Mizuki Inoue Discusses Invicta FC 6 Victory, Future OpponentsOn Saturday night, top Japanese prospect Mizuki Inoue made a successful North American debut at Invicta Fighting Championships 6 in Kansas City, Missouri. The 18-year-old impressed onlookers with her speed and striking skills en route to a competitive Unanimous Decision win over Bec Hyatt.

Saturday’s bout marked the first time that Inoue had fought more than two rounds in any of her MMA fights. Her coach, Sadanori Yamaguchi, identified stamina as an area for improvement, but was happy with his star student’s performance and hopes that Inoue can face Claudia Gadelha in the future.

Inoue (6-1-0) entered the fight as an underdog with the oddsmakers and some fans felt that she would be out of her depth against Hyatt (5-3-0), who challenged for the inaugural Invicta FC strawweight title in January. Inoue proved the doubters wrong and she engaged in a competitive back-and-forth battle with her Australian opponent for 15 minutes. Inoue’s speed and varied arsenal of striking attacks – including short uppercuts and chopping leg kicks in the clinch – helped to propel her to victory.

Though all five of her previous wins had come by way of submission, Inoue’s base is in karate. She took up jiu-jitsu prior to making her MMA debut in 2010 and spent upwards of five hours per day training her overall MMA game while maintaining a full-time schedule of classes in high school. During that time, Inoue captured the 56kg Jewels Rough Stone Grand Prix title in 2010 and the inaugural 53.5kg Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup belt this past August, and that drew the attention of Invicta FC officials.

Inoue was happy to be able to show off her formidable striking abilities in her Invicta FC debut on Saturday and she was not deterred by critics who had given her little chance for success.

“[Bec] is strong. I knew that she was going to be strong and she was about as strong as I expected,” Inoue told MMARising.com through interpreter Shu Hirata after the fight. “However, I was able to hang in there and actually enjoy the fight. I think I learned a lot by fighting her and overall I am very happy that I got to experience this. I didn’t feel too much pressure. Everybody wrote me off as a student who would not have a lot of power, but I was able to give everything that I’ve got and I’m happy with that.”

The opening round of the fight was the closest, and both Inoue and Hyatt had their moments on the feet. Inoue was able to press her opponent against the cage and stayed active with kicks and short punches. She took Hyatt down in the second stanza and dominated the action on the mat, but Hyatt rallied late in the fight and began to back Inoue up with her aggressive striking. In the end, all three judges scored the competitive bout 29-28 in Inoue’s favour.

“I thought I won the first two rounds, and during the intermission between rounds two and three I was like, ‘I’ve got the stamina to keep on going and I think I can do it,'” Inoue says. “However, when I actually started fighting [in round three], I could feel things slowing down. So, not only do I feel that stamina is a bit of a problem, I also feel that I need to gain a little more strength.”

Inoue’s coach, Yamaguchi, had a similar opinion of the fight.

“I was actually pleased with [Mizuki’s] performance in the first and second rounds,” he says. “I think she did more than I expected, but when it got to the third round there was a bit of a stamina problem and she was starting to fall behind. In that sense, we’ll need to work on the stamina department, but I also feel like this is a different environment and her first time fighting in a completely different place. In situations like that, you tend to run out of gas faster, but overall it was a pretty good performance.”


Moving forward, Inoue hopes to remain active for both Invicta and the newly-formed Deep Jewels faction in Japan. She notes the strength of fighters on the Invicta FC roster and feels that there are many more challenging fights available, but also wants to continue to compete among the best in her home country.

“There are a lot of top fighters in Japan that I still haven’t fought yet, so I want to make sure that I’m able to do that and I want to be a champion in Japan,” Inoue says. “At the same time, I want to keep fighting for Invicta and eventually get the championship title here, so I will be trying hard to win every fight. Right now, I think I can use my young age as momentum to defeat other people, but Invicta has a lot of tough fighters here and I know that I have to work on more.”

While Inoue’s focus is on fighting her way towards titles in two countries, her coach has one specific opponent in mind for the future. In Saturday’s co-main event, Claudia Gadelha handed Jewels champion Ayaka Hamasaki the first defeat of her career via third-round TKO. Hamasaki is the only woman to have defeated Inoue in MMA, via a close decision in September 2011, but Yamaguchi sees a camaradarie between the two Japanese fighters and he hopes that Inoue can defeat Gadelha in Hamasaki’s honour.

“Carla Esparza would be the main one [for Mizuki] to face, but I was very shocked to see Hamasaki get dominated by Claudia,” Yamaguchi says. “I’ve never seen her on the bottom for that long. I want to get revenge for her, so I would like Mizuki to fight Claudia, but that’s probably still a few fights away.”

Inoue may still be a ways away from challenging for Invicta FC title gold, but the teen standout proved on Saturday that she is already capable of facing and defeating quality opponents at 115 pounds. She will celebrate her 19th birthday on August 19th and now holds the distinction of being the youngest competitor to win a fight under the Invicta Fighting Championships banner.



(Photo Credit: Esther Lin, AllElbows.com / InvictaFC.com)

  1. It’s too bad these Japanese fighters don’t cut weight. They all look like they are 10 -15pd lighter than their opponent come fight time. All in all this girl has wicked skills

  2. This teenager has one of the best boxing skills I ever seen in MMA; she weighted only 113 lbs and she foughts Rowdy Bec, a bulky SW that spanks low-tier fighters and give a run for their money to top 10 fighters.

    Really impressed, seems material for a future AW champion, actually SW are too much stacked with young talents, Gadelha will be champ.

  3. I agree with zwonimir. Most impressive debut from a japanese fighter I’ve ever seen and she did it against top competition in Hyatt. I am an instant fan of Inoue and can’t wait for her to fight for SW belt, get manhandled because of her small size, then reign as AW champ. She could take Michelle Waterson easy, but Penne will be a fight for the ages.

  4. I think Gadelha is on the juice.
    I hope she gets caught.

    Inowe will end up fighting Tecia Torres.