Isao Kobayashi is looking to exact some revenge and retain his status as the undisputed featherweight King Of Pancrase this Sunday.

He will put his title on the line against Kyle Aguon in the main event of Pancrase 309. It is a rematch, the man from Guam got the better of the first bout with a split decision win in 2017.

Kobayashi feels he has made significant improvements in the time that has elapsed since that first fight,

“It was a learning experience for me, the first time I met Kyle Aguon. I knew going into the match that it would be one of the biggest challenges of my career.”

Small challenge

Kobayshi thinks he lacked composure the first time around,

“Honestly, I was a little flustered. I thought I could have pushed the pace more and maybe forced him to defend my attacks more. I lost focus on the game plan and allowed myself to operate at his pace. I would have loved to have won, but it is what it is,” he added.

Now, Kobayashi is determined to claim victory in their second meeting and put his heartbreak behind him,

“This is a small challenge compared to what I’ve had to go through. Life is like that. You can’t always be on top. Sometimes you hit a low point before you rise back up again. Every time you go down, you know that there’s nowhere to go but up,” he said.

Winning streak

Kobayashi has turned things around since his disappointing defeat at the hands of Aguon, putting together a three-fight winning streak.

During that span, he defeated Koyomi Matsushima for the interim featherweight championship by way of first-round knockout and then emerged triumphant in a title unification contest against Nazareno Malegarie at Pancrase 305,

“Like everybody, I’ve tasted many defeats in my career but I always take it like a true champion, take it like a real man, stand up, and go again. There’s no other way,” Kobayashi stated.

Kobayashi wants to prove that he is no longer the same fighter that Aguon split decisioned two years ago,

“I don’t know what he is going to bring to the fight but I’m ready for all the situations. I think I have much more experience than him because I’ve been doing this my entire career. We have a plan A, B and C. I think I will always be one step ahead,” he shared.

Previous experience

Kobayashi believes that the time he has already spent in the cage with Aguon will be valuable as he prepares for the second meeting,

“After three rounds with him, I have gotten to know him a little better. I am able to understand what makes him a good fighter. He relies heavily on his grappling, so if I can somehow take him out of his element, I would find better success,” he explained.

Having only just established himself as the undisputed champion Kobayashi is desperate to hang on to his title. The Japanese featherweight might have lost to Aguon before but he is determined not to make the same mistakes again,

“I am expecting another difficult fight with him, but this time, I know that I will be the victorious warrior inside the cage,” he vowed.