Isao Kobayashi, the Pancrase featherweight champion, has joined Bellator MMA, the organisation declared on Monday.
The 34-year-old native of Osaka, Japan, will be working for the California-based company for the second time. In his two bouts with Bellator between 2015 and 2016, he lost to Goiti Yamauchi and Justin Lawrence. Kobayashi will be a part of every Bellator event that is live aired on U-Next in Japan.
“This will be my second contract with Bellator, and I didn’t get the results I wanted last time, so I’ll be there to show I am a new fighter and string the wins together,” Kobayashi said. “I’m out to give everything and make a championship run in Bellator.
“I’ve fought in Pancrase for the majority of my career. I’m grateful to Pancrase for my two championship runs and also for allowing me to spread my wings.
Kobayashi will make his Bellator comeback on the wave of a six-match winning streak. He successfully defended the featherweight title at Pancrase 321 by defeating Taichi Nakajima in five rounds. Over the course of a career that began in 2008, he has amassed a record of 27-5-2.
Bellator president Scott Coker said in a release: “Since his last stint with Bellator, Kobayashi has been tearing through competition culminating in a Pancrase championship win now and we’re looking forward to seeing him back in the Bellator cage.”