Yoshinori Horie returned to the place where he started his promising career on a triumphant note, defeating compatriot Yojiro Uchimura in the main event of Pancrase 312 on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Japanese standout claimed the victory by way of unanimous decision after a grueling affair at the Shinkiba Studio Coast in Tokyo.

Horie came out kicking Uchimura’s body and legs early on, before shooting and landing a takedown. On the mat, the former UFC fighter effortlessly controlled his opponent, slicing through the guard to move into side control and then hammering blows without much threat of a comeback.

It was in the second round that the veteran in Uchimura started to have his moments. He managed to rattle his younger counterpart in the stand-up trade with persistent combinations of punches.

Horie made an effort to halt the punishing on-feet exchanges by placing the action on the ground again, but Uchimura fought gallantly to return to his feet and stuffed his foe’s ensuing attempts with a series of spinning backfists.

Keisuke Takazawa / MMA Planet

Open scoring

After hearing the announcement that he was down two rounds on the three scorecards through the open-scoring system, Uchimura responded in the third and final frame with the intent to score a knockout, tagging Horie with a plethora of lethal shots.

A hard knee by Uchimura opened a gory gash above the right eye of Horie that caused a brief pause in the bout as the attending physician had to check the gruesome cut.

When the match resumed Horie remained patient but when he got the contest down he kept control of Uchimura’s legs and scored with some serious ground-and-pound.

Keisuke Takazawa / MMA Planet

Title dreams

Throughout the rest of the round, Horie easily shut down Uchimura’s attempts to escape from his clutches with good head position and hip control, cruising to a unanimous decision with the scores reading 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

“I lost in the UFC, but it didn’t break my heart at all. I will work very hard again, so I can return to that stage. It may be difficult considering today’s match results. But I think it was a good experience to be able to fight a strong fighter like Uchimura. Right now, my goal is to become a champion in Pancrase,” Horie said in his native tongue after the fight.

Horie raised his professional record to 9-2 with the hard-earned win over Uchimura, who fell to 17-13-3.

Pancrase 312, Tokyo, February 16th
Yoshinori Horie def. Yojiro Uchimura via  Decision (Unanimous)
Ryo Hatta def. Mijikai Nagai via Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:49 of the second round
Akihiro Murayama def. Yuki Kondo via  Decision (Unanimous)
Taichi Nakajima def. Boris Fedorov via  Decision (Unanimous)
Brady Huang def. Hidekazu Fukushima via  Decision (Unanimous)
Yusuke Ogikubo def. Sarutobi Ryu via  Decision (Unanimous)
Toshiya Takashima def. Yuta Miyazawa via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 0:38 of the second round