Leslie Smith Likely To Face Hiroko Yamanaka2008 Olympic Bronze Medallist Randi Miller’s mixed martial arts debut will have to wait. The wrestling powerhouse reportedly suffered a hand injury last week and has withdrawn from her August 29th bout with Japanese standout Hiroko Yamanaka. Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Leslie Smith is now expected to face Yamanaka, but the fight has not yet been signed.

Smith is best known for her May 2009 war with Kerry Vera in Bellator. The highly competitive battle ended with a Unanimous Decision verdict for Vera, but Smith surprised many with her skills and has won twice in 2010.

Smith (3-1-0), the reigning Kickdown MMA Women’s Bantamweight Champion, is currently training in Bangkok, Thailand at the Kaewsamrit Gym. She has recently fought and won two Muay Thai fights and jumped at the possibility of facing Yamanaka on short notice, though the fight has not yet been signed and it is presently unknown which weight class the bout would be contested at. Smith has competed at 135 pounds throughout her brief career, while Yamanaka formerly fought in open-weight bouts at or above 160 pounds. Smith will give up height and size advantages to Yamanaka, but feels that she will be able to upset the Jewels postergirl and rising star in Japan.

Yamanaka (9-1-1) is seen by many as one of the few remaining top contenders for the Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight (145-Pound) Championship held by Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos. She proved earlier this year that she can make 145 pounds without issue when she cut weight to rematch Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano at Jewels: “Seventh Ring.” Yamanaka defeated Akano and avenged the lone loss of her career in the process. She is still developing as a fighter and may not yet be ready to face someone of Santos’s calibre, but Yamanaka’s 5’11” height and significant reach advantage over most opponents may aid her in victory. Should the fight with Smith move ahead as planned, Yamanaka will face a formidable test against an aggressive striker.

While the exact nature of Miller’s injury is presently unknown, it is believed that she suffered a broken hand in training. A revised timetable for her MMA debut is not yet known, but further updates will follow in the coming weeks.

The 2010 Shootboxing Girls S-Cup begins on August 29th at the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka in Tokyo, Japan. Among those competing are 2009 Girls S-Cup Champion RENA, former DEEP Women’s Lightweight (106-Pound) Champion Hisae Watanabe and current Valkyrie Featherweight (115-Pound) Champion Mei “V Hajime” Yamaguchi.


Girls S-Cup Tournament Matchups:

– RENA vs Hisae Watanabe
– Kate Martinez vs Zaza Sor Aree
– Mei “V Hajime” Yamaguchi vs Samanta van Dole
– Ai Takahashi vs Christina Jurjevic



(Photo Credit: FighterGirls.com)