Salimkhan Sadulloev stunned the Japanese crowd at Studio Coast after stopping hometown favorite Yusuke Kasuya to capture the interim flyweight championship in the main event of Pancrase 308 on Sunday.
The 30-year-old Tajik heavy-hitter was in the ascendancy right from the start, attacking Kasuya with solid strikes en route to a crucial bounce-back win.
Following a steady opening round, Sadulloev picked up the pace in the second stanza with some crisp boxing, tagging Kasuya with solid combinations.
Although Kasuya was game throughout the contest, Sadulloev showed the greater sense of urgency and he got the job done in the same round. The Russian slumped the former UFC fighter with a knee to the jaw before unleashing three lethal punches to compel the referee to halt the bout at the 0:37 mark.
With the impressive win over Kasuya, Sadulloev redeemed himself from his second-round technical knockout loss to Hiroto Uesako at Pancrase 3
In addition, the victory improved the Tajik’s record to 8-4. He has not gone to the third round since he started his professional career in MMA nearly nine years ago, winning his fights by either knockout or submission.
On the other hand, Kasuya headed back to the losing territory with a 10-6-2 record. The Japanese veteran was on a losing slide from 2015 to 2017 before finally breaking the trend last April with a 61-second stoppage of Masayuki Kikuiri at Pancrase.
First round finishes
In the co-main event of the evening, former PXC flyweight titleholder Rilley Dutro (14-5) arrested his two-bout losing skid on an astounding note, notching his first win under the Pancrase banner at the expense of the highly-ranked Toru Ogawa (11-8).
The 32-year-old from Wailuku, Hawaii finished the task at hand with 27 seconds remaining in the first round, dropping Ogawa with a right straight before polishing him off with a series of hammerfists to get the stoppage.
In other matches, Tatsuya Saika (6-1) kept his 100% finish rate intact by thwarting Brazilian opponent Tom Santos (11-10) via first-round technical knockout.
UFC veteran Issei Tamura (13-10) sent the audience inside Studio Coast into a frenzy, delivering a riveting first-round knockout finish of Katsushi Sugiyama (15-9-1).
Best of the rest
Aside from the marquee matches on the main card, three athletes were hailed as the 2019 Neo Blood Tournament winners in the preliminary portion of Pancrase 308.
In the strawweight finals, Tatsuki Ozaki (8-6) emerged triumphant, picking up a close unanimous decision in a back-and-forth encounter against Satoshi Miyokawa (4-5-1).
Meanwhile, Satoru Enomoto (7-4) submitted Kiyoshiro Akasaki (4-4) with a deep rear-naked choke to become this year’s Neo Blood Tournament flyweight champion.
In the bantamweight tourney final showdown, Masahide Hiraoka (6-4) dominated Junpei Ueno (2-2) over the course of three round to claim a clear-cut unanimous decision victory.
Lastly, Yohei Nada (10-3-2) edged out Kazuki Kasai (3-1) by way of split decision to hand his opponent’s first career defeat and top the competition’s featherweight bracket.