TOKYO -- Light-heavyweight King of Pancrase Ryo Kawamura and Deep Megaton veteran Shunsuke Inoue stole the show at Pancrase Changing Tour 8, Sunday, at Differ Ariake Arena.
Though only the co-main event, Kawamura and Inoue's three round brawl ended up the evening's most memorable fight. Kawamura had no defense against Inoue's judo skills, and was lucky his opponent could not keep dominant position -- be it from the judo press, mount, or back mount.
The fight took place primarily on the feet with both men careening into each other with heavy punches and low kicks. Kawamura pulled ahead in the latter two rounds as Inoue tired, launching bloody spittle from Inoue's mouth with one-twos and uppercuts. Kawamura's more accurate and numerous punches earned him scores of 30-28, 30-30, and 30-29 on judges Kenji Kosuge, Yusuke Yachi, and Yoshinori Umeki's cards for the majority decision.
Compared to Kawamura-Inoue bout, the Ichiro Kanai-Izuru Takeuchi main event disappointed with Kanai doing just enough to take the middleweight King of Pancrase title from Takeuchi. Spending most of the three rounds picking away with single punches, Kanai essentially won the bout after dropping Takeuchi to a knee with a big right hand in the second frame. Kanai also fought off several of Takeuchi's single leg attempts and ate only a smattering of his counter-punches and low kicks to earn 30-29 on judges Ryogoku Wada and Yachi's cards. Only judge Masato Fukuda saw the bout as a 30-30 draw.
Takuma Ishii's early armbar attempt on Takuya Eizumi's bent arm almost got his face stomped in and soccer kicked when Eizumi fought his way out and escaped. Once free, Eizumi hit one of several thunderous harai-goshi in the bout to take top, bombing with punches from above before stepping back to kick at Ishii's legs. One landed unintentionally to the groin, earning Eizumi the point deduction that lost him the fight. In the second round, Ishii scrambled for outside trip takedowns, and while Eizumi either defended and reversed the attempts to drop solid hammerfists, they were inadequate to sway judges Kosuge, Wada, and Yachi, all of whom scored the bout 20-19 for Ishii.
Pancrase journeyman Takafumi Ito defeated Hisaki Hiraishi thanks to a second round yellow card. While Ito’s only offense consisted of attempted takedowns, Hiraishi defended against the ropes and was hassled by officials to stay within the ring. Hirashi earned the yellow card when he dropped a leg out of the ropes while trying to defend a takedown. Judges Wada, Fukuda, and Kosuge thus ruled the bout 20-19, 20-19, and 20-18 for Ito.
Tomonari Kanomata took a close majority decision in his rematch against career Pancrasist Kenji Arai. Kanomata won the fight with his dominating first round performance, taking Arai's back and locking a tight armbar in the final ten seconds. The remaining two rounds saw Arai nullifying Kanomata's further endeavors on the canvas, but despite his corner screaming at him to back off and engage Kanomata on the feet, Arai stuck to listless clinching instead. That strategy would cost him. Kanomata garnered the majority decision by scores of 30-29 on judges Wada and Kosuge's cards, while judge Yachi scored the fight a 29-29 draw.
In what resembled a wrestling match more than an MMA bout, Yuichi Ikari took Keigo Hirayama down to the canvas in both rounds, where he ground on his opponent with short punches from half guard. The workmanlike performance earned him identical 20-19 scores from judges Wada, Fukuda, and Kosuge.
Toshihiro Shimizu fought for the takedown early, but in the following scramble he gave up his back to Hayato Shimizu who locked the rear naked-choke with a single hook in, getting the tap at 1:06 in the opening frame.
Also coming to a quick end, Juntaro Ami's picturesque slam proved to be a tactical error when Junichi Ota reversed him and turned it into an armbar for the tapout at 2:05 in the first round.