Shintaro Ishiwatari (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

Pancrase 273: Ishiwatari vs. Henry Preview and Predictions

If you’re looking for a little dessert after this busy weekend in combat sports, turn your television, computer or wireless device to UFC Fight Pass for Pancrase 273.

Just as the main event of the weekend between José Aldo and Conor McGregor at UFC 194 comes to an end, some of the most spectacular Japanese mixed martial arts will be getting underway. Pancrase returns to Differ Ariake in Tokyo on Sunday, Dec. 13, for Pancrase 273: Ishiwatari vs. Henry.

If you missed the last Pancrase event on Fight Pass, you missed an incredible event filled with great fights and finishes culminating in two of Japan’s best lightweights putting on a show in the main event. Former UFC fighter Kazuki Tokudome had to knock out the lightweight King of Pancrase Satoru Kitaoka twice, once in the first round and then again in the fourth frame of the scheduled five-round title affair.


Two titles are on the line at Pancrase 273.

The main event of the evening features bantamweight King of Pancrase Shintaro Ishiwatari looking to defend his title against the surging American prospect Victor Henry. Ishiwatari has kept the bantamweight title for the past four years, losing just once inside the promotion in a closely contested decision against The Ultimate Fighter 12 winner Jonathan Brookins. Henry has been proving fight after fight that he is ever improving and hungry for his first major regional title after staying unbeaten in four trips to Japan.

In the evening’s co-headliner, strawweight prospects battle for the strawweight King of Pancrase title. The unbeaten 19-year-old super prospect Kent Kanbe will seek his 10th career win against a man who has gone unbeaten since losing in his pro debut. Yukitaka Musashi has won six straight in his eight-fight unbeaten run. This prospect battle is a match-up of Neo-Blood Tournament winners.

Former 57-kilogram King of Pancrase Kiyotaka Shimizu and former Shooto bantamweight champion Ryuichi Miki are featured in a battle of flyweight fighters hoping for a call from the UFC. Shimizu would like to shake off a disappointing three-fight skid in which he suffered all of his losses by way of split decision. Miki won in his promotional debut at Pancrase 270 following a career spent primarily fighting inside the Shooto promotion.

Former interim featherweight King of Pancrase Takumi Nakayama takes on UFC veteran and 2008 Shooto Rookie Tournament MVP Issei Tamura. Nakayama is a former King of the Cage lightweight champion who began his MMA career 15 years ago. Tamura ended his five-fight skid, including losses to T.J. Dillashaw and Raphael Assunção, with a win over Hikaru Hasumi at Pancrase 269 in August.

Former Shooto two-division champion Mamoru Yamaguchi makes a stylin’ return to the Pancrase cage against promotional veteran Yuki Yasunaga. The man with the afro will be looking to earn a shot at Mitsuhisa Sunabe’s title with his third win in four fights. Yasunaga has won three straight fights and is hoping to finally break into title contention with a victory over a Japanese MMA legend.

Former middleweight King of Pancrase Ryo Kawamura returns to the organization to stave off Brazilian prospect Givago Francisco in the first of two Japan vs. Brazil match-ups. Kawamura will return for the first time since losing his title to UFC welterweight Shinsho Anzai. Kawamura has a flair for the dramatic, so don’t blink when “Rambo” fights the 23-year-old “Giba” to move his record against Brazilians to three wins with just two defeats.

The rivalry has been highlighted during recent Pancrase events and the battle between Gabriel Miranda and tough veteran Hiroki Nagaoka continues the newly minted tradition. Nagaoka has had a great stretch as of late, winning five of his past six bouts. The 25-year-old “Fly” has composed an eight-fight winning streak of his own heading into the contest.

Four more fights finish out the UFC Fight Pass main card. 2013 Neo Blood Tournament finalist Satoshi Inaba takes on fellow Neo Blood finalist Kohei Tokeshi. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto’s cousin, Atsushi Yamamoto, looks to return to the win column against Senzo Ikeda after a tough stretch of luck. Battle-tested middleweight Ikkei Nagamura takes on New Zealand’s Bob Armstrong. Welterweights battle as 29-year-old American Eric Michael Fought takes on up-and-coming prospect Takashi Sato, who began his career with eight consecutive wins before a loss in his last bout.

Pancrase 273 streams live on UFC Fight Pass at 2 a.m. ET on Sunday morning.

Fight Prediction
Bantamweight King of Pancrase: Shintaro Ishiwatari (19-6-4) vs. Victor Henry (11-1) Ishiwatari by fourth-round knockout
Strawweight King of Pancrase: Kento Kambe (9-0) vs. Yukitaka Musashi (7-1-1) Kanbe by second-round submission
FLW: Kiyotaka Shimizu (16-12-3) vs. Ryuichi Miki (17-9-4) Shimizu by decision
FW: Issei Tamura (8-7) vs. Takumi Nakayama (19-15-6) Tamura by decision
FLW: Mamoru Yamaguchi (28-9-5) vs. Yuki Yasunaga (12-8-1) Yamaguchi by decision
MW: Ryo Kawamura (16-9-4) vs. Givago Francisco (6-1) Kawamura by second-round knockout
LW: Hiroki Nagaoka (22-19-12) vs. Gabriel Miranda (9-2) Nagaoka by decision
FW: Satoshi Inaba (14-10-3) vs. Kohei Tokeshi (7-5-1) Inaba by decision
FLW: Atsushi Yamamoto (18-9-3) vs. Senzo Ikeda (7-5-1) Yamamoto by decision
MW: Ikkei Nagamura (12-6-2) vs. Bob Armstrong (5-2) Nagamura by first-round knockout
WW: Takashi Sato (8-1) vs. Eric Michael Fought (4-3-3) Sato by second-round submission