Rena Kubota, Gabi Garcia & Kanako Murata Earn Wins At Rizin FF 1Shoot Boxing Women’s Flyweight Champion Rena Kubota extended her winning streak to 16 with a Unanimous Decision victory tonight at Rizin Fighting Federation 1 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. The popular Kubota defeated Chute Boxe representative Cyndi Alves in a 51kg shoot boxing matchup.

In MMA action at Rizin FF 1, multi-time BJJ world champion Gabi Garcia dominated Anna Malyukova en route to a second-round submission victory in an open-weight contest. Highly-touted wrestler Kanako Murata made a successful MMA debut by defeating Natalia Denisova at strawweight.


Kubota (32-5-1 SB/KB) kept her distance and threw counterpunches early on before clinching and attempting to throw Alves to the mat. The throw was not high enough to earn a Shoot Point and the fighters resumed trading strikes on the feet. Kubota landed front kicks and short hooks in close before the end of the opening round.

Alves attacked with a series of kicks to the lead leg and body of Kubota in round two, but Kubota ducked under a punch and took Alves’s back. She secured a nice belly-to-back side suplex to earn two Shoot Points. Alves charged at Kubota after the restart, but Kubota kept her at bay with crisp punches.

Kubota continued to find success with front kicks in the final round, and she used the strikes to halt Alves’s forward momentum. Alves fought off a headlock throw attempt and she continued to press forward with kicks including a pair of spinning back kicks that missed. The fighters traded left hooks and Kubota tried unsuccessfully for a throw. She connected with an overhand right and the fight returned to a clinch before the bell.

Kubota’s impressive suplex in the second round sealed the victory in her favour. Scores were 30-26, 30-27 and 30-28 from the judges, who awarded Kubota with the Unanimous Decision victory. She has not lost a shoot boxing match since September 2011 when she was upset by former Invicta FC champion and current UFC contender Jessica Penne.

Winner: Rena Kubota by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-28) after three 3:00 rounds. She improves her combined shoot boxing and kickboxing record to 32-5-1.


Garcia (2-0-0) wasted no time in taking the fight with Malyukova (1-1-0) to the mat and she effortlessly mounted her Russian foe. Garcia spent the majority of the opening round landing hard punches from the mount position while occasionally looking to set up a keylock. In round two, Garcia mounted Malyukova again and she picked her shots with punches until she was able to lock on an armbar that forced Malyukova to submit at the 2:04 mark.

After receiving a considerable amount of criticism for her performance at Rizin’s New Year’s Eve event, Garcia stuck to her strengths tonight and dominated the fight on the ground. She has stated that she has multiple potential opponents lined up for future fights under the Rizin FF banner.

Winner: Gabi Garcia by Submission (Armbar) at 2:04 of round two. She improves to 2-0-0.


Murata (1-0-0) was not able to secure a finish, but she was in complete control of tonight’s preliminary card matchup against Denisova (2-2-0). She took Denisova down early in round one and escaped from an armbar attempt by passing to side control. From there, she patiently worked to secure a kimura, but Denisova defended and she escaped before the bell.

It was more of the same in round two and Murata once again passed to side control after taking Denisova down and fighting off an armbar attempt. Murata looked to set up a keylock, but she instead opted to throw punches and hammerfists from a top-side crucifix position. She finished the round by hunting for an armbar from North-South position.

Murata caught a kick and took Denisova back down to the mat in the final round. She returned to side control and landed a series of hammerfists to Denisova’s face. Murata transitioned to North-South and looked for a kimura and an armbar. Denisova escaped to her feet and landed a hard left hand, but Murata responded by slamming her down one final time.

The judges were left with an easy decision and all three scored the fight in Murata’s favour. In spite of her clear-cut win, Murata was not satisfied with her performance and she apologised to Rizin FF officials following the victory.

Winner: Kanako Murata by Unanimous Decision after three 5:00 rounds. She improves to 1-0-0.



(Photo Credit: Rizin Fighting Federation)