It wasn’t the knockout that she had hoped for, but former Strikeforce champ Marloes “Rumina” Coenen scored an impressive win tonight at DREAM.18: “Special NYE 2012” in Saitama, Japan. Coenen submitted late-replacement opponent Fiona Muxlow with an armbar in the latter half of round one.
Coenen held a clear advantage in the striking exchanges early in the fight and she landed knees after taking Muxlow down. Muxlow was able to sweep into top position, but Coenen worked for a series of submissions until she was able to secure the fight-ending armbar to earn her 21st career victory.
Coenen (21-5-0) countered early kicks from Muxlow (6-2-0) with crisp right hands and kicks to the body. She trapped Muxlow in a Thai clinch and scored with knees, then dragged Muxlow to the mat. Muxlow survived another barrage of knees and reversed into Coenen’s guard, but Coenen stayed calm and she effortlessly transitioned from submission to submission.
When an initial triangle choke attempt failed to finish the fight, Coenen switched to an armbar and then to a triangle armbar. Muxlow stood up to defend and nearly escaped danger, but Coenen made a quick transition back to an armbar and Muxlow was forced to submit.
Coenen has won four of her past five fights and now holds 15 career wins by tapout.
Winner: Marloes Coenen by Submission (Armbar) at 3:29 of round one. She improves to 21-5-0.
“It’s such a big honour to fight at DREAM’s biggest event on New Year’s Eve,” Coenen said after the event. “My knee is swollen now [from striking], but I’m really happy to fight in Japan again. I wanted to stay standing, but somehow I always end up winning with the armbar. [Muxlow] was good and she can handle punches. I kicked and kneed her hard, but she kept fighting. I think that she is a warrior.
“I started my MMA career here in Japan and I was actually a student then,” Coenen added. “I was 19 years old. I had two amateur fights and two weeks later I was asked to fight at ReMix. I became ReMix champion and it changed my life. I know that many fighters say, ‘I like Japan, I love Japan,’ but for me, Japan changed my life. I have Japanese tattoos on my body. For me, I’m very serious about it.”
When asked if she would like to return to Japan to face some of the country’s top female fighters, Coenen stated that she would definitely be interested in doing so and reflected back upon her pro debut in the country more than 12 years ago.
“I remember that my first fight was a really tough one and then it was off to the ReMix championship tournament,” Coenen recalled. “My first opponent there was a Japanese girl [Mika Harigai] and I beat her quite quickly. Then I fought Becky Levi, who was 105kg. Then, in the final, I had to fight this little Japanese girl [Megumi Yabushita] who was 49kg, and for 15 minutes she threw me all over the ring. That was so tough. I like Japanese fighters because they fight for their home country and never stop.”
Before Coenen fights in Japan again, she is first expected to return to the United States in the coming year to compete for the inaugural Invicta FC Featherweight Championship.
Go Yamamoto contributed to this report.