Rena Kubota, Reina Miura Lead Winners At Rizin FF GP In FukuokaShoot Boxing Women’s Flyweight Champion Rena Kubota battled back from early adversity and kept her perfect MMA record intact with a crushing win tonight at Rizin Fighting Federation World Grand Prix 2017 in Fukuoka, Japan. Kubota finished Andy “The CrAsian” Nguyen in the main event.

Tonight’s 49kg Women’s Super Atomweight Grand Prix headliner almost did not take place, as Nguyen failed to make weight and ultimately forfeited a percentage of her fight purse. In the end, Kubota advanced to the semi-finals along with three other female fighters who earned key wins tonight.


Kubota (5-0-0 MMA; 35-5-1 SB/KB) used her jab to try to slow Nguyen’s (5-5-0) aggression in the opening seconds as the American pressed forward with combinations and leg kicks. Kubota missed with a spinning backfist and Nguyen took advantage by taking her down. Kubota attempted an armbar from the bottom, but Nguyen escaped into back control and she worked for a standing rear-naked choke after the fighters returned to their feet.

After defending well in a corner, Kubota eventually shook Nguyen off and she blasted her opponent with rapid-fire power punches to the face and liver. More hard shots landed for Kubota and she dropped and finished Nguyen with a final left hook to the liver at the 3:23 mark.

Tonight’s knockout victory propelled Kubota into the semi-final round of the inaugural Rizin FF 49kg Women’s Super Atomweight Grand Prix. She has now won 24 consecutive fights in her remarkable combat sports career and is one of Rizin FF’s biggest stars.


Another fast-rising star, “King” Reina Miura (7-0-0), stayed unbeaten with a close Unanimous Decision win in non-tournament 75kg action tonight. Miura rallied back after a tough second round and edged out the debuting Crystal Stokes (0-1-0) in a bout that saw both fighters make critical mistakes.

Miura took Stokes down right away in round one, but Stokes escaped to her feet and landed a nice knee. She caught a kick, but Miura drove forward and scored a takedown into half-guard. She transitioned to mount, but Stokes swept her and stood up. Miura cracked her foe with an overhand right and threw her down to the mat. From the top in side control, Miura landed knees and hammerfists, then spun into an armbar as time expired.

Following an exchange of punches in round two, Stokes caught a kick and tripped Miura to the mat. Miura stood and dragged Stokes down, but she wound up on the bottom and Stokes struck from the top in half-guard. Miura gave up her back and Stokes landed heavy punches while flattening her out. She hunted for a rear-naked choke and stayed on Miura’s back until the bell.

Miura threw occasional right hands in the opening two minutes of the final round and hurt Stokes with a hard leg kick. She continued to target the leg with more kicks until Stokes eventually secured a takedown, but Miura upkicked from the bottom and scrambled up to her feet. She hurt Stokes again with a right hook and more leg kicks, and kept the pressure on with kicks until the end of the fight. The charismatic Miura’s late rally proved to be just enough to steal back the fight, with all three judges seeing the fight in her favour.


Earlier on the card, Maria “Neta” Oliveira Mota (10-2-0) racked up her ninth straight win by defeating Alyssa “Tiny Tim” Garcia (3-4-0) in a 49kg GP quarterfinal bout. Garcia started strong in round one with a takedown and knees on the ground, but Oliveira battled back to her feet and held a clear advantage in the striking exchanges. Oliveira’s long jabs and powerful knees kept Garcia on the defensive.

This continued in round two, and Oliveira hurt Garcia early on with leg kicks. She followed with more kicks and punching combinations while fending off Garcia’s clinch and takedown attempts. In the final round, Oliveira battered Garcia with punches, kicks and knees until Garcia resorted to pulling half-guard. Both women attempted leglocks and Oliveira bloodied Garcia’s nose with punches. A last-ditch armbar from Garcia was not quite good enough to secure a finish, and Oliveira walked away with a Unanimous Decision win and a spot in the semi-finals.


In other 49kg GP action, Kanna Asakura (9-2-0) put forth a strong showing in her Unanimous Decision win over Sylwia “Mała” Juśkiewicz (7-5-0). Asakura dominated the opening round with arm-triangle choke and scarf hold armlock submission attempts on the ground after scoring an early takedown, and she finished the round with big punches from the top. Asakura bloodied Juśkiewicz’s nose with ground and pound in the second stanza, and she threatened with a rear-naked choke and more hard punches on the ground in round three en route to the convincing victory.

Opening up the 49kg GP quarterfinals tonight, Irene “La Nina” Cabello Rivera (7-4-0) handed Miyu Yamamoto (1-3-0) a devastating submission defeat. Yamamoto used punches and a knee to set up a takedown in round one, but Rivera defended well on the ground. When Yamamoto scored another takedown soon after, Rivera trapped her in a guillotine choke and a triangle kimura just as time expired. After trading kicks and punches on the feet, Yamamoto took Rivera back down in round two. Rivera locked on a tight armbar, however, and went belly-down with the hold, which forced Yamamoto to tap out at the 2:26 mark.



(Photo Credit: Shoot Boxing)