Champion vs. Champion: Isao Kobayashi meets Kuniyoshi Hironaka at PANCRASE 257

Pancrase have today announced a headline act for it’s upcoming show later next month. The main attraction of the evening sees current Lightweight King of Pancrase Isao Kobayashi take on Shooto’s Welterweight (154-lbs) Champion Kuniyoshi Hironaka.

The bout is scheduled to take place March 30th at Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium in Yokohama, Japan.

Isao Kobayashi (14-1-4) a prized student of the Sakaguchi Dojo burst on to the Asian MMA scene back in 2008, winning his debut by overcoming Korea’s Dae Yeon Lee. Since then, Isao has fought his entire career under the bright lights of Pancrase, where he made a name for himself winning the promotions famed Neo-Blood (Lightweight) Tournament.

The young phenom is on one of Asia’s longest winning streaks, having not lost since 2010. In fact, the 25-year-old’s last loss is the only one of his professional career. And that came at the hands of now ONE FC Featherweight Champion Koji Oishi. However, in 2012 the Japanese native redeemed himself by defeating Koji Oishi in a rematch, while at the same time claiming the Lightweight King of Pancrase title.

Last year Kobayashi had a somewhat quiet 2013, having fought Mixed Martial Arts veteran Jorge Patino to a Draw, and then defending his Lightweight crown against top contender Yoshiaki Takahashi. Now on to a new year, Isao looks build on his current win streak, that’s saw Kobayashi accumulate an 8-0-2 record in his last ten outings.

Kuniyoshi Hironaka (22-8) a veteran of the sport for over a decade has competed under the UFC, ZST, DREAM, Valkyrie and VTJ banners. But it’s Shooto where the 37-year-old established himself.

Much like his counterpart, Hironaka hasn’t lost since 2010. Kuniyoshi, who trains out of Academia Az is currently on a 6-fight win streak that includes victories over such names as Kotetsu Boku, Carlo Prater, Takashi Nakakura and Yoshihiro Koyama.

The Mixed Martial Arts veteran makes a return to the promotion, where he last tasted defeat. The Shooto Welterweight Champion now looks to avoid the same fate, and focus on maintaining his win streak when he squares off with Isao Kobayashi later next month.

*PANCRASE 257 plays host to the likes of Guy Delameau, Yuki Baba, Yoshiaki Takahashi, Thiago Goncalves, Eiji Ishikawa and Yoichiro Sato to name a few. The event will also see Kiyotaka Shimizu look defend his Super Flyweight King of Pancrase title against Atsushi Yamamoto, who were suppose to meet earlier last year for the 125-lb strap, but after an injury forced Yamamoto off the card, he now gets a second chance at gold.

Pancrase, 3/30/14
“PANCRASE 257”
Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium
Yokohama, Japan

Lightweight Bout
Isao Kobayashi vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka

Welterweight Bout
Eiji Ishikawa vs. Yoichiro Sato

Super Flyweight Bout: King of Pancrase
Kiyotaka Shimizu vs. Atsushi Yamamoto

Welterweight Bout
Thiago Goncalves vs. Akihiro Murayama

Lightweight Bout
Yoshiaki Takahashi vs. Leandro Silva

Bantamweight Bout: Tournament Finals
Taichi Nakajima vs. Marcio Cesar

Featherweight Bout
Guy Delameau vs. Yuki Baba

Featherweight Bout
Junpei Chikano vs. Tomonari Kanomata

Super Flyweight Bout
Isao Hirose vs. Yusuke Kitago

Bantamweight Bout
Hiroshi Ono vs. Shohei Masumizu

Featherweight Bout
Juntaro Ushiku vs. Yutaka Shimamura

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Photo credit: Mio Sasaki
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Categories: Asian MMA, Featured, Japan, MMA, Pancrase

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