Pancrase 319 commenced on Sunday afternoon at Studio Coast in Tokyo in front of a live audience. Two experienced Japanese lightweights headlined the show and put on a very technical back and forth affair with Koshi Matsumoto edging out Hiroto Uesako.
Uesako flew out the gate and rocked his opponent within the first 30 seconds of the fight. Matsumoto retreated and was able to recover while remaining elusive.
Matsumoto then dipped under a punch and completed a takedown yet Uesako popped back up immediately. Uesako was able to work the jab while dancing around constantly.
Although Matsumoto was winging right hands and barely missing multiple times, the low kicks worked for him throughout the first frame and must have looked good in the eyes of the judges.
In the second stanza Uesako again started fast and connected with a beautiful superman punch. Matsumoto looked to score with right hands but nothing was landing flush for the former Shooto lightweight champion.
Matsumoto was able to score with inside calf kicks which had a cumulative effect on his Uesako. He continued to apply pressure, mixing up the low kicks with crisp jabs.
Neither fighter showed any sign of fatigue in the final round as they kept up the fiery pace Continuing with a more aggressive approach, Matsumoto had the former Deep featherweight champion on the back foot.
Meanwhile Uesako would explode forward in short bursts. They ended the fight in the clinch against the fence, trading knees from close quarters.
The decision win went to Matsumoto who improves to 21-9-2. Uesako drops to 16-10 after suffering a third straight defeat.
Best of the rest
The co-main event was also a closely contested bout with Takeshi Kasugai (26-7-1) scoring a split decision win over Toshinori Tsunemura (14-11-4). Both fighters were very cautious through the three round affair.
There were two highlight-reel knockouts earlier in the night.
Akira Okada (14-9-3) stepped up against the former featherweight King of Pancrase Issei Tamura (13-11) and starched him in the second round after some competitive exchanges on the feet. The 33-year-old earns the biggest win of his career and snaps a four-fight losing streak.