Hisae Watanabe, Anna Bezhenar Win At WSOF Global Championship 2Former Deep Women’s Lightweight Champion Hisae Watanabe made a triumphant return to MMA action tonight at World Series of Fighting Global Championship 2 in Tokyo, Japan. Competing for the first time since late 2007, Watanabe stopped Ye Ji Lee in round two of an atomweight bout.

Watanabe’s lengthy hiatus from the sport did not appear to have an impact on her power, and she picked up her 12th knockout victory with tonight’s stoppage. Also on the card, Anna Bezhenar took a Unanimous Decision victory over the previously unbeaten May Ooi in a strawweight matchup.


Watanabe (20-6-0) entered tonight’s fight as a significant favourite against 16-year-old Lee (0-2-0), who lost her pro debut in July against another former Deep champion, Watanabe’s long-time rival “Princess” Satoko Shinashi. As most had predicted, Watanabe had little trouble in dispatching of Lee, whom she overwhelmed with strikes at the 3:00 mark of the second round.

The fighters traded leg kicks throughout the first half of round one and Lee pressed forward with a combination. A clinch followed and Watanabe worked for submissions from her back after the fight hit the mat, but time expired. In round two, Watanabe scored with kicks and both women landed punching flurries. Lee caught a knee and she took Watanabe down, but Watanabe countered with hard elbows from the bottom. The fighters stood and Watanabe dropped Lee with a vicious right hook. Lee recovered quickly and got back to her feet, but referee Minoru Toyonaga had seen enough and stopped the fight.

“It was an early stoppage, but I think [Lee’s] young age is why the referee stopped it,” Watanabe stated after the fight. “I wanted a clean win – not like this – in order to wow the audience, but I will show what middle-aged women can do.”

While tonight’s bout was a mismatch, Watanabe remains Japan’s most feared female striker in MMA. Unlike most of her counterparts, who typically specialise in submissions, Watanabe has knocked out 12 opponents to date. The 35-year-old’s highlight reel most famously includes her one-punch knockout win over Shinashi in the pair’s August 2006 Deep 106-pound title rematch.

Winner: Hisae Watanabe by TKO (Punch) at 3:00 of round two. She improves to 20-6-0.


Earlier on the card, Bezhenar (2-1-0) controlled the action on the feet and on the ground en route to a decision victory over Ooi (2-1-0). Bezhenar landed right hooks in the opening round until Ooi scored a takedown. Bezhenar countered with two tight armbar attempts, but Ooi stayed calm and she eventually managed to escape. Ooi threatened with a late rear-naked choke, but Bezhenar threw her off.

Bezhenar secured a takedown in the second round and she tried to pass to mount, but Ooi kept her trapped in her guard. Bezhenar landed some solid ground and pound from the top, but Ooi initiated a scramble and she took Bezhenar down after the fight briefly returned to the feet. Bezhenar attacked with an armbar attempt before the bell.

In round three, Bezhenar countered Ooi’s kicks by landing quick combinations of punches. Ooi was forced to clinch in order to avoid any further damage from Bezhenar’s combinations, but Bezhenar locked on another deep armbar on the mat. Ooi struggled to defend, but she ultimately managed to pull her arm free and finished the round by landing punches from Bezhenar’s guard.

All three judges scored the fight in favour of Bezhenar, who rebounded from a loss in early 2014. The Ukrainian also holds a notable victory over fellow prospect Alyona Rassohyna.

Winner: Anna Bezhenar by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) after three rounds. She improves to 2-1-0.



(Photo Credit: eFight)