Yamaguchi vs Hiyama, Asakura vs Furusawa Set For VTJ In Osaka2014 Shoot Boxing Japan Girls S-Cup Champion Yukari Yamaguchi is set to make her long-awaited pro MMA debut on June 21st at Vale Tudo Japan: “VTJ In Osaka” in Osaka, Japan. The highly-touted 16-year-old faces off against Mikiko Hiyama under “VTJ Next” rules on the preliminary card.

The Megumi Fujii-booked fight between Yamaguchi and Hiyama is one of two “VTJ Next” prospects bouts on the card that will be contested using three 3:00 rounds. In the second “VTJ Next” female fight, 17-year-old Kanna Asakura looks to stay unbeaten when she battles Miyuki Furusawa.

Yamaguchi (1-0-0 amateur MMA, 16-3-0 SB/KB) has followed in the footsteps of training partner Mizuki Inoue by rapidly becoming one of Japan’s most highly-touted female prospects. The talented young fighter amassed a 12-2 amateur record in kickboxing and shoot boxing before winning her professional kickboxing debut this past June. Two months later, she won two fights in one night – including a close decision victory over two-time JKS48 champion Mio Tsumura – to become the inaugural 48kg Shoot Boxing Japan Girls S-Cup Champion.

In December, Yamaguchi suffered her first pro kickboxing loss when she was narrowly outpointed by J-Girls Pinweight Champion Chihiro Kira, but she returned to her winning ways with a 97-second demolition of Midori Kato on March 29th. Yamaguchi has competed in MMA just once, as a 13-year-old amateur, when she easily submitted Nana “Chanchin” Ichikawa in late 2011. She has won numerous grappling tournaments and is regarded by many as an even brighter prospect than her teammate, Inoue, who herself is a two-time Shoot Boxing tournament winner and reigning Deep Jewels champion.

Hiyama (1-1-0 amateur MMA) has also developed a wealth of experience in amateur competition. Like her opponent, Hiyama has competed extensively in grappling tournaments and kickboxing matches, but unlike Yamaguchi, Hiyama has struggled when facing off against skilled opponents. In her June 2013 amateur MMA debut, Hiyama dropped a three-round decision, but she notched her first MMA victory in October via first-round armbar. Hiyama moves down slightly in weight to face the heavily-favoured Yamaguchi in the 110-pound catchweight bout.

Elsewhere on the card, Asakura (1-0-0) looks to follow up on an impressive showing in her October pro debut for VTJ when she takes on Furusawa (0-0-0) in atomweight action. Asakura dominated the much older Naomi “Nachi” Okaki at Vale Tudo Japan 6th in October and now appears poised to become one of VTJ’s most prized prospects. Furusawa, an MMA newcomer, hopes to halt Asakura’s momentum with an upset victory next month.

Vale Tudo Japan: “VTJ In Osaka” takes place on June 21st at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, Japan.



(Photo Credit: Akira Ishii, Gravity)