Hisae Watanabe vs Ye Ji Lee Booked For WSOF GC 2 In JapanFollowing an eight-year retirement, former Deep Women’s Lightweight Champion Hisae Watanabe makes her return to MMA competition on February 7th at World Series of Fighting Global Championship 2 in Tokyo, Japan. Watanabe is set to face 16-year-old Ye Ji Lee in a featured matchup.

WSOF GC officials announced the fight this past weekend. Watanabe, who captured Deep’s 106-pound women’s title with a vicious knockout victory in August 2006, has not fought since earning a quick win in late 2007. Lee suffered a TKO loss very late in her MMA debut in July at Road FC 24.

Watanabe (19-6-0), in spite of her small size, is widely regarded as the most powerful female striker in Japanese MMA history. After transitioning from kickboxing to MMA in April 2002, Watanabe went on to become one of Japan’s top female stars. She racked up a total of 11 knockout victories, but none more important than her first-round destruction of “Princess” Satoko Shinashi at Deep: “25th Impact” in what was the biggest female MMA fight to date in Japan.

The victory over Shinashi earned Watanabe the Deep Women’s Lightweight Championship, but she relinquished the title one year later when she was outpointed by fellow pound-for-pound standout Miku “Supernova” Matsumoto in an action-packed bout at Deep: “31st Impact.” Watanabe competed once more in MMA before retiring, and she has since made occasional appearances in kickboxing and shoot boxing matches, but February marks her official return to MMA after more than eight years away.

Lee (0-1-0) enters next month’s bout as an obvious underdog against the much more experienced Watanabe, though the 16-year-old put forth a solid showing against 38-fight veteran Shinashi in her short-notice pro MMA debut at Road FC 24. The fighters battled back and forth in a frenetic opening round, and Lee brought the fight to the mat in round two, but Shinashi attacked with submission attempts and ultimately finished the fight with ground and pound with just seven seconds remaining.

World Series of Fighting Global Championship 2 takes place on February 7th at TDC Hall in Tokyo, Japan. While not yet officially confirmed, the featured bout between Watanabe and Lee will likely be contested at 105 pounds.



(Photo Credit: eFight)