Wednesday, November 04, 2015

SHOOT BOXING queen RENA to make MMA debut on Dec. 31 RIZIN show

RENA at today's RIZIN press conference
Last month, former PRIDE owner Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced a supposed new beginning in Japanese MMA headlined by the return of legendary Russian fighter Fedor Emelianenko as the traditional New Year's Eve show in Japan. This will air in North America on tape delay on Spike TV. Also, an edited show will air in Japan on Fuji TV. I haven't seen anything about this show airing live anywhere. At this press conference, Sakakibara made a lot of noise about women's MMA which is pretty funny from a guy who never booked women in PRIDE. He announced that SHOOT BOXING queen RENA and Brazilian BJJ champ Gabi Garcia would make their MMA debuts. Some fans thought they would face each other. Uh, no. Today RIZIN as it is now called held a press conference to announce that RENA will face Italian kickboxer Jleana Valentino. Of course when he announced that RENA would make her MMA debut, that got my attention. Though experienced at SHOOT BOXING and kickboxing, RENA has always said in interviews that she wasn't interested in MMA. She admitted in a recent interview that what changed her mind is that Sakakibara threw a lot of money at her. And success at MMA could lead to overseas bookings maybe in Invicta. RENA is training with AACC owner Hiroyuki Abe and Invicta Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki. Where's Megumi Fujii? She doesn't work at AACC anymore. She works at Burst. One would think that there are enough 48kg female fighters in Japan that it makes no sense to bring in an opponent from Italy, especially one with no MMA experience. But that's what they've done. Why don't they just do a kickboxing match? Sorry about the logic. Jleana trains at Team Leone Petrosyan which is the home for Glory kickboxer Giorgio Petrosyan. It's a credible gym for kickboxing but not for MMA. Then I saw a picture of Jleana and she works as a model and has a shaved head. So that explains it. She has an exotic look. Ya gotta love Japanese promoters. I have heard rumblings about possible opponents for Gabi Garcia but I think they are having a tough time finding an opponent that she will accept. So until something is announced, who knows?

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