Pancrase, ONE Championship enter exclusive partnership

Andy Hata (leftmost), Masakazu Sakai (rightmost) (© ONE Championship)
Andy Hata (leftmost), Masakazu Sakai (rightmost) (© ONE Championship)

14 March 2019 – Tokyo, Japan: The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), has just announced that it will be an exclusive partner of Japanese martial arts organization Pancrase. Following a similar partnership announced in January with Shooto, this partnership will likewise see ONE Championship work together with Pancrase to provide Pancrase athletes the opportunity to showcase their martial arts talents and further develop their skills on a global platform.

Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, stated: “Following our partnership with Shooto, ONE Championship is excited to offer the same opportunity to Pancrase athletes and World Champions to compete on the world’s largest stage for martial arts. We are fully committed to developing Japan’s martial arts ecosystem from the amateur up to the professional level. Our partnership with Pancrase once again marks the world’s top martial arts organizations coming together to create a new era of martial arts in Japan.”

Masakazu Sakai, President of Pancrase, stated: “Pancrase is excited to announce our partnership with ONE Championship, which will help to raise the profile of our athletes, as well as provide them with greater development opportunities on a global stage. We believe that this partnership is the start of a long-term relationship with ONE Championship, and we look forward to shaping the future of martial arts both in and outside Japan together.”

Under the terms of the partnership, all Professional Pancrase World Champions will receive the opportunity to compete in ONE Championship, the world’s largest martial arts organization. Athletes who compete in Pancrase’s Neo-Blood Tournament will also receive the opportunity to compete in ONE Championship’s ONE Warrior Series. In addition, select amateur Pancrase athletes will receive the opportunity to train at Evolve MMA in Singapore for a year.

Pancrase has already produced a number of ONE Championship’s top Japanese athletes. This includes Yuya Wakamatsu, a Pancrase Flyweight Champion who will be facing off against 12-time Flyweight World Champion Demetrious Johnson in the upcoming ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix taking place at ONE: A NEW ERA on March 31 at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan. Other Pancrase World Champions that are currently competing in ONE Championship include Daichi Abe, a former Pancrase Welterweight World Champion, and Kazuki Tokudome, a former Pancrase Lightweight World Champion.

Evolve MMA is Asia’s No. 1 martial arts training facility boasting of a world-class instructor team which features the most number of World Champions available anywhere in the world in martial arts disciplines such as Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, and boxing, among others. It is the largest and most experienced martial arts team in Asia with over 1,000 years of World Championship experience collectively.

Pancrase is a mixed martial arts organization founded in Japan in 1993 by professional wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki, with the origin of its name based on pankration, a form of combat sport in the Ancient Olympic Games. Pancrase combines various forms of martial arts, including wrestling, judo, boxing, sambo, karate, kenpo, jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai. Pancrase has produced some of the world’s top martial artists, including Yuki Kondo, Bas Rutten, Josh Barnett, Ken Shamrock and Frank Shamrock. Pancrase has since become one of the most popular and well-established martial arts organizations both within and outside Japan.

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Ex-Pancrase champ Kazuki Tokudome joins ONE Championship

Fighting out of Tokyo, Japan, former Pancrase Lightweight Champion Kazuki Tokudome, 31, will make her ONE Championship debut on July 13, 2018. A match between him and a former ONE Featherweight World Champion has been booked for the “ONE: Pursuit of Power” card, which will take place at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tokudome will compete in the featherweight division at “ONE: Pursuit of Power” against Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa, 42, of Ulaangom, Mongolia. It will be the seventh bout of the evening.

“ONE Championship returns to the Axiata Arena this 13 July for another blockbuster evening of world-class martial arts action,” ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong stated. “We have an amazing event planned for fans in Kuala Lumpur, as our ONE Championship athletes get ready to electrify the stadium with dazzling performances.”

“In the main event, Malaysia’s very own Agilan ‘Alligator’ Thani takes on Zebaztian ‘The Bandit’ Kadestam in a welterweight contest,” Sityodtong also announced. “Also, Jo Nattawut will face Yohann Fairtex Drai in a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest.”

Aside from Tokudome, there is another Japanese contender making his ONE Championship debut at “ONE: Pursuit of Power.” Kota “Genjin” Shimoishi, 31, of Osaka, Japan will compete in the lightweight division against Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton, 36, of Costa Rica.

Shimoishi competed mostly in Deep and in one Pancrase bout while Tokudome competed mostly in Pancrase and in four Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts. The two are among the most highly touted MMA fighters in Japan today.

With a background in multiple martial arts disciplines including Judo, Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing, Tokudome is training out of Paraestra Hachioji and owns a professional mixed martial arts record of 18 wins, 8 losses and 1 draw. Included in his 18 victories are nine wins by knockout and three by submission.

On the other hand, Jadambaa has 13 wins and 5 losses. “ONE: Pursuit of Power” marks his eighth ONE Championship bout. In his last bout, which was at “ONE: Pinnacle of Power,” he finished top featherweight contender Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly, 33, of the Philippines via second-round technical knockout.

Here is a “ONE: Pinnacle of Power” recap:

Ticket information for ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER available at

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