A lightweight unification bout headlined Pancrase 333 on Sunday. Interim champion Akira Okada defeated Takasuke Kume to become the undispute lightweight king in one of four title bouts on the card.
Kume first won the belt in 2016 and defended it for the third time when submitted Tatsuya Saika at Pancrase 325. But he has been out of action for over a year and in his absence Okada knocked out Koshi Matsumoto to become the interim champion.
Both men exchanged punches and kicks in the opening stanza as Kume grappled Okada, pushing him into the cage. There was very little to choose between the two lightweights in the first five minutes, and that would remain the case throughout the fight.
Flurry of punches
In the second round Kume dodged Okada’s attacks and forced him into the cage with a flurry of punches. The 38 year old continued to put apply pressure and succeeded in dragging his opponent to the ground and securing a half-guard.
From the pass to mount, Kume assembled a figure-four. Akira desperately tried to hang on to his arm but he was able to break his grip and land some punches from top position before the bell.
In the third round, Kume shot in with a double leg but Okada was the one who ended up in top position. His opponent attempted to lock in a triangle choke from his back but couldn’t complete the submission.
The fourth round saw Okada scoring with a straight right hand to the body while Kume responded with a solid right. The interim champion attacked with superman punches but ate a one-two.
Okada responded with a right calf kick but Kume was able to take him down using a body lock. The round ended with Okada pushing his opponent into the cage and cracking him with a punch.
The final round saw Kume driving the 36 year old into the cage with a series of punches and bringing him to the ground with a double leg to take the back mount. He was looking for the rear naked choke but couldn’t find the finish.
Okada was able to land some punches while fighting off the submission as the bell ended at the end of a contest which could not have been much closer. In the end two of the three judges scored it for him with all the scorecards reading 48-47.
With the victory Okada extends his record to 19-9-4 and makes it back to bac wins. while Kume slides to 25-8-3 after losing for the first time since 2021.
Best of the rest
Taichi Nakajima unified the Pancrase bantamweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Ryo Tajima. Elsewhere Haruka Hasegawa climbed to 3-2 and was crowned the new bantamweight Queen of Pancrase with a unanimous decision win over Karen who slipped to 6-2.
In the evening’s other title clash, Takayo Hashi also triumphed via the judges’ scored cards as she succesfully defended the flyweight strap against Nori Date.