Rena Kubota vs Jleana Valentino Set For Rizin World Grand PrixFour-time Girls S-Cup winner and reigning Shoot Boxing Women’s Flyweight Champion Rena Kubota is set to make her long-awaited MMA debut next month during the Rizin Fighting World Grand Prix in Saitama, Japan. Kubota battles fellow kickboxer and MMA debutant Jleana Valentino in a 51kg bout.

Rizin officials announced the matchup today. Kubota most recently captured Shoot Boxing’s women’s flyweight world title in August by stopping Kane Chopirom at the 2015 Girls S-Cup. Italy’s Valentino is a formidable striker who seeks to upset one of Japan’s biggest female stars next month.

Kubota (31-5-1 SB/KB, 0-0-0 MMA) is the top female shoot boxer in Japan and one of the country’s most popular athletes. She won her fourth Girls S-Cup tournament in 2014 and went on to earn two more victories in the ensuing months. She returned to action in August in the main event of the 2015 Girls S-Cup and defeated Chopirom to capture the Shoot Boxing Women’s Flyweight Championship, which had previously eluded her. Now living in Tokyo, and training alongside Invicta FC champion Ayaka Hamasaki at AACC, Kubota hopes to extend her success as a kickboxer into a new career in MMA.

Valentino (0-0-0 MMA) also brings a strong striking pedigree into next month’s showdown with Kubota, and she is renowned for her powerful kicks and knees. The Italian standout has racked up a number of impressive wins during her career, though her skills on the ground remain unknown. Valentino now transitions to MMA on a grand stage in Saitama in hopes of spoiling Kubota’s much-hyped debut.

Rizin Fighting Federation’s World Grand Prix takes place between December 29th and December 31st at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The bout between Kubota and Valentino will be contested over three 5:00 rounds, and is expected to be a part of the final day of the event on New Year’s Eve.



(Photo Credit: Shoot Boxing)