Rin Nakai vs Brenda Gonzales Non-Title Bout Set For Pancrase 247Newly-crowned Bantamweight Queen of Pancrase Rin Nakai will return to action on May 19th at Pancrase 247 in Tokyo, Japan. Nakai faces unbeaten KOTC Junior Flyweight Champion Brenda “Boom Boom” Gonzales in a non-title bantamweight matchup. The bout was officially announced today.

Nakai captured the Pancrase women’s title under dubious circumstances in December by defeating Danielle West in a controversial bout that banned West from winning the fight due to a weight disparity. Gonzales claimed the KOTC title in October and retained the belt with a TKO victory in December.

Nakai (13-0-1) has long been a polarising figure in her home country. The former Valkyrie champion has a dedicated fanbase, but she has also faced criticism at times for her eccentric behaviour and lacklustre performances inside the ring, including in both of her fights with West. Nakai and West first faced off in September 2011 in a closely-contested bout that many observers felt that West had won. However, two judges disagreed and the bout was ruled a Split Draw. Nakai took a hiatus from competition after the fight when Japanese fans began to question her skills and dedication.

In May, Nakai returned to Pancrase and proceeded to pick up stoppage victories in each of her next two fights to set up a rematch with West for the inaugural Bantamweight Queen of Pancrase title. West was unable to make weight for the fight and was deemed ineligble to win the title. Pancrase officials applied additional sanctions that limited which attacks West could use in the fight and ruled that a West victory would be deemed a Draw or a No Contest. Nakai ultimately won a close Unanimous Decision in the rematch to become the first female champion in Pancrase history.

Gonzales (4-0-0) has taken progressive steps up in competition during her young MMA career and she captured the KOTC Junior Flyweight Championship from Sarah “Too Sweet” Alpar with a Unanimous Decision victory in October. The bout marked the first time that Gonzales had ever fought to a decision. The New Mexico native made a quick return to the cage to face veteran Elsie “The Sweetheart” Zwicker in December and retained her KOTC belt with a second-round TKO stoppage. Three of Gonzales’s four victories have come via knockout and she is one of the flyweight division’s top female prospects.

Nakai’s new title will not be on the line in the bout with Gonzales, but both fighters will enter the fight with something to prove. Nakai hopes to move past the controversy that has surrounded her at times in her career by defeating a credible and unbeaten opponent, while Gonzales looks for her biggest victory to date as she moves up in weight to challenge Nakai. A Gonzales victory would likely set up a rematch for the Pancrase title at a later date.

Pancrase 247 takes place on May 19th at Differ Ariake in Tokyo, Japan.



(Photo Credit: GBRing.com)

  1. Brenda Gonzales has done well in her short career so far but this is a big step up for her. If Rin Nakai trains anything like properly for this, she should win comfortably.
    Rin needs better opposition than this if she’s to be taken seriously as a top fighter.

  2. I would love to see Nakai show up in UFC just to see her get destroyed. She is not legit.

    If Gonzales can make 135 than she avoid the shady Japanese and try to join the other top bantamweights in UFC.

  3. Rin was offered contacts by both Strikeforce and Invicta FC and turned down both. She wants to be “the best in Japan,” so she’s staying there. Brenda Gonzales should not have any trouble making 135 because she normally competes at 125. She’s moving up for the fight, rather than down.

  4. Brenda can’t afford to let the fight go to a decision with those judges in Japan and there’s no way she’ll submit Rin so TKO is her is most likely for her but it’s a big ask.
    Rin can get away with timidity, bide her time, wait for the takedown opportunity then win the round by lying on Brenda for a couple of minutes.
    I can only see Rin winning this one.