A featherweight bout between Hatsu Hioki and Hiroshige “Hanzo” Tanaka was added to Pancrase 287.
UFC veteran signed with Pancrase last year. Since then he has defeated Kyosuke Yokoyama and Yojiro Uchimura. Hioki is going for his third straight wins after being released from UFC.
Tanaka was a Shooto standout till 2013. He signed with ONE in 2014 and lost to Herbert Burns in an unanimous decision. Then, more than a year later, Tanaka fought Eric Kelly and lost in an unanimous decision as well.
After being released from ONE, Tanaka fought Kazumasa Majima in Shooto but lost this one again via unanimous decision.
In later part of last year, Tanaka signed with Pancrase and beat Uchimura in December and finally got back on a W column.
And, this win gave Tanaka an opportunity to fight Hioki.
Hioki is far more famous than Tanaka in Japan and the world of MMA in general. And, on top of being an UFC vet, Hioki was the Sengoku champion.
This is a big opportunity for Tanaka. For a 35-year old, this maybe the last opportunity to leave some mark in the history of Japanese MMA.
On the other end its difficult to figure out what Hioki is thinking these days.
In November of last year, Hioki opened his own gym for the first time. Its called “Start Japan MMA Jiu-jitsu and Fitness.”
And he is teaching there so Hioki must be busy. But he is also probably a win away from the Pancrase title shot which should give Hioki a motivation to continue fighting.
In Pancrase 285, Nazareno Malegarie defeated Issei Tamura and became the new Pancrase featherweight champ.
So its fair to predict that the winner of this fight is probably going to challenge Maalegarie for the title sometime this year.
Sunday, May 28th, 2017
At Differ Ariake, Tokyo, Japan
Doors Open – 14:30
Fight Starts – 15:00
Confirmed Cards (Subject to Change):
Pancrase Bantamweight Title Match 5 min / 5R
Shintaro Ishiwatari (Japan / CAVE) vs Rafael Silva (Brazil / Astra Fight Team)
Featherweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Hatsu Hioki (Japan / ALIVE) vs Hiroshige “Hanzo” Tanaka (Japan / Shooting Gym Yokohama)
report by Shu Hirata
photo courtesy of Bout Review (www.boutreview.com)