Despite the recent earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan, Pancrase pushed ahead with its “Impressive Tour 2” event on Sunday night in Osaka. Strikeforce veteran and former Smackgirl Middleweight Champion Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano submitted Chisa Yonezawa in a featured bout.
Akano travelled south to Osaka alongside long-time friend and AACC trainer Megumi Fujii, as the pair took the opportunity to move away from the Tokyo region amidst ongoing warnings of radiation leaks from the north. Needing just 40 seconds to defeat Yonezawa, Akano earned her 17th pro victory.
Akano (17-8-0) had been scheduled to face Roxanne Modafferi for Sengoku Raiden Championship on December 30th, but the bout was cancelled at the last minute after Modafferi fell ill. As a result of the earthquake in Japan late last week, it was initially thought that Pancrase would cancel its event, but as the Osaka region was far less affected, the event proceeded as planned and Akano was able to fight.
In Yonezawa (1-4-0), Akano faced a tough but overmatched opponent and needed just 40 seconds to secure a fight-ending armbar. The victory was Akano’s 14th by way of submission. Incredibly, all but one of her submission wins have come via a form of armbar.
Earlier in the evening, a second women’s bout was held pitting “Happy” Fukuko Hamada (6-6-0) against Mamiko Mizoguchi (2-5-1). Hamada rebounded from a pair of decision losses in Valkyrie by stopping Mizoguchi with punches at 4:45 of the second round. The victory was Hamada’s first win by a form of knockout. The five-year veteran has been stopped just once in her career and has battled some of the top strawweights in Japan.
While many other planned mixed martial arts, kickboxing and professional wrestling events in Japan remain postponed or cancelled, Pancrase was able to make the best of a bad situation on Sunday by soldiering on with the second card of their Impressive Tour.
Currently, Pancrase Impressive Tour 3 is set to take place on April 3rd in Tokyo, and is expected to feature a matchup between Valkyrie champion Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi and Pancrase veteran “Windy” Tomomi Sunaba.
(Photo Credit: Jewels blog)