Bellator veteran Jessica Penne will make her Shoot Boxing debut in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday against two-time Girls S-Cup champion Rena Kubota. The promotion officially announced the late addition to the card today and MMARising.com confirmed that Penne will depart for Japan this week.
Penne last competed in MMA in November when she submitted Amy “Lil’ Dynamite” Davis. The win got Penne back on track after her lone career defeat against Bellator champ Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Gurgel. Kubota, meanwhile, earned a second-round knockout in shoot boxing last month.
Penne (8-1-0 MMA) entered last year’s Bellator 115-pound women’s tournament, but opted to make the drop down to 105 pounds following her decision defeat against Gurgel. Her debut as a strawweight was a success, as she controlled the bout with Davis on the ground before securing a rear-naked choke late in the first round. While inactive since the bout with Davis, Penne has worked on developing her skills at the Reign Training Center, and she will need to adapt to the unique rules used in shoot boxing matches. Penne’s height and reach could prove to be beneficial in both striking and in securing high-arc throws, which earn points in shoot boxing competitions.
Kubota, who sports a combined record of 16-4-1 in kickboxing and shoot boxing, became Girls S-Cup champion in both 2009 and 2010. In doing so, she quickly became the postergirl for the promotion and engaged in a series of televised exhibition matches, including an April bout this year with 2011 Girls S-Cup winner Erika Kamimura. The 20-year-old is poised to face Kamimura again in November, but has recently entertained thoughts of retirement. An upset loss to the debuting Penne would be a significant setback for Kubota, who knocked out “Muay Thai Idol” Zaza Sor Aree with a punch to the body in her return to Shoot Boxing last month.
The bout between Penne and Kubota is expected to serve as the co-main event of “Shoot Boxing 2011: Act 4,” which takes place this Saturday, September 10th, at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.