Mixed martial arts legend Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii makes her return to action against final Valkyrie Featherweight Champion “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi at Vale Tudo Japan 2012 on December 24th in Tokyo. The featured female matchup was officially announced for the Christmas Eve card today.
Fujii has not fought since suffering a contentious decision loss to top-ranked strawweight fighter Jessica “Jag” Aguilar at Bellator 69 in May. The defeat halted Fujii’s three-fight winning streak. Yamaguchi most recently defeated grappling specialist Emi Tomimatsu in a rematch at Jewels: “20th Ring.”
Fujii (25-2-0) has been one of MMA’s premier female fighters for more than five years and she held the top spot in the pound-for-pound rankings until her razor-thin Split Decision loss to Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Gurgel in the final round of the 2010 Bellator 115-pound women’s tournament. Fujii had won all 22 of her fights prior to the loss to Gurgel; a feat matched by only one other MMA fighter, John Strawn. Following the tough loss, Fujii bounced back with wins in each of her next three fights. She returned to Bellator in May and appeared to win two of three rounds against Aguilar, but the judges disagreed and the American Top Team standout was awarded the victory.
In recent months, Fujii has hinted once again at plans for retirement – something that was also under serious consideration prior to the Bellator tournament in 2010 – and the bout with Yamaguchi could potentially be Fujii’s last. In addition to her in-ring career, Fujii continues to train some of Japan’s top female fighters, including Jewels Lightweight Queen Champion Ayaka Hamasaki.
Yamaguchi (10-4-1) became the second and final Valkyrie Featherweight Champion with a shocking 76-second submission of Yuka “Vale Tudo Queen” Tsuji in February 2010. When Valkyrie collapsed nine months later, Yamaguchi moved on to Pancrase and earned two wins before making her Jewels debut. She dropped a Unanimous Decision to South Korean striker Seo Hee Ham in her first fight under the Jewels banner, but rebounded with a win over one of the promotion’s top stars, Mika “Future Princess” Nagano, in her next fight. In July, she posted her second win over Tomimatsu in a rematch from 2007. Yamaguchi is a well-rounded competitor and should pose a solid test for Fujii in 12 days.
Vale Tudo Japan 2012 takes place on December 24th at Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.
Go Yamamoto contributed to this report.