Rin Nakai Stays Unbeaten, Upsets Tara LaRosa At Pancrase 252Bantamweight Queen of Pancrase Rin Nakai battled back from adversity to score the biggest win of her career tonight at Pancrase 252 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Nakai’s strong final round was enough to propel her to a Majority Decision win over Tara LaRosa in a non-title fight on the card.

After a close and competitive first round, LaRosa rocked Nakai with a right cross early in the second stanza and she took the round on one judge’s scorecard. Nakai secured a takedown in round three and she scored with ground and pound and submission attempts en route to a huge victory.


Nakai (15-0-1) circled on the outside and landed leg kicks in the opening round while LaRosa (21-4-0) established her jab and looked to counter with right hands. LaRosa pressed the action and Nakai stopped her forward momentum by tying LaRosa up in the clinch. LaRosa landed knees and broke free. Nakai landed more leg kicks before the end of the round, which was scored 10-10 by all three judges.

In the second round, Nakai once again scored with early leg kicks, but LaRosa cracked her with a hard counter right hook. Nakai stumbled and nearly fell, but she managed to clinch and recovered. She used a double-leg takedown to get LaRosa down and took her back. LaRosa shook Nakai off, but Nakai got back control once more. She tried for a rear-naked choke before the bell. One judge scored the round 10-9 for LaRosa due to the early damage, while the remaining two had it even at 10-10.

Round three began with right hands from LaRosa and Nakai kicked from a distance. She took LaRosa down and used hammerfist strikes to set up a move to side control. From there, Nakai worked for a kimura and landed some solid ground and pound. She stayed on top and continued to score with punches as time ticked down. LaRosa swept late in the fight and Nakai attempted an armbar.

After three hard-fought rounds, Nakai’s late-fight rally proved to be just enough to earn her the victory. Judge Wada scored the final round 10-8 in Nakai’s favour for a 30-28 scorecard. Judges Tomiyama and Kosuge both had it 10-9 Nakai for final scorecards of 30-29 and 29-29, respectively.

Nakai has faced heavy criticism for lacklustre performances in past fights, but her win over LaRosa tonight solidified her place as a contender in the bantamweight division.

Winner: Rin Nakai by Majority Decision (30-28, 30-29, 29-29) after three rounds. She improves to 15-0-1.



(Photo Credit: GBRing.com)

  1. when oh when will the UFC or Invicta get Rin into the cage?
    We need to see this lday in acition on the big stage

  2. Tara LaRosa is not the same… if you count her TUF fight, she has lost three in a row now.

  3. So that judging seems incredibly biased. Rin is basically getting a free point every round before the round starts in a three round fight. Opponent wins a rounds scored a 10-10. Rin wins a round scored a 10-8. Can someone tell me how this is not a mockery?

  4. Is Sarah Moras a legitimate contender in the bantamweight division? Because she beat Tara LaRosa much easier than Rin did. Let’s be honest, Tara should retire.

    If Rin wants to prove she just isn’t a fetish model, sign with UFC and face the best. She can even fight in Japan when UFC does shows there in 2014.

  5. Nakai cut no weight for BW, she should fight at least at FLW facing brazilians and others …
    Same as Kyra Gracie should be a FLW or even SW in MMA …

    huge win, but really LaRosa is totally over the hill and out of her prime, kudos she was a real pioneer …

  6. Isn’t Nakai a bit heavier?

    I believe she fought at 145 lbs. before.

    Two or three years ago, LaRosa’s walk-around weight was 134 lbs. Not sure anymore.

  7. Rin originally fought at 125, then moved up in weight for open-weight bouts in Valkyrie, but she was usually no higher than about 142. She weighed in at 133 for this fight. She could easily make 125 again.

  8. Pancrase judging may be biased but this was a solid win for Nakai. LaRosa landed just one good shot in the fight and was totally dominated on the ground. There was no justification for the judges to do anything but give the decision to Nakai.
    Nakai also through lots of kicks this time round which is something she hadn’t been doing. She was clearly the better of the two on the night.

  9. I disagree. First round was easy 10-9 Tara. Clean punches count more than leg kicks that are not damaging. Second round 10-9 Tara. Literally nothing happened in this round except Rin getting tagged and dropped on the feet. Rin did nothing but stall with the back mount. 10-9 Rin third round with Rin losing the first 2 minutes on the feet, getting a take down and submission attempt to end the round. Not a hard fight to score at all.

  10. Many Japanese fighters don’t want to fight in America because it’s “not clean”. Those women are basically dudes. Rin won’t fight in America. She’s buff, but she’s not on roids.

  11. In Japan, MMA is more about “martial arts”. If you can SLOW your attacker with vicious leg kicks, then you’ve done more damage. How can you tell if a few punches to the face did any damage if your opponent keeps going as if nothing happened?

  12. The only definitive round in this fight was the 3rd.. and it was 10-9 Nakai, not 10-8. I swear I saw Tara tap with just over a minute left. The first two rounds were very close and I had them split. This was a tough one to score and an MD for Nakai it absolutely fair.

  13. Under Pancrase rules the Judging criteria prioritises in order, 1. Damage and Sub attempts, Nakai tore LaRosa`s shoulder and I also thought she may have tapped. 2. Dominance including effective TDs control and 3. Aggressiveness.

    Round 1. was scored a draw, frequent in JMMA. Rnd 2. saw Rin score 2TDs and be effective from the top, 1 Judge still scored it for LaRosa based purely on the fact she rocked Rin. Rnd 3 Rin dominated, controlled, was aggressive, attempted a sub and did damage, winning the round won her the fight.