UFC veteran Naoyuki Kotani, one of eight competitors in Pancrase’s 2011 lightweight grand prix, was the lone fighter to miss his mark. The 29-year-old submission specialist tipped the scales at 157.6 pounds for his match with Tomoyoshi Iwamiya (153.6) and will be reweighed on fight day, according to Pancrase officials.
The tournament’s other opening-round matchups will see former King of Pancrase Katsuya Inoue (154.3) meet Kota Okazawa (154.5), Hiroki “AB” Aoki (155) take on Kazuki Tokudome (154.3), and Isao Kobayashi (154.5) welcome incoming Shootor Yukinari “Hibiki” Tamura (153.9).
The lightweight grand prix is scheduled to run through December and will eventually decide a top contender for Pancrase’s new lightweight king, who will also be crowned on Tuesday. Veterans Koji Oishi (154.7) and Daisuke Hanazawa (155) will square off for a third time for the title vacated by Maximo Blanco in early April. Oishi won both previous meetings between the two, with a May 2003 decision and an April 2005 knockout.
Bantamweight King of Pancrase Manabu Inoue (Pictured; 134.9) will defend his title for the first time since being ousted from Sengoku’s 2010 Asia bantamweight tournament. The hard-nosed hybrid wrestler faces Seiya Kawahara (134.2) in a rematch of the first-ever Pancrase bantamweight title bout, which Inoue won via second-round rear-naked choke.
Other bouts of note include Valkyrie 115-pound champion “V.V.” Mei Yamaguchi (114.8) taking on Akiko Naito (114.2) and Shooto standout Shintaro Ishiwatari (134.7) making his Pancrase debut against Tashiro Nishiuchi (134.7).
Pancrase “Impressive Tour 4”
Tuesday, May 3
Lightweight King of Pancrase Title Bout
Koji Oishi (154.7) vs. Daisuke Hanazawa (155)
Bantamweight King of Pancrase Title Bout
Manabu Inoue (134.9) vs. Seiya Kawahara (134.2)
Eiji Ishikawa (169.5) vs. Ichiro Kanai (169.3)
Pancrase 2011 Lightweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals
Hiroki Aoki (155) vs. Kazuki Tokudome (154.3)
Katsuya Inoue (154.3) vs. Kota Okazawa (154.5)
Naoyuki Kotani (157.6)* vs. Tomoyoshi Iwamiya (153.6)
Isao Kobayashi (154.5) vs. Yukinari Tamura (153.9)
Kengo Ura (169.7) vs. Kiichi Kunimoto (169.5)
Shintaro Ishiwatari (134.7) vs. Tashiro Nishiuchi (134.7)
Masahiro Toryu (169) vs. Hiroki Nagaoka (169.3)
Tomonari Kanomata (144.8) vs. Masakazu Takafuji (144.8)
Mei Yamaguchi (114.8) vs. Akiko Naito (114.2)
* Kotani will be re-weighed on fight day.