For almost last seven years or also, so many Japanese lightweights had a problem with Satoru Kitaoka's grappling power.
Kitaoka was so good at pushing the opponent to the cage, score a take down, often with a single-leg, and keeping the top position. Not necessary the most exciting fight style but he was beating everyone in Japan with this tactic. Exception of Shinya Aoki and Mizuto Hirota, since May 2008, Kitaoka has been undefeated against Japanese fighters.
But finally, Kazuki Tokudome stopped him in the headliner of Pancrase 271.
UFC veteran exactly knew what to do to beat Kitaoka. Stay on your feet and stick with the striking game. In order for Tokudome to execute this, he needed to maintain his own range and avoid being taken down. And that's what Tokudome did.
Right from the beginning, after few fakes, Kitaoka shot in but Tokudome moved well, and stuck right jabs. Kitaoka, again, tried to close in, this time, with a right hook. Tokudome countered this with a left straight to the chin and Kitaoka hit the canvas. Tokudome chased with punches. For a moment, Kitaoka looked like he was gone but somehow came back, caught Tokudome into his guard and survived.
From there it was basically all Tokudome though.
Sure, two out of three judges gave to Kitaoka the second round but overall, Tokudome kept this fight on the feet and dominated. Kitaoka spent too much energy trying to take Tokudome so by the third round Kitaoka visibly looked spent, and slowed down. From this point on, Kitaoka became Tokudome's target practice. Especially left straight punches of Tokudome were just too much for Kitaoka.
And in the fourth round, again, Tokudome landed a left straight. Kitaoka went down. Tokudome followed with ground and pound and it was all over.
In the post-fight interview, Tokudome said, "I have trained so hard for this fight because Kitaoka was the opponent. I am going to defend this title and would like to go back to UFC. When I started to train martial arts, Kitaoka was already one of top fighters, so for me to be able to fight him, in the promotion like Pancrase, this was a big plus for me."
Sunday, November 1st, 2015
At Differ Ariake, Tokyo, Japan
The Main Event – King of Pancrase Lightweight Title Bout 5 min / 5R
Satoru Kitaoka (Japan / Lotus) vs Kazuki Tokudome (Japan / Paraestra Hachiouji)
Winner: 4R 1'24" Kazuki Tokudome by KO (left straight followed by g n p)
Co-Main – King of Pancrase Light-Flyweight Title Bout 5 min / 5R
Mitsuhisa Sunabe (Japan / reversaL Gym OKINAWA vs LINE) vs Hiroyuki Abe (Japan / Dragon Tail Gym)
Winner: 5R Mitsuhisa Sunabe by Decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48)
11th Match – Flyweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Masatatsu Ueda (Japan / ) vs Rildeci Lima Dias (Brazil / Naldao Team)
Winner: 2R 4'28" Rildeci Liima Dias by Submission (rear naked choke)
10th Match – Bantamweight Bout 3 min / 3R
Masakatsu Ueda (Japan / Paraestra Tokyo) vs Kosuke "Coro" Terashima (Japan / Wajiutsu Keishu-kai TLive)
Winner: 3R Masakatsu Ueda by Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
9th Match – Bantamweight Bout 3 min / 3R
Yuki Baba (Japan / Rodeo Style) vs Luis Alberto Nogueira (Brazil / Renovacao Fight Team)
Winner: 4R 1'15" Luis Alberto Nogueira by TKO (referee stoppage – slam)
8th match – Strawweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Takuya Eizumi (Japan / Bumon-kai) vs Shinya Murofushi (Japan / SUBMIT MMA)
Winner: 3R Shinya Murofushi by Decision (27-30, 27-30, 27-30)
7th Match – Open-weight Bout 3 min / 3R
Yuki Sora (Japan / Pancrase-ism) vs Kenji Kawaguchi (Japan / Shooting Gym Yokohama)
Winner: 1R 1'53" Yuki Sora by KO (right hook)
6th Match – Welterweight Bout 3 min / 3R
Hiromitsu Miura (Japan / SAMURAI SWORD – RINGS) vs KAZZ (Japan / GRABAKA)
Winner: 3R 0'48" Hiromitsu Miura by TKO (referee stoppage)
5th Match – Flyweight Bout 3 min / 3R
Senzo (Japan / FREEDOM@OZ) vs Nobuki Fujii (Japan / ALLIANCE)
Winner: 3R Senzo by Decision 29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
4th Match – Featherweight Bout 3 min / 3R
Akitoshi Tamura (Japan / Tsudanuma Dojo) vs Kyosuke Yokoyama (Japan / KRAZY BEE)
Winner: 3R Kyosuke Yokoyama by Decision (28-29, 29-28, 28-29)
3rd Match – Bantamweight Bout 3 min / 3R
Daiki Gojima (Japan / GUTSMAN) vs Alan "Hiro" Yamaniha (Brazil / TS GYM)
Winner: 3R Alan "Hiro" Yamaniha by Decision (2829, 29-28, 28-29)
2nd Match – Lightweight Bout 3 min / 3R
Juntaro Ami (Japan / AKZA) vs Atsushi Ueda (Japan / Yano Takumi Dojo)
Winner: 3R Juntaro Ami by Decisin (30-27, 27-30, 27-30)
1st Match – Featherweight Bout 3 min / 3R
Kazushi Sugiyama (Japan / TURNING POINT MMA) vs Yuki Nakahara (Japan / Mach Dojo)
Winner: 3R Yuki Nakahara by Decision (27-30, 27-30, 27-30)
Report by Shu Hirata
Photo courtesy of Bout Review (www.boutreview.com)