Former Smackgirl Middleweight Champion Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano has agreed to a three-fight deal with ProElite. The submission specialist is expected to face 2004 Olympic silver medallist in freestyle wrestling Sara McMann at ProElite 3 on January 21, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
A source close to the negotiations confirmed the news with MMARising.com early today. Akano has won three of her past four fights, with the lone defeat coming against Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate last year. McMann remains unbeaten and won her ProElite debut in August.
Akano (18-8-0) has battled many of the sport’s top female fighters at 135 pounds during her seven-year career. Her résumé includes victories over rivals Takayo Hashi, Hiroko Yamanaka, Carina Damm and Roxanne Modafferi. Of her 14 submission wins, 13 have come via a form of armbar and Akano’s ground game remains among the best in her division. The Megumi Fujii protégé has been stopped only once, in a 2009 bout with a much larger Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, who later went on to capture the Strikeforce women’s featherweight title. Akano brings a significant experience advantage into her ProElite debut with McMann, who has fought just four times as a professional.
McMann (4-0-0) made her long-awaited pro debut in late May after a number of planned bouts fell apart at the last minute. She scored a first-round submission in her debut and returned to action just three weeks later by stopping Julie Malenfant in 32 seconds at BlackEye Promotions 4. Maintaining a very active schedule, McMann took a big step up in competition to face veteran wrestler Tonya Evinger for Titan Fighting Championship in late July. She passed the test with flying colours and defeated Evinger by Unanimous Decision. McMann most recently submitted Raquel Pa’aluhi in the third round of a spirited bout at ProElite 1 in August.
The bout between Akano and McMann will be contested at 135 pounds and will be a featured part of the ProElite 3: “Grove vs Minowa” card. The event takes place on January 21, 2012 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
(Photo Credit: Jewels blog)