Bellator Signs Former King of Pancrase Isao Kobayashi for Fall Debut

By Staff Aug 16, 2015
Isao Kobayashi is hunting for two featherweight belts. | Photo: Taro Irei/

Two-division Pancrase standout Isao Kobayashi is the latest addition to Bellator MMA’s featherweight roster.

The 26-year-old, known simply as “Isao” to fight fans in Japan, announced the news in conjunction with Pancrase on Monday.

While specifics regarding Kobayashi’s first Bellator appearance were not announced, the Yokohama native is expected to debut on American soil as part of a Spike TV-broadcast main card bout this fall.

A former lightweight King of Pancrase, Kobayashi vacated his title and made the cut to 145 pounds last October to defeat ex-Shooto ace Takeshi Inoue. After dropping a decision to Kazunori Yokota on New Year’s Eve -- Kobayashi’s first defeat since 2010 -- the Yukio Sakaguchi pupil rebounded with a decision win against former Bellator contender Marlon Sandro in April. The news of Kobayashi’s signing comes hot on the heels of his most recent victory, an Aug. 9 unanimous nod over Will Chope in Tokyo.

Kobayashi is currently listed as the No. 2 featherweight in Pancrase’s internal rankings, behind only titleholder Nam Phan and top contender Andy Main.

Editor’s note: This item was updated on Aug. 17 at 9:32 a.m. PT to remove conflicting information regarding the exclusivity of Kobayashi’s contract. In a press release, Pancrase claimed the contract was non-exclusive; Bellator, through a representative, told that the contract is exclusive.


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