Thursday, February 11, 2016

Rin Nakai vs Leslie Smith added to Mar. 19 UFC show

Yesterday, The Courier Mail in Brisbane, Australia first reported and then the UFC confirmed that Rin Nakai vs Leslie Smith has been added to UFC Fight Night 85 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia. This show will air Mar. 19 on Fox Sports 1 in the US and TSN in Canada. Rin lost her UFC debut by unanimous decision to Miesha Tate in Aug. 2014. Afterwards, she complained to Nikkan Sports that she thought she won the fight. In that fight, she made the same mistake she has been making in all her fights over the last few years. She's not aggressive enough at the start of fights and she fell behind against Miesha. Fans have asked me what happened to her. There was even a phony report that she was released. The UFC tried to get her on the Korea show but they were unable to come to terms with her potential opponent's management. More recently, she has been talking about dropping to Flyweight as the UFC will start that division later this year. This will be Rin's first fight ever outside Japan. Flying in for fights is nothing new for Rin as she lives in the northern Japan island of Shikoku and she always had to travel by plane to Tokyo for fights. Of course fans remember her goofy PANCRASE videos. But Rin was a competitive gymnast as a child and when she got too big for gymnastics, she competed in judo tournaments as a teen. The last time we saw Leslie, she had her ear split open by Jessica Eye. She was booked to face Liz Carmouche last fall but she backed out due to injury. She trains with the Diaz brothers in California. Leslie is a one dimensional kickboxer with no ground game. I have never seen her go for a takedown. Rin's advanced judo skills are her advantage if she comes out aggressively at the start of the fight. That's a mental block Rin must get past to be successful. But I don't know if she can. Rin would still like to train in the US. On her blog, she was envious of Kyoji Horiguchi who recently moved to Florida to train at American Top Team. One thing is for sure. If Rin wins, we'll get to see her "air dancing" in a UFC cage.

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