Rin Nakai earned her second stoppage victory over Mayumi “Super Benkei” Aoki tonight at Pancrase Progress Tour 10 in Tokyo, Japan. The popular Nakai overwhelmed Aoki with punches in the second round to advance to the final of the inaugural Bantamweight Queen of Pancrase tournament.
Nakai and Aoki first faced off two years ago under the Valkyrie banner, with Nakai prevailing via first-round submission. The rematch began slowly and both fighters were tentative early on, but Nakai took control of the fight on the ground in round two and now moves on to the bantamweight final.
Both Nakai (12-0-1) and Aoki (6-9-0) were extremely cautious in the opening round, to the point where the normally quiet Japanese crowd began to voice its displeasure with the lack of action. Aside from occasional jabs, neither fighter landed anything meaningful until the final 30 seconds of the round when Aoki countered a left hook to the body with a quick flurry. Unsurprisingly, all three ringside judges scored the uneventful opening round 10-10.
Things changed in the second stanza when Nakai began to score with punching combinations. Aoki tried to keep her at bay with leg and body kicks, but Nakai cracked her with a right cross that caused Aoki’s nose to bleed. Time was called to check on the condition of Aoki, but the fight resumed with Aoki throwing more kicks. Nakai caught one and scored a takedown near the ropes. From there, she flurried with punches until Aoki gave up her back and the fight was stopped soon after.
Nakai has now won back-to-back fights this year since returning from a self-imposed hiatus after battling Danielle “The Curse” West to a contentious Split Draw in September. She now moves on to the final of the Bantamweight Queen of Pancrase tournament, which is expected to conclude in December or January. The second semi-final matchup in the tournament will take place in October or November between two yet-to-be-determined opponents.
Winner: Rin Nakai by TKO (Punches) at 3:45 of round two. She improves to 12-0-1 and advances to the finals of the Bantamweight Queen of Pancrase tournament.
(Photo Credit: Valkyrie)