Rena Kubota, Kanako Murata & Gabi Garcia Earn Wins At Rizin FF 2Shoot Boxing Women’s Flyweight Champion Rena Kubota kept her perfect MMA record intact with another impressive submission victory tonight at Rizin Fighting Federation 2 in Saitama, Japan. Kubota finished standout wrestler Miyu Yamamoto with a power guillotine choke late in the first round.

In addition to the 49kg bout between Kubota and Yamamoto, Rizin FF 2 featured two more female fights. Kanako Murata outpointed Kyra “Mogwai” Batara in featured strawweight action, and Gabi Garcia submitted Destanie Yarbrough with a first-round keylock in the heavyweight card opener.


Kubota (2-0-0) and Yamamoto (0-1-0) circled one another and traded cautious strikes in the opening two minutes of tonight’s co-main event. Yamamoto eventually shot in and scored a takedown against the ropes, but Kubota kicked her off with an upkick to the face and returned to her feet. Yamamoto took Kubota down once more, but Kubota stunned her with another hard upkick and swarmed on her dazed opponent with hammerfists and punches. Yamamoto battled back to her feet, but Kubota trapped her in a slick power guillotine choke and Yamamoto tapped out at the 4:50 mark of round one.

“I was nervous before this fight because Miyu is a great athlete, but I thank her for taking the fight, and thanks also to [Noboyuki] Sakakibara for having three female fights on this card,” Kubota said while addressing the crowd after her win. “In Pride [Fighting Championships], women never got a chance to compete, but many women will now step up to fight for Rizin. I will fight for Shoot Boxing in November, so please come to that event and I’ll see you here in December as well!”

Backstage, Kubota talked more about her strategy tonight and her fighting future while speaking with “I enjoyed this fight because Miyu is a great athlete and her takedowns are fast, but I train with [Ayaka] Hamasaki, who is [Invicta FC] world champion. I was ready for this fight and prepared for a submission finish, but Miyu was a world champion wrestler and I could not take her lightly. I felt that I could not lose this fight for the future of women’s martial arts. After my shoot boxing match in November, I will decide on my return to MMA.”

“Rena is a great fighter,” Yamamoto told after the fight. “I took her down, but she upkicked me and I could not retain my position on the ground. That is why I lost tonight. I can’t recall how I got stuck in the submission, but I’m not finished with MMA. I’m just beginning and I need to win.”


Big power punches were exchanged right away between Murata (4-0-0) and Batara (5-4-0), and Murata secured a slick takedown into the scarf hold position. Batara managed to scramble up to her feet, but she ate a series of punches and knees along the way. Murata continued to punish her with knees and right hands before slamming her down. Batara countered with a kneebar attempt and elbows from her back, but Murata punched her way free from top position in half-guard. She hurt Batara with a standing elbow to the temple after the fight returned to the feet against the ropes.

Murata ducked under a winging right hand from Batara in round two and tried for a takedown. Batara stuffed it, but Murata threw her down into the scarf hold again. Batara escaped to her knees, but Murata tried for a rear-naked choke and muscled her back down to the mat. She locked on an arm-triangle choke, but let it go and peppered Batara with knees in the corner in the final 30 seconds.

Batara pressed forward with aggressive punches in the final round, but Murata found success with another throw into the scarf hold position. Batara got to her knees and Murata attacked with punches and knee strikes to the face. She held Batara in the corner and landed three quick elbows. In the final minute of the fight, Murata pulled Batara down to the mat and trapped her in a leg scissor choke, and she finished the round with more knees.

Judges Matsumiya, Koike and Umeda all scored the fight for Murata, who remained undefeated with the Unanimous Decision victory. All four of her fights have taken place this year and she is 2-0 for Rizin. Murata called out UFC veteran and Queen of Pancrase Rin Nakai following her win tonight.

“I wanted to pound out or submit [Batara], so I’m not satisfied,” Murata added while speaking with backstage. “She is smaller than I expected. Rin [Nakai] has UFC experience and fought Miesha Tate, and that’s why I want to fight her. I will be able to test myself in that fight to know how good I am. I hope that it will take place at a catchweight.”

“I knew that [Murata] was strong before the fight and she outwrestled me,” Batara told following her defeat. “I had heard that we’d be stood up if the fight went outside of the ropes, but the referee rarely stood us up. I thought I would face Rena [Kubota] on this card, but I did not get to fight her tonight. I would like to face her at 105, which is my best weight.”


Garcia (3-0-0) landed lunging right hands in the opening minute of tonight’s card opener and Yarbrough (1-1-0) threw leg kicks from a distance. Garcia punched her way into a clinch and dragged Yarbrough down to the mat. She landed numerous hammerfists from the top and transitioned to side control as Yarbrough struggled to defend from the bottom. Garcia locked on a keylock from mount and Yarbrough was forced to submit at the 2:42 mark of round one.

“The fight went how I expected, but my condition was bad today,” Garcia informed backstage after her win. “I trained very hard for this fight and it paid off. Many people have doubted me, but those close to me have believed in me. I want to thank Sakakibara for his support, and thanks also to my father and my great coaching team.”

“Gabi did not punch as hard as I had thought she would, but I had my head low and that allowed her to take me down,” Yarbrough reflected while speaking with “I will continue on with my fighting career, and this loss will make me learn and get better.”



(Photo Credit: Shoot Boxing)