Mitsushi Matsumoto got back in the win column at Pancrase 339. The 40-year-old used takedowns and superior top pressure to get the nod from the judges against Shinsuke Nishio at the New Pier Hall on Sunday.
Matsumoto executed a well-timed right calf kick in the early stages and deftly dodged the younger man’s left hook during the ensuing exchange. The two engaged in a grappling sequence with Nishio slamming the veteran down and delivering a series of knees.
Matsumoto responded by closing the distance and landing a right calf kick as they separated. Nishio advanced with a jab, then a left and right hook.
Matsumoto countered with a right straight, prompting his opponent to clinch and push him against the cage. Creating distance, Nishio missed a left hook, allowing the former Shooto lightweight champion to capitalize with a double-leg.
Maintaining top control in half guard, Matsumoto transitioned to side control with less than a minute left. After attempting a north-south choke he attacked with ground and pound and was given the round by all three judges under the open scoring.
In the second round Matsumoto continued his effective striking, landing a right calf kick and a jab. Successfully evading Nishio’s left hand, he sought to grapple, pushing the 30 year old against the cage.
Matsumoto then launched a series of jabs and takedowns as Nishio attempted a guillotine but the veteran escaped, maintaining top position in half guard. He transitioned to mount with 40 seconds left and claimed a second round.
That left Nishio needing something special to turn things around in the third. He looked to land a left hook but Matsumoto wasted no time looking for the takedown and they clinched against the cage.
Nishio defended well but found himself taken down again with a double-leg. Matsumoto, anticipating Nishio’s bridge attempts, countered by hooking both legs and was looking for a choke when the round ended.
The scorecards all read 30-27 in his favour and he improves to 24-12-2 while his opponent drops to 4-4. Mastsumoto lost to Akira Okada in an interim lightweight title fight last year and will be looking to challenge for the belt again in 2024.
Best of the rest
Rui Imura (10-3) needed just 70 seconds to submit Ryo Yazawa (5-4) in the first round of their bantamweight bout. A rear naked choke finished the fight with the 24 year old claiming his tenth Pancrase win.
In the middleweight division Ryutaro Sato (5-1) continues his rise through the ranks. The 21 year old earned a unanimous decision victory over Yuji Arai (4-9)