Rin Nakai, Syuri Kondo Earn Wins At Pancrase 279 In TokyoBantamweight Queen of Pancrase Rin Nakai made a successful return to the flyweight division with a third-round TKO victory tonight at Pancrase 279 in Tokyo, Japan. Nakai, who was competing at 125 pounds for the first time since 2008, stopped former boxing champion Emiko “Fujin” Raika.

Tonight’s matchup was contested primarily on the ground and Nakai held a clear edge. She mounted Raika midway through round three and dropped elbows for the stoppage. In strawweight action, Krush women’s kickboxing champ Syuri Kondo stayed unbeaten by defeating Nicolle Angelica Caliari.


Nakai (17-2-1) and Raika (2-4-0, 1 NC) cautiously circled each other in the first half of round one and both were warned for passivity by the referee. After the restart, Raika landed a combination, but Nakai used a front headlock to pull Raika down to the mat and she quickly took her back. Nakai worked for a rear-naked choke, but she could not get her arm under Raika’s chin. She teed off with rapid-fire right hands to the side of Raika’s head in the final 20 seconds.

Nakai quickly took Raika down in round two and she worked from the top in side control. Raika prevented her from moving to mount and Nakai found herself stuck in Raika’s full guard. She passed to side control again and then to North-South position. Raika tried to buck and escape, but Nakai smothered her until the end of the round.

Raika closed the distance and landed looping hooks in the final round, but Nakai shot in and took her down into back control. Raika held on to Nakai’s hands and prevented her from setting up submissions, and she later scrambled and nearly secured a sweep, but Nakai countered by rolling into mount. She dropped six elbow strikes from the top and referee Masato Fukuda dove in for a dreadful and obviously premature stoppage.

“The weight cut was very minimal,” Nakai told MMARising.com following her win. “It didn’t affect me in the fight. Raika is a former boxing champ, but I did not have any particular tactics planned. I felt the damage from my elbows and could feel Raika’s neck bounce up and down, so I was not surprised that the referee called it.

“I don’t have set goals like debuting for Rizin or returning to the United States at my new weight,” she added. “I will continue to fight for Pancrase, but I’m also thankful for my American fans. Please continue to support me in Pancrase.”

Winner: Rin Nakai by TKO (Elbows) at 2:43 of round three. She improves to 17-2-1.


Kondo (2-0-0), one of Japan’s most skilled female strikers, made it two-for-two inside the Pancrase cage by defeating another talented young prospect in 19-year-old Caliari (1-1-0).

The entertaining fight began with an exchange of leg kicks and Caliari landed a hard combination, but Kondo responded with punches that backed her up. Kondo scored a takedown, but Caliari countered with a guillotine choke and she got back to her feet. Kondo lunged in with punches and snapped her opponent’s head back with a right cross. Caliari attempted two leg-sweep takedowns, but she wound up on the bottom each time and Kondo punished her with hammerfists from the top.

The second round began with an exchange of three-punch combos and Caliari mixed in front kicks. She followed with more punches and the fighters clinched against the cage. Kondo took Caliari down and she looked to set up a shoulder choke from half-guard. She later passed to side control and kept Caliari pinned down with forearm strikes.

Kondo slowed down somewhat in round three, but she landed some nice kicks in the ensuing minute. She backed Caliari up with overhand rights and secured a brief takedown, but Caliari scrambled up and she rushed forward with punches. Both women landed short strikes in a clinch and Kondo countered a body kick with a combination. A game Caliari repeatedly scored with one-twos late in the even round.

Judges Tsuruma, Motomiya and Oyabu all scored the fight 30-28 for Kondo, who kept her undefeated record intact. She previously edged out highly-touted teen prospect Kanna Asakura at Pancrase 277.

“I did not expect that much striking from Caliari since I saw that she had a jiu-jitsu background when I looked at her profile,” Kondo noted while speaking with MMARising.com following the fight. “I had chances to get takedowns and I wanted test my takedown skills. Caliari was my first international opponent in MMA and I felt that she was physically very strong.

“I would like to continue to build my career against foreigners,” Kondo continued. “Of course, I would like for Pancrase to create a women’s strawweight belt, and I want to win it. My ultimate goal is to compete in the UFC, and when I get the call I want to be ready.”

Winner: Syuri Kondo by Unanimous Decision (30-28, 30-28, 30-28) after three rounds. She improves to 2-0-0.



(Photo Credit: GBRing.com)