Will Chope will be back in MMA action on Aug. 9 when he takes on Isao Kobayashi at Pancrase 269. The bout is set for the Differ Ariake Arena in Tokyo and pits the UFC veteran against the organization’s former lightweight champion.
Chope (24-7) was cut from the UFC in 2014 after details of a bad conduct discharge from the U.S. Navy emerged. Since then, the 24-year-old has won five fights out of six and was scheduled to face former WEC champion Miguel Torres at Rebel FC recently.
Unfortunately, that fight was cancelled at the last minute when Chope missed weight by 1 pound, but he will continue competing at 145 pounds and is hoping to work his way into a shot at reigning featherweight King of Pancrase and fellow UFC vet Nam Phan.
Kobayashi (17-2-4) dropped down to 145 pounds for the first time last year, but saw an undefeated streak that stretched all the way back to 2010 snapped when he dropped a unanimous decision to Kazunori Yokota at Deep’s new Year’s Eve event.
Kobayashi bounced back to beat Bellator and Pancrase veteran Marlon Sandro by split decision earlier this year and a second successive win in the145-pound division would put him in pole position for a shot at Phan’s title.
The card features a title fight in the 115-pound division when Hiroyuki Abe (12-7) and Masakazu Utsugi (8-7-2) meet in the finals of a four-man tournament which was originally scheduled for Pancrase 264 but had to be postponed due to injury.
There will also be two undefeated Japanese prospects in action as Kento Kanbe (8-0) faces Tatsuya So (13-12-4) in the 115-pound division and Kenta Takagi (13-10) takes on Takashi Sato (8-0) in a welterweight clash.
The card currently consists of 26 fights and features UFC veteran Issei Tamura (7-7), who will be hoping to snap a five-fight losing streak against Hikaru Hasumi (8-6-1), and former Shooto 123-pound champion Mamoru Yamaguchi (27-9-5), who faces Yusuke Kitago (13-10-1).
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