Ryo Kawamura turned 40 last month. But the former middleweight King of Pancrase clearly isn’t contemplating retirement and will return to compete in MMA after a four year absence.

Kawamura has been matched with fellow veteran Yuji Arai at Pancrase 323. The event is set for Studio Coast in Tokyo on September 12th.

Kawamura (18-10-4) challenged for the middleweight title at Pancrase 291 in 2017. He has not competed in MMA since but did have a handful of Muay Thai and customs rules bouts in 2018 and 2019.

By contrast Arai (4-7) got three fights in in during 2020, winning two of them. He made has pro debut in 2007 and has fought for Pancrase seven times.

As previously announced the event will feature a middleweight bout pitting Genpei Hayashi against Kazuki Kasai. The semi finals of the Neo Blood bantamweight tournament and the final of the Neo Blood lightweight tournament are also set for Pancrase 323.

In the bantamweight tournament Toshiomi Kazama faces Ryo Tajima. The former has won four straight fights since losing his pro debut in 2020 while the latter scored back to back victories in May.

The other semi final pits Akio Kawakita against Junya Ogawa. The former is fighting out of Tribe Tokyo while the latter represents Brave.

Shin Iraha takes on Dastan Omurzakov in the final of of the Neo Blood lightweight tournament. In the featherweight division Hirotaka Nakada faces Ryo Asami while Kisa Miyake takes on Shinsuke Kamei and Tatsuhiko Iwamoto meets Raiki Endo.

Pancrase 323, Tokyo, September 12th
Genpei Hayashi vs. Kazuki Kasai (Lightweight)
Shinsuke Kamei vs. Kisa Miyake (Featherweight)
Yudai Hirono vs. Ryutaro Sato (Middleweight)
Hirotaka Nakada vs. Ryo Asami (Featherweight)
Toshiomi Kazama vs. Ryo Tajima (Bantamweight)
Akio Kawakita vs. Junya Ogawa (Bantamweight)
Shin Iraha vs. Dastan Omurzakov (Lightweight)
Tatsuhiko Iwamoto vs. Raiki Endo (Featherweight)
Ryo Kawamura vs. Yuji Arai (Middleweight)