Yoshiki Takahashi and Yuji Sakuragi delivered.
They fulfilled the expectation of the fans and the promoter.
Everyone was hoping to see them engage in a brawl and that is what they did.
Right from the start, Takahashi solicited with few jabs, and Sakuragi responded with punches. From there, both fighters threw hard right-left hook combinations but only sliced the air.
They continued to throw bombs but nothing significant landed for the first few minutes. About a midway through the round Takahashi shot in for a single leg, then stood up quickly threw punches but Sakuragi wobbled 43-year old with a countered right-hook.
The ending came in at the very last second of the first round.
Both fighters unleashed a hard left hook and Sakuragi's forearm landed squarely on Takahashi's right chin and basically, it was all over.
Takahashi went down hard, Sakuragi chased with punches but UFC / PRIDE vet couldn't respond and a referee stepped in quickly to stop the fight.
From Pancrase to UFC to PRIDE, Takahashi always stood up and threw bombs.
That is why everyone remembers him as a brawler, an exciting fighter.
However his background is freestyle wrestling.
He is good at shooting in taking people down. Not necessary throwing punches.
Yet he chose to stand and brawl.
Instead of taking the opponent down, secure himself in a top position then throw punches, Takahashi took a risk exchanged leathers.
That's probably because he is from the era of Japanese MMA where putting up an exciting fight is hell of a more important than winning a fight.
As a fighter that was promoting a new sport called MMA and new promotion named Pancrase Takahashi had more important thing to do than winning.
And it seems like he is going to insist on this role till end of his career.
PANCRASE 2012 PROGRESS TOUR
Sunday, August 5th, 2012
At Differ Ariake, Tokyo, Japan, 14：45 - 15：30
The Main Event - Light-heavyweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Yoshiki Takahashi (Japan / D-ONE Gym) vs. Yuji Sakuragi (Japan / Seiken Kaikan)
Winner: 1R 4'59 Yuji Sakuragi by KO (left hook)
Co-Main Event- Bantamweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Sojiro Orui (Japan / TRIBE TOKYO M.M.A.) vs. Akihiro Murayama (Japan / GUTSMAN)
Winner: 3R Draw (30-29, 29-29, 29-29)
10th Match - Lightweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Kazuki Tokudome (Japan / Paraestra Hachiouji) vs. Kengo "URAKEN" Ura (Japan / Team ura-ken)
Winner: 3R Kazuki Tokudome by Decision (30-29, 30-29, 30-28)
9th Match - Featherweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Jon Shores (USA / Rodeo Style) vs. Guy Delumeau (USA / GUTSMAN)
Winner: 3R Jon Shores by Decision (30-29, 30-29, 30-29)
8th Match - Flyweight Title Match Qualifier 5 min / 3R
Takuya Eizumi (Japan / Bumon-kai) vs. Masakazu Utsuki (Japan / Paraestra Furukawa)
Winner: 1R 3'56" Masakazu Utsuki by TKO (soccer kick to the head)
7th Match - Lightweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Yoshiaki "Bancho" Takahashi (Japan / Paraestra Hachiouji) vs. Juntaro Ami (Japan / Wajiutsu Keishukai AKZA)
Winner: 2R Yoshiaki "Bancho" Takahashi by Decision (20-18, 20-17, 20-18)
6th Match - Lightweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Takafumi Ito (Japan / Pancrase-ism) vs. Tomoyoshi Iwamiya (Japan / Takada Dojo)
Winner: 2R Draw (20-19, 19-19, 20-20)
5th Match - Featherweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Nao "King" (Japan / CORE) vs. Youjiro Uchimura (Japan / ingram)
Winner: 1R 0'56" Youjito Uchimura by TKO (towel thrown - right hook)
4th Match - Welterweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Hiroki Nagaoka (Japan / Dobuita) vs Kosei Kubota (Japan / Sakaguchi Dojo
Winner: 2R Kosei Kubota by Decision (20-20, 19-20, 19-20)
3rd Match - Welterweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Akihiro Yamazaki (Japan / SUBMITA Shizuoka) vs Shigeaki Kusuyanagi (Japan / Freelance)
Winner: 2R Akihiro Yamazaki by Decision (20-18, 19-19, 20-18)
2nd Match - Super-flyweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Daichi Kitakata (Japan / Pancrase Inagaki-gumi) vs Yusuke Ogikubo (Japan / K-Place Saitama)
Winner: 2R 3'26" Daichi Kitakata by TKo (referee stoppage - g n p)
1st Match - Bantamweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Yuki Baba (Japan / Rodeo Style) vs Takumi Shimazaki (Japan / Wrestle-One)
Winner: 2R Yuki Baba by Decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18)
Report by Shu Hirata
Photo courtesy of GBR (grbing.com)