sword – proudly. As evident by all five of his wins coming by way of first-round knockout, and his sole loss coming by knockout in just 14-seconds.
Also; a four-woman strawweight tournament to crown a new champion. The legend Emi Fujino (23-11) faces Edna Oliveira (7-6-1) in the first semi-final, as Nori DATE (3-3) returns to face Hyun Ji Jang (3-2) in the other.
KRAZY BEE’s Issei Tamura (12-10) will return looking to snap a two-fight skid against a fellow veteran in Katsushi Sugiyama (15-8-1) who has won two-straight by way of first-round knockout. Finally, in a pivotal flyweight clash, Riley Dutro (13-5) looks to snap a two-fight skid against Toru Ogawa (11-7) after the gritty Japanese fighter just defeated the legendary Mamoru Yamaguchi in his last outing.