Hisae Watanabe & "Little Tiger" Draw At REBELS.3Former DEEP Women’s Lightweight (106-Pound) MMA Champion Hisae Watanabe had all she could handle in her return to kickboxing today at Differ Ariake in Tokyo, Japan. She battled J-Girls ace “Little Tiger” to a five-round Draw in a WPMF Japan Women’s Mini Flyweight Championship bout.

The featured fight was part of REBELS.3, which also showcased a series of men’s title fights and contender’s bouts. At the conclusion of five highly competitive, back-and-forth rounds, the judges were divided in their support of Watanabe and Little Tiger, resulting in a razor-thin Split Draw.

Watanabe, a devastating striker who holds 11 knockouts in mixed martial arts competition, returned to her kickboxing roots for this fight and scored with punches and knees in the opening two-minute round. A very game Little Tiger fired back with kicks to the body that kept Watanabe on the defensive and the fighters traded punches in an exchange late in the round.

Little Tiger landed more kicks to the legs and body in the second round, but Watanabe found an answer in the form of leg kicks and quick one-twos, followed shortly by knees. A hard right hook scored for Watanabe and she kept up the momentum in round three with more power punches. Little Tiger went back to kicks, but ate another combination before landing a solid left hook near the end of the round.

Round four saw Little Tiger take control early with a flurry of punches and kicks that backed Watanabe up. Watanabe looked to rebound with punches and landed a left hook, but Little Tiger used impressive footwork and landed a glancing head kick. The final round featured nearly non-stop action as the fighters traded punches early on, with both looking for a knockout.

Watanabe landed left hooks and kicks to the body, while Little Tiger answered with quick strikes of her own as the close fight went to the judges.

Result: Split Draw (50-49 Little Tiger, 49-48 Watanabe, 49-49) after five 2:00 rounds.


With the result, Watanabe was unable to add another title to her collection, but her striking was sharp and it is expected that she will compete in the Women’s S-Cup Shootboxing Tournament later this year. It is currently unknown whether the former DEEP champ will make a return to MMA, but with her striking pedigree and experience, she would pose a formidable test for anyone in Jewels.



(Photo Credit: gbring.com)