Competing for the first time since September, Rin Nakai kept her unbeaten record intact with a quick victory tonight at Pancrase Progress Tour 6 in Koza, Okinawa, Japan. Nakai submitted pro wrestling veteran Kyoko Kimura with a first-round armbar in the night’s bantamweight co-main event.
Okinawa’s first female mixed martial artist, Kikuyo Ishikawa, bounced back from a decision loss in December by defeating a game but overmatched Shino VanHoose. Ishikawa overwhelmed her 16-year-old opponent with kicks and strong ground and pound en route to a Unanimous Decision win.
Nakai (11-0-1) and Kimura (2-1-1) traded jabs early in their featured fight and Kimura had success with leg kicks. A counterpunch sent Kimura to the mat and Nakai took top position in side control. She moved to knee-on-belly and landed punches, then looked to set up an Achilles lock. Kimura attempted to scramble to her feet, but Nakai kept her pinned down and passed to mount. From there, she landed punches to set up an armbar and Kimura was forced to submit.
After the bout, Nakai thanked the Okinawan audience and commended her opponent for her strength. Nakai campaigned for a Pancrase Athena women’s title fight in the future, though a potential opponent was not named.
Winner: Rin Nakai by Submission (Armbar) at 4:32 of round one. She improves to 11-0-1.
With the hometown crowd on her side, Ishikawa (7-3-0) set the tone early on by showcasing her impressive arsenal of kicks. She scored with front kicks to the body of VanHoose (3-1-0) and threw head kicks that partially landed. Ishikawa was able to get the fight to the mat, where she had even more success. From the top in half-guard, Ishikawa landed numerous punches as VanHoose did her best to defend. VanHoose was able to block and deflect some of Ishikawa’s strikes, but the Okinawa native was too much for her teenage opponent.
The two-round bout ultimately went to the judges, who were united in awarding the victory to Ishikawa. The 28-year-old has won five of her past six fights and is one of the most improved female fighters in Japan since making her pro debut in November 2008. Despite the defeat, VanHoose remains one of the sport’s top young female prospects.
Winner: Kikuyo Ishikawa by Unanimous Decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18) after two rounds. She improves to 7-3-0.
(Photo Credit: Valkyrie)