On Sunday, Oct. 2, one of the world’s longest-running MMA promotions, Pancrase, returned to Differ Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan for Pancrase 281.
In the main event of the evening, welterweight king of Pancrase Akihiro Murayama attempted to defend his title for the first time against WEC veteran Hiromitsu Miura. Murayama finished Shingo Suzuki in the fourth round of their championship fight at Pancrase 276. Miura earned his shot at the title with knockout victories over Toshikazu Suzuki and Yuta Nakamura. Miura is most known for his crazy back-and-forth fight against WEC and UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit at WEC 35.
In the co-main event of the evening, the exciting “Rocky” Ryo Kawamura fought for the vacant middleweight King of Pancrase title against knockout artist Yuki Niimura. Kawamura made his name in the promotion with wins in exciting wars against former UFC fighter Keiichiro Yamamiya and Pride FC veterans Daniel Acácio and Hiromitsu Kanehara. Kawamura became a popular fighter in Japan due to his do-or-die style that led to many exciting victories. Eight of Niimura’s nine wins have come by way of knockout.
The stacked main card featured a lightweight match-up between current DEEP welterweight champion Satoru Kitaoka and UFC veteran Leandro “Macarrão” Mafra. Two-division Shooto world champion Mamoru Yamaguchi took on Bellator vet Luis “Betao” Nogueira. Dream and K-1 Hero’s veteran Atsushi Yamamoto met Pancrase Neo Blood tournament champion Shohei Masumizu. Bellator veteran Nazareno Malegarie returned to the promotion following a huge win over Dream featherweight champion Hiroyuki Takaya. Malegarie took on longtime Japanese MMA veteran Guy Delumeau. Two of the world’s top strawweight prospects collided when Jarred Brooks and Jun Nakamura met in a battle of undefeated fighters. Former UFC veteran Shinichi “Rolling Star” Shimizu fought Japanese-Brazilian up-and-comer Alan Yoshihiro Yamaniha in his return to the promotion. Pancrase Neo Blood tournament champions Masatatsu Ueda and Yusuke Ogikubo met in a battle for positioning in the flyweight division, and exciting strikers Seiji “OZ” Ozuka and Takuya Eizumi clashed in the strawweight division.
The event aired live at 2 a.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.