Bantamweight Queen of Pancrase Rin Nakai is set to take on her toughest opponent to date on September 29th at Pancrase 252: “20th Anniversary” in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Nakai will face former BodogFight champion Tara LaRosa in a bantamweight bout that was officially announced today.
Nakai is coming off of a first-round submission victory over King of the Cage titleholder Brenda “Boom Boom” Gonzales in May. Long-time contender LaRosa’s three-fight winning streak was snapped in her October Invicta FC debut. Officials did not specify whether Nakai’s belt would be on the line.
Nakai (14-0-1) became the inaugural Bantamweight Queen of Pancrase Champion in December when she defeated Danielle “The Honey Badger” West in a controversial rematch at Pancrase Progress Tour 14. Pancrase came under fire from fans and media due to a number of last-minute rule changes that prevented West from being eligible to win the fight as a result of her inability to make weight. On May 19th, Nakai picked up a crucial victory when she took advantage of a Gonzales injury and submitted the previously unbeaten KOTC champ with a rear-naked choke late in round one.
LaRosa (21-3-0) has faced and defeated nearly all top-ranked female bantamweights during her storied career, but a recent drop to 125 pounds has yielded mixed success. The former BodogFight 135-pound champion captured her first flyweight title in November 2010 when she defeated Takayo Hashi, but she has come in overweight for each of her past two fights in the division. She most recently dropped a Unanimous Decision to Vanessa Porto at Invicta FC 3. LaRosa will appear on The Ultimate Fighter 18 and she now moves back up to bantamweight to face Nakai.
Pancrase 252: “20th Anniversary” is set for September 29th at the Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.
(Photo Credit: GBRing.com)