Akira Okada was crowned Pancrase interim lightweight champion at Pancrase 329 with a knockout victory over Mitsufumi Matsumoto. The 35 year old returned to winning ways at Tokyo’s Tachikawa Stage Garden on Sunday.
Okada’s four-fight winning streak was snapped by the split decision loss to Juri Ohada at Rizin 34 in March. Matsumoto is a former Shooto lightweight champion who had won his last two but came up short the first time these men met at Pancrase 321.
Matsumoto sought to close the distance at the start of the bout. Okada, who has a reputation for being a bit of a wild man, took the fight to ground with an ankle pick and soon had the ONE veteran up against the side of the cage as he tried for a guillotine.
The pair exchanged punches as Matsumoto escaped. Okada later dropped his opponent with a left hook and finished the round in the north south position.
Matsumoto closed the distance in the second round to land a hook of his own but was met with dynamic combinations from Okada including a lovely left to the body followed by a right hook. Both fighters showcased their grappling and landed some solid jabs and lows kicks.
But it was Okada who finished the fight in spectacular fashion at the start of the third. The southpaw dropped Matsumoto with a superman punch and followed up with hammer fists to seal the deal with the finish coming at the 1:25 mark.
Okada’s record climbs to 18-9-4 and he becomes the interim Pancrase lightweight champion. Matsumoto drops to 23-11-1.
Best of the rest
Rei Tsuruya knocked out Shoryu Ueda in the first round of the co-main event. The 20-year-old prospect now has a perfect 5-0 record with five stoppages. In the wake of his latest finish, the youngster called the flyweight KOP Sarutobi Ryu into the cage and demanded a shot at the title, to which the champ replied, ‘please.’
Elsewhere Strawweight Queen of Pancrase, Karen Pravajra extended her unblemished record to 6-0 with a unanimous decision win against Momoka Hoshuyama in their non title bout. The 27-year-old was coming off of a loss to Tokie Watanabe at Shooto and slips to 2-4.